While I don’t exactly consider myself a millennial, I’m Generation-Y, I have given plenty of thought about the generation following mine. Millennials get a lot of grief, but I don’t necessarily hold a critical view on those who were born after 1995. I’ll share why.
Say what you want – they’re entitled, narcissistic, immature and probably more dependent on others. These generalizations don’t give enough credit to this generation, so I want share why I believe there is hope for Millennials.
Think about the years that they matured. They observed a lot of financial crisis and stress in the job market by their parents and the media. These observations translate to being more cognizant in finding meaning in their work. The financial crises that they witnessed should prompt a sensible approach to risk-taking.
Even though I consider myself a digital native, Millennials are truly native to technology. I still remember recording episodes of my favorite TV shows on VHS and songs on the radio on cassettes. They don’t. They grew up with the frequent use of smart phones, social media and technology. Being a digital native lends belief that they are skilled at using it to their advantage without much study or academic learning.
While this is more of a soft-skill, I don’t think it’s a bad characteristic that Millennials are self-confident. Note that I didn’t say arrogance, but being self-aware of one’s capabilities and one’s self-identity is key to excelling in their professional and personal lives. Don’t get me wrong; obsessing over selfies is not the point of this characteristic; but rather being comfortable being themselves.
Pursuit of Passion
Like I mentioned, they observed a lot of change and stress from their parents and the media as they matured. These observations often translate to the desire to discover and pursue one’s career into their passion. Even in a depressed or a volatile economy, they know the value of doing a job they love. So even if they have to be on the grind more than others, they might as well be enjoying it.
Given the shifting demand from industrial careers to knowledge careers, this gap creates the opportunity to thinking differently about today’s problems. For the past 14 years (at least), establishing a business on the web has a relatively low barrier to entry compared to traditional brick and mortar ones.
A byproduct of witnessing the collapse of the housing market in 2008, they don’t want to make mistakes that their parents or older generations have made. Buying a house only to have its value cut by half? This very real concern causes them to do their research and develop a foundation of cash savings before taking a risk. I could be sharing a bit from my experience, but I expect that Millennials will do their best to avoid being upside down in a mortgage.
So, you can see that Millennials have a lot of potential. How about instead of saying the word “Millennial” with contempt, consider saying it with optimism that they could be solving tomorrow’s problems. They could be tomorrow’s legislators, doctors, technologists and problem solvers and we (earlier generations) depend on them to create massive value in the world around them.
This post is a part of my 60 days of blogging. Read more about #60DOB.
photo credit: Dave ®