Millennials: what’s wrong with these kids?

As I’m coaching and teaching managers and leaders in the government, I consistently hear the same question come up again and again: “What’s wrong with these kids coming into the workforce now?”

Good question.  What’s wrong with them?

“Why do they expect to be promoted and rewarded based on their performance rather than seniority?”

“Why don’t they want to ‘take their lumps like I did’ before moving on to the next job?”

“Why don’t they care about being promoted?  Why isn’t it enough just to get a paycheck rather than hearing about how great they are doing from me?”

Why, Why, Why… indeed.  Much has been written about this sort of Millennial generation label and I won’t bore you to death with it now.  If you want to read up a little, search Google for Millennials in the workplace and read away.

I simply want to make 2 quick points:

1. You raised them.  Like it or not, it’s your fault.

2. Your parents (and the people in their generation) thought the same about your generation.  Remember comments about “hippies” and “kids who don’t want a real job?” I thought you might.

3. (I’m not charging you for this one) They’re just as frustrated with you.  They are tired of using the Encyclopedia minded workforce to achieve their goals when they’re used to making things happen quickly.  In their mind, you’re clogging up the workforce bottleneck and although they’re okay with you being there if you contribute, they have little empathy for people just sucking up the job supply if they’re operating the same way they did back in ancient history (1980’s-1990’s).

Just remember, at some point, you had the same drive they do.  You just had to send out 3,000 emails, strike that, letters and trek to the front desk of city hall and fill out applications for 6 weeks to get a job.  They just did all that in 20 minutes on from Starbucks.


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