Albert Einstein is widely known to have told us that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.” I often hear complaints about Millennials, yet, so few people want to move beyond their complaint into action.
The truth is, we don’t know what we don’t know. We, as older generations, have grown up with a different set of facts and expectations. We assume that other people “should” know this… but they don’t.
I can’t even quantify how many times in conducting seminars that I have looked out at faces and seen an older generational person say a derogatory comment about Millennials. They can’t see the look on Millennials’ faces when this comment is made, but I do. Some people roll their eyes expressing “here we go again.” Others have a deflated look on their face. Truth is, people in my seminars are all there to learn… regardless of the era in which they were born. Just as we are politically correct to a nearly painful extent, we pigeon hole an entire generation to be slackers.
Instead of passing judgement and glossing over the biggest generation since Baby Boomers, why don’t we invest some time in them and see how we can work together? Like it or not, we have the option to learn from each other… or spend the rest of our lives complaining.
Here are some things I have learned about Millennials… they are not all “snowflakes.” There is a willingness to learn but we, as older generations, need to be patient. If we are going to make any assumptions, let’s assume that the generations behind us haven’t had the benefit of our experience. With technology as advanced as it is, people are now receiving information at a quicker pace than ever. The real issue is that we don’t always know what to focus our attention on.
The main complaint that I have heard about Millennials is that they “have unrealistic expectations in the workplace regarding pay and policies.” The bigger issue that I have seen is that policies are muddy and employers, rather than just give an answer, fail to tell the interviewee that their expectations are unrealistic. There is a prime opportunity to educate Millennials (or anyone) in this scenario. But we don’t do this, we avoid conflict and the cycle continues.
A suggestion that I often make is to ask the other person what their vision is for something in between. This is no guarantee of employment, but it gives the interviewee an opportunity to engage in the process... Which leads me to the crux of what I believe the problem is regarding the breakdown of communications within the different generations…
We, as a society, have created an exact world. We have perfectly measured out every formula and have taken self-discovery out of so many scenarios that we are spoon-feeding future generations instead of allowing them to learn things on their own. They are saying “enough is enough.” Millennials want to be part of the process not just the outcome. Yes, this is a generalization, but we need to lean back and allow future generations to rise up. They might just surprise us.