In just the past few weeks, almost every major media has done reports on Millennials, describing them as everything from entitled to lazy to privileged. And I must say, I agreed with all of them. Until I looked a little deeper.
The only thing that separates Boomers from Millennials is age.
My parents were members of the 'greatest' generation. They had survived the depression and spent the wonderful post-war era as adults, starting families, moving to the suburbs and living the American dream. As the child of this generation, we were determined not to work at a company for 30 years only to receive a gold watch and a kick in the ass or do things according to the right way of seeking out a career and playing by the rules.
As a Boomer, we set out to do things differently. We would choose a career we wanted, not what was expected. We challenged authority and as adults would enter the workforce, and work to effect change. Many of us succeeded. And we experienced the joys of family trips across America, parental support for extra curricular activities, finding our own way and doing something that would 'make us happy.'
Somewhere along the way, we Boomers forgot the lessons of hard work and expression. We raised kids telling them that 8th place was the same as first place. We shielded them from life's lessons. We became their friends, not parents, determined to take the same things our parents gave us and give to them. But too often, the lessons that came along with growing up, were not passed down.
We must take some blame in how many perceive this Millennial generation but many seem to be striking out on their own. Granted, some in this sector expect that as the commendation generation, they are entitled to promotions for just doing a job, not always a job well done.
Work has in some instances, replaced loyalty as they saw the recession of 2007 affected their parents much in the way their great grandparents lived in hard times. Nothing was a sure thing. But loyalty also counts for something. It cuts to the character of the person.
What some perceive as anxiety and impatience seems to me, to be a frustration of this changing of the guard. The Boomers are moving out of the workforce and GenX is running the country, except for Congress. It's here that the Millennials are challenging the pace of their bosses, who are faster than their parents the Boomers, but not fast enough for them.
The Millennials are not much different from us Boomers and while I might suggest they stop for a minute and smell the roses, I envy the lightening speed by which they are changing the world.
Entitled? A little. Lazy? Not really. The paradigm has shifted and to broadly label this group would be a mistake. A big one. The technology they are creating, the social issues they are supporting and the search for self-worth is the same as what we went through. And I, for one, am excited by what they have in store.