WTF WITH MILLENNIALS?/ Etiquetas: millenials
I want to share what I think not about “them”, but about the stereotypes, myths, legends and stories around which not only a generalized identity is being constructed, but also how decisions that shape companies (and even families) are being made.
Trying to explain a group through a series of traits is as fallible as saying there are three types of approaches in learning (yes, that approach that includes visual, aud… that one!). True, we can see a “majority” behaving a certain way, but people are so different, our brains so complex, and their processes so incomprehensible, that it will not cease to seem ambitious and pretentious to me to try to predict behavior just because one belongs to a certain group.
I’m going to polarize to go faster. On one hand we have examples (all real) of comments I’ve heard from the younger generation, or that I have been told first hand:
- When I finish school I won’t take a job that pays me less than x thousand pesos.
- I don’t want schedules, I can be productive at any time.
- I want a job near my home. If not, I won’t take it.
- I quit because I didn’t like how they treated me.
- At 30 I want to retire and enjoy life.
- I want to travel a lot (very far away and very often).
- I can’t go to the interview right now, can you meet me next week?
- This week I can’t either, can you interview me on Skype?
- Do not ask me to check the company email on my cell phone.
- Do not ask me to work on Saturday or Sunday.
- Clothes, coffee, cell phone, laptop (expensive and fashionable) are indispensable.
- Do not ask me to arrive and greet everyone, say excuse me, goodbye, etc. Do you want me to bow down?
My friends, if anyone has done things out of the box, that’s me. And it doesn’t scare me to think outside the box and break paradigms. I’ve done it practically all my life. The issue is that today things are mixed up, and many times I’ve heard directors and managers in large companies say:
- Kids no longer want to work in this company, we have to adapt to them.
- We need to change our schedule policies, we are not attracting young talent.
- You can no longer give negative feedback because they leave. You have to be very tactful.
- Kids no longer last more than 1 year or 2 with you. What they want is the experience, traveling, alternative projects. Loyalty is no longer important.
- We need to change our leadership style, as new generations need more empathy and respect.
- Millennials think outside the box and we need to listen to them to renew the culture and focus of the company.
- Young talent no longer care about long-term relationships, or saving for the future, buying a home and settling down. Now they’re interested in other things, experiences.
Having polarized, we agree that it would be just as unfair to say that all people born between 1980 and 2000 (more or less) think as described in the first list, as to say that all large companies are adapting like the second list. What I do see is true is that both lists have at least 2 possible interpretations: one inclined towards the positive, and another towards the negative:
(+) The company that listens to the labor market in an impartial way and adapts its policies, is a company concerned about organizational health, regardless of the generations.
(-) The company that does not do this knowingly is fulfilling the whims of a stereotyped generation.
(+) The kids who, although asking for many of the items on the list, are hard-working, responsible, educated, and seek to impact social development thinking outside the box, are either visionary (sometimes geniuses) or have a stroke of luck (the precise conditions to act).
(-)Those who do not fit in the previous description are called lazy and unfocused in my book.
The problem arises when a company that moves by fads hires “lazy” millennials, and although deep down they know something isn’t working, they fulfill their whims, affecting and failing to give people with seniority, experience, knowledge, commitment and other virtues the place they deserve.
In the midst of polarization there is an infinite spectrum of possibilities and colors where we can all have certain traits or others. If anything, I am convinced that behavior is situational. I’m supposed to be Generation X, and I’m not necessarily defined by the infographic Pictoline on Facebook, the video on PlayGround, or the movie Reality Bites. Sometimes I have behaved like the craziest millennial, others as an innovative, responsible guy. I have been the contracting company looking for information to support my decisions, and I have also gone with fads and trends. Sometimes I’ve been right and sometimes I’ve been wrong.
Finally, I am not for or against a generation or a type of decision in HR departments. I am simply in favor of recognizing that there is no human science, approach or discipline that can put us in a package or label us. That between poles there are as many alternatives as surprises that continue to give us life, and that all persons, no matter when we were born, are a blank canvas to draw ourselves with the daily interactions with which we build our realities.
The same applies in terms of nationality, social class, race, religion, political and sexual orientation, musical preferences or the family structure in which you live.
As the good Alan Watts once said: “trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth“. Perhaps with this text I can be interpreted by certain decision-makers in companies as someone who understands them; perhaps by others as a critic without reason. Maybe I’m seen by baby boomers and Gen X as someone who put words to their feelings in recent years; perhaps by others as a short-sighted writer. Maybe I’m considered by some millennials as a wake-up call to not fall into hedonistic vices in a superficial society, and perhaps for other kids I’m just a grumpy old man.
I say that today I am a little of all of those.Por ForteOrigen-en