I’m not a millennial. I’m Generation X. My husband and I were joking recently about how our generation was considered lazy and unmotivated by the baby boomers. They would constantly worry about how the world would ever run “correctly” with those grunge listening, flannel shirt wearing kids. Yet, somehow, we all turned out alright – and the Earth is still turning. Most of us Gen Xers are middle aged and have proven that our different upbringing and way of thinking didn’t hinder our success. We were just different than our predecessors. Not worse, just different.
I will be the first to admit that I have complained about millennials. One of our millennial nannies couldn’t make a decision for herself, she needed her hand held every minute of the day. Literally, she would ask me what to feed my kids for every meal and snack while I was at work. (Honestly, I think this was more a consequence of a well-intentioned helicopter parent, than a generational thing.) We had another employee who quit after less than a week, because the work gave her too much anxiety. When we asked her to return her uniforms, she put them in a grocery bag and tied it to our front door over the weekend so she didn’t have to face us.
OK – so some people suck. In every generation. Let me repeat that – In. Every. Generation. Millennials are no different. Some of them really suck. And others are absolutely fabulous people. But, they think differently. They want things presented to them in a different way. They want services delivered in a different way. Different is not bad – it’s just different.
It would do us a great disservice if we were to write off this generation of people. Millennial moms are going to want orthodontics for their children. Millennials are going to want to work for us (the majority of my staff are millennials – including a very capable office manager). What we do need to do is to understand the way they think and act in a non-judgmental manner (even when it is killing us inside). We may not understand the way they operate day to day, and we may not agree on how they process information. We don’t have to agree with the way they live or the way they behave, but we do need to understand it and adapt.
Like it or not – millennials are our future. And I think we will be just fine.
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