Accurate Representation of Millenials in the Workplace?

Check out this clip from a 60 Minutes segment on “Millennials” in the workplace.  Although we’ve heard some of the stereotypes before, the video makes our generation of workers out to be very narcissistic, casual and even a bit lazy.  I suppose this could be an accurate representation of some, but I’m really hoping it isn’t true for all of the workers in the twentysomething age bracket!  Have you ever scheduled work around your yoga class?  I sure hope not!  Or refused to follow the dress code, or stay late once in a while?  Eek!

The video suggests that twentysomethings are all about themselves: their plans after work, their texts, their friends.  That we were raised to do extracurriculars for fun and participation, not to put in hard work practcing and mastering something.

Another very interesting point that I personally resonate with is the fact that many recent college graduates decided not to work traditional summer jobs growing up, but instead volunteer or travel because they feel that it looks better on a resume.  Although  I feel diversifying experiences is very important and these experiences are valuable, many of the best lessons I’ve learned came from working 2 or 3 summer jobs at once- many of which were not glamorous or fun.  Those summer jobs teach you how to be on time, deal with authority, and also motivate you to do great things with your own life so you aren’t stuck working at that type of job for the rest of your life.

I fear that those who spent their college years climbing mountains, traveling, and building homes for the poor may face a huge Quarterlife crisis (or let down) once they graduate and find out that working in an office (or hospital, or wherever you work after college) is not so adventurous and glamorous after all.  That disappointment has the potential to lead to a lifetime of being unsettled and feeling that any job you are doing is just “not enough.”

Let me know your thoughts!

4 responses to “Accurate Representation of Millenials in the Workplace?

  1. I think this video came out a while ago, before the economic crunch. I do see some truth in it – for example, I was given a HUGE trophy for a little bowling club when I was a kid for having the worst score (way to go!) I’ve also met some young people who expect their parents to figure out their careers for them.

    At the same time, I think they are pointing out some extreme examples, and it’s hard to completely generalize this group.

  2. And they wonder why young people are turning away from traditional media to get their news…

    Blaming Mr. Rogers for producing a generation of “entitled” young people? That’s just a little bit ridiculous.

    This is the same thing that gets said about EVERY generation by the one preceding it: they’re lazy, they’re self-involved, etc. Hello, welcome to life before you have a lot of kids and responsibility. Human brains aren’t fully mature until around the age of 25, so it’s reasonable to assume that some of the older generations acted a little immature at some of their first jobs as well. People always like to think that in THEIR day, they walked uphill in the snow both ways to work. It’s easier to see faults in others than in yourself.

    Besides, I think the squeaky wheels tend to stick out and give the rest of the generation a bad name. One person’s Facebook antics, when picked up by the right media, can make anyone with a Facebook account seem silly to someone unfamiliar with the platform (i.e. my parents).

  3. Personally, I’m getting rather tired of the former generation complainging about “Millenials” for multiple reasons. A) They raised us B) they were in charge of our schooling and C) they made it clear they were pretty unhappy doing what they were doing, having their midlife crisis-s, getting their divorces, and genrally putting us in extra-curricular activities so they could spend more time “working” and less time building up relationships with us.

    What ideal worker am I being compared to, anyway? The baby boomers weren’t known for being hard workers in their 20’s…AND! AND! Because of bad voting and governmental missmanagement I now will probably never see my social security but still pay a large chunck out to it. My schooling was 100% more expencive then my parent’s was and despite the fact that I’m good with money I still will be paying it off for the next 10 years. The work place is veritably flooded with college graduates making it harder and harder to find an entry level job, and when we finally do get a job (which takes perserverance in the first place) then we are told we are lazy? Why? Because my life does not revolve around my entry level position?

    In another post you discuss The Law of Diminshing Returns. So it makes sence that I would be less productive my 9th hour at work then I would be during my first. Honestly, I will be MORE productive tomorrow if I go home, relax, and get 8 hours of sleep and come in the next day feel creative and refreshed! ALso, as to working around a Yoga class, their is a great deal of evidence that exciercize INCREASES productivity (that is why I had to go to gym class/participate in sports) , so a mid-day exercize break will leve the person coming back more refreshed and prepared to do more then if that person had coffee and doughnuts.

  4. As a college professor, I have a difficult time working with Millenials. a) I didn’t raise them–their parents did, and now I have to deal with students who have a sense of entitlement, don’t respect boundaries/authority, feel that they deserve special treatment, and don’t take responsibility for their actions b) I am a gen-Xer (born 1969) –NOT a boomer– who had to work hard on my own in college with very few shortcuts (such as the internet, databases, etc.) and resources (such as personal librarians, and 24-7 study labs, etc) and while they have all of these amazing resources, they want me to provide answers for them rather than seek them out themselves or just plain work hard at it. They say that they work hard, and yet they are on facebook, itunes, cell phones etc. rather than staying on task and getting deep into a thought or task. Learning is a superficial, arbitrary exercise to them rather than a process of exploration; it is just another stupid thing to do (like an entry level job) in order to get that big job c) they are great convergent thinkers, but terrible divergent, creative thinkers and rarely take risks. They can regurgitate information just fine, but ask them to make connections, think critically, think creatively, etc, they become scared and resort to easy “outs”: Can they find the approximate answer or someone else’s creativity on the internet? Can they “get out of it” somehow (mom and dad usually bale them out)? Can they just B.S. their way through it and hope no one notices. AND they whine about everything and play the victim: I, too, wont’ have social security, I won’t have a clean earth. I had to work my way through college and get out loans (and we didn’t have nearly as many resources or accomodations available to us back in the 80s).

    So, my job as professor becomes having to “sell” my information to the Millenials (much like the products they are so fond of purchasing) so that they will actually do the hard work of reading, studying, and even more importantly: thinking deeply about something (besides themselves, that is).

    BTW: YES! Your life should revolve around your entry-level job! You should take pride in everything you do for so many reasons (too many to list here). You are not entitled to a six-figure job just because you got through college. No one is. I had to work my ass off in menial positions for years and learn the ropes before it finally paid off.

    The lesson from baby boomer’s greed and governmental mis-management is to NOT repeat their behaviors of being lazy or self-serving or greedy. It is to be hard-working, self-sacrificing, and generous.

    I just wish you could see what I have to deal with: I have had students ask me in front of the rest of the class if I could alter the assignment to fit their personal needs; I have had students do nothing in class and then ask me why they are failing; I have had them ask me why I didn’t get back with them immediately when they emailed me and I said that I had other things work to do and couldnt’ get to it and they said “really nice!” sarcastically back to me. Just last night I had a student tell me that her laptop crashed that day so she couldn’t print her paper and so she had to skip class in order to meet her dad at Circuit City to buy a new laptop that very night. I was stunned. I read student papers all the time in which students boast how smart they are and how creative they are and how special they are–and yet they produce unoriginal drivel which is just a synthesis or plain regurgitation of things they read online. I know that people have a hard time with millenials on the job, too. They don’t understand the lack of loyalty to their company, responsibility for their actions AND they always want to take the shortcuts. I worry about your future too.

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