Millennials, loosely defined as young adults age 18 to 35 as I write this, are everywhere and messing up the machinery. Like a plague of locusts or alien invasion, Millennials are taking over the world with their opinions, ideology, work ethic, worldview, and their value systems. The old school is taking notice and whining about it plenty. Darn kids!
I disagree with my generation when it comes to bitching about Millennials. These young people do things different in some ways, but generally do a great job, even better than my generation in many instances. The slightly older (ahem) crowd needs to remember a few years back when we were the recipients of complaints from The Greatest Generation. We were asked why we were not so great. Pissed us off then, pisses us off now. So why do we pass the same BS to the Millennials?
The Millennial generation has the same issues previous generations had when cutting their teeth. Moving out and starting life is hard. Figuring out what to do when so many options are available is daunting. Times change, but people remain the same. More Millennials live at home with parent/s or rent than prior generations even if they earn enough to afford home ownership. It is too easy to paint Millennials as lacking commitment when seeing these statistics. Instead, look deeper. Our world is more decentralized than ever before. Mobile communications allow us to work and play almost anywhere on the planet without losing touch. Home ownership ties a person down who plans on traveling a lot. Working from home or on the road is easy and common in our modern world. Lucky us.
Millennials are not afraid to learn from older people. This is apparent in their massive following of Bernie Sanders. Young adults are not the problem. Their worldview is molded by technology. It is normal to respond as they have. Auto ownership, for example, is unnecessary in many communities as Uber and ride-sharing replace the need to own a car; it is cheaper too. Even desk top computers are making way for mobile devices. Millennials adopt modern technology, and the frequent changes in the technology, without angst; it is normal for them because it was that way all their life; they don’t know the old worldview because they never lived it. Yet they still follow an experienced old guy like Bernie and learn from him.
The rest of society can learn from Millennials, a valuable and diverse group of intelligent and talented young people. I offer this advice to my young friends:
- Your Opinion Matters: You do not need 30 years of experience before taking a leadership role. Remember, past generations had young people lead into the future, too. Think Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Old people get stuck in their ways. It takes a fresh set of eyes to lead boldly into the brave new world. Leadership is a skill partially learned, partially inbred. Young people can and should lead, even people older than they are. As an employer I have had plenty of older people under my command. You need to lead when the opportunity arises. If the old guy has a problem with the chain of command that is their problem, not yours.
- Understand Complaints and Criticism are Part of the Process: Authority from the elderly feels more natural to many people. Authority is earned from experience. Older people do not always possess this experience. When it comes to my cell phone (or whatever we call the darn thing now) I defer to the younger generation. Since I have a tenuous relationship with my cell phone it is common for me to seek out a young person to help me when I am on the road. I would only ask an older person to help with my phone if no young people were around. Younger people, in my mind, have more experience and authority with newer technology. It might be untrue or unfair, but it is my worldview. The same applies to Millennials. Don’t take it personal when not credited for your work or face complaints. It is not about you; it is about them. Remember, it is difficult passing the reins to the next generation when they have been running the show for so long.
- Abolish Fear: The future is built by people with vision. Your worldview will create tomorrow’s world you and your children will live in. What I think is awesome will seem a bit dated by most Millennials. Progress is required to handle the problems facing society; you are the solution. Previous generations can and will help in your goals. Your dreams and vision will be the world you live in. As older generations diminish by death, you will remain to live in what you created. Move boldly into your new world without fear.
- Listen: You have so much to learn from the world around you and your elders. Let us tell our corny stories. The lessons we learned about life have served us well. Take what applies to you and entertain us with a laugh on the rest. Our experience is valuable. People do not change all that much. Relationships, work ethic, and beliefs are the only things changing; human nature is not. Who am I to condemn you for living together versus marriage? Who am I to spit angry retort over your work ethic when you have learned better balance in your personal life than my generation and accomplish more? Who am I to tell you which god to pray to or if you should pray at all? Listen to our bitching with an ear towards understanding what we really are saying, a tough act for sure. Allow us to help even when it seems counter-productive.
- Teach: You have so much to offer. Take your knowledge, skills, and understanding to the generation behind you. Also know you will soon move to the front of the line as the new generation asserts itself. Do it gracefully. Complain, if you want. Teach your experience to the young and step back as they show how awesome they can be. Most of all, look back. Remember the Baby Boomers (I was born in the last year of this generation) and Generation X. We want to hear your stories, experience your joys and successes. We live for that stuff.
Life can take over. It is easy to forget where you are with so many demands starting a career, saving for retirement, and growing a family. Society has many unwritten demands for you to follow. Break the rules. Only follow the mores you choose. It is your life to live.
Society can act concerned as a new generation begins to make itself felt. I lack such concern. I have seen Millennials and am impressed. Never before in the history of mankind has such an intelligent group of people moved into the leadership positions. If The Greatest Generation built great things, Millennials will create the most awesome and futuristic world ever, where all people will be treated with dignity and respect. I am excited every day to watch this exciting world unfold.
Friday 29th of September 2017
I challenge your understanding of millennials. As a 31 year old millennial, I am ashamed of my generation. I too grew up on a farm and understood the value of hard work. I busted my ass to get my Masters degree in a job that would actually produce an income. I did it in 5 years (it usually took 7), while the majority of the kids I went to school with literally got worthless degrees such as general studies degrees, communication degrees, or degrees in other things that were darn near impossible to find a real world job with. One of these guys who was a great friend of mine got a political science degree and when he couldn't get into law school, he worked at Food Lion. If you have been on a college campus recently, you will see a panic about January for all seniors because that's when they realize their free ride is over, and that in a few short months the bills will start rolling to the tune of 100K or more of student debt at 7% and their job bagging groceries at Food Lion will not pay the bills. So what to they do? They quit working. With the current interest rates of around 7 percent for student loans coupled with the fact you cannot discharge them even in bankruptcy leaves these college graduates deferring payments, for decades. Mark my words, the next "bubble" in this country is going to be the student loan bubble, Ive been preaching this for about 5 years now. When I started talking about it, people laughed. Now I see an article almost daily about the crisis. My degree wasn't in finance, but it doesn't take a financial genius to see the writing on the wall, just somebody who has been on a college campus in the last 10 years. We currently have an entire generation of people (ages 35 to about 22) that I refer to as the millennials or the "educated idiots." Instead of teaching these kids about life, the current idea is to offer them ball pits, play-dough and coloring books to ease their fears of the real world, and then we wonder why student debt is spiraling out of control and so many student loans are delinquent. The colleges and universities don't care if the student is successful or not, they have already been paid. Currently the default rate is over 11%, or more than twice the default rate during the housing crisis. When this bubble burst, which should be anytime now, it will be your beloved millennials and their drive to obtain a most likely worthless degree at any cost that will once again destroy our economy. When the hammer falls, they will scream it wasn't their fault and that they were somehow tricked into signing the papers instead of admitting they just wanted to play around and party for 4 years on a government funded trip and in the process demand their universal income. I am part of this generation and I understand how they work because I've spent my entire life surrounded by them. I challenge you as an educated person with a financial background to do more research on millennials and the student loan bubble and post an article on your thoughts.
Thursday 28th of July 2016
I love this!! Millenials are not new. We had the same thoughts and ideas once. We moved on, they took over. It's funny to look at 'them' and think of them as different but we were them. Sometimes, I like to believe I am still 'them' but then I feel the pain in my knees and other joints!! :D :D
Thursday 28th of July 2016
You mean like when Camp Mustache was over and you were trying to leave but your GPS on your phone was all messed up? :D
Thursday 28th of July 2016
What the hell, Gwen! You were reading my mind! I was actually thinking of you when I wrote that.