Millennial overview: the good and the bad
Millennials are the generation born approximately in 1984 and after. Over the past few years there have been countless articles about what sets them apart from past generations. The traits associated with this cohort include both negative and positive ones. Some of the negative traits include unfocused, entitled, impatient and lazy to name a few. The positive ones tend to surround valuing company culture, corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, idealism and craving engagement and purpose. Both types of traits have helped and hindered these millennials, setting up challenges that they must now face. This article focuses on the more challenging traits they may have due to increasing technology and how they can be used for growth and change.
Key Player: Technology
What’s important is to discover what the causes of millenials’ challenges are. Simon Sinek, a motivational speaker and marketing consultant has explored these causes in a recent Youtube interview. He argues that technology is the fundamental reason behind the struggles millennials, and the world in general, face today.
Technology, including social media, namely Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, has caused us to be good at putting filters on our life. This in turn creates a false illusion of what life should look like, as well as creates a dependency on receiving superficial validation from our “friends”. As a result, we provoke our fragile self-esteem to seek out ways to alleviate our increasing sense of insecurity.
Impatience, the biggest side effect
Technology has also heightened our sense of impatience, fuelled by companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Deliveroo and Tinder. Sinek argues that job and relationship satisfaction depend on delayed gratification, patience and perseverance. These skills are crucial for overall life fulfilment, and the cost of not knowing them can lead many to either a mediocre and unfulfilling life, or to depression, and in extreme cases suicide.
The quarter life-crisis
This phenomenon is echoed in a LinkedIn survey of 2,000 millennials, which found that 72% of young professionals ages 25 to 33 believe to have had a quarter-life crisis. The New York Post discusses this issue outlining the ways in which this generation is dealing with unprecedented personal and professional insecurities. Millennials are questioning their life choices, relationships and career paths, all of which take patience, dedication and hard work.
The Struggles Millennials Face
As we discussed previously, millennials, also sometimes referred to as Generation Y, are faced with challenges and uncertainties that previous generations did not have. These struggles have arisen out of technology and our changing environment. High expectations fuelled by social media, and a culture prone to impatience and never ending possibilities, have caused general disconnection and discontentment.
A Cross-Cultural Occurrence
This isn’t only happening at home, but everywhere. As a world-wide phenomenon, the Guardian highlights how variations of the same issues are unfolding in every country. For example, “in Germany, they have been called Generation Maybe, a group who are well educated, highly connected, multilingual, globally minded, with a myriad of opportunities, but who are so overwhelmed by the possibilities available to them that they commit to nothing”. As we can see, this is a global phenomenon. Although this raises some questions, it would be far too simplistic to only discuss the negative developments.
Highlighting the Need for Positive Change
Many issues they face have arisen through no fault of their own. Although millennials may have to face many challenges their parents did not have, such as debt, lack of housing, unemployment, and indecision, not everything related to them can be said to be negative. The shift in society also proves that millennials have also brought to light important social and behavioural changes in our society and work spaces.
The Values of this Generation
The ways millennials are reshaping corporate culture is discussed in a Forbes article, where Larry Alton argues that whether we like it or not, this generation is “the up-and-coming generation that is going to shape the workplaces of tomorrow”. Some of the shifts occurring include: valuing the culture of a company, corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, ideas above things, demanding feedback and growth, and finally engagement and purpose. He goes on to outline to fundamental changes taking place, arguing that the companies must genuinely consider these shifts to stay competitive.
The Need to Adapt
Therefore, as millennials take up more and more room in the workforce, their voices cannot be ignored, as this will only hinder the companies. As Stephen Hawking said “intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”. As our world evolves, we cannot avoid or run away from change. We are perhaps witnessing the fastest growing implementation of change, as technology appears to have impacted the world on unprecedented levels. Resisting these changes will do no good. The best way to proceed is to try to understand and adopt them as best we can, on a business and personal level. There are many ways to start adapting to these changes. A simple one would be to consider a millennial’s suggestion or insight seriously, and assess the positive impact that follows.
If you are a millennial looking for some extra guidance or help for your studies or career choice, contact our early careers service, and we will provide mentors and consultants that teach the professional skills and help students find ways to enhance their CV and secure a job.
Better leadership needed
So, what’s the solution? Sinek’s solution is to create a better work environment, with better leadership to teach young employees the right life skills. He suggests as an example, limiting phone use, an invention that has profoundly altered the way we engage with others. By scaling back on phone use, he believes we can built sincere interactions with others and learn to connect in a world that has been slowly disconnecting. In a recent article, we also wrote about how a ‘well rounded’ ‘liberal arts’ higher education potentially adds to the shortness of professional skills millennials will need for a professional early career. So, maybe seeking professional skills placements and trainings, then combining these with a good work environment and leadership opportunities will solve these challenges.
And the good traits?
While this generation has dealt with some challenges other generations did not face, and we do need to find ways to lessen the damaging impacts of technology, millennials have also developed beneficial traits that are enhancing social and business expectations and standards. Our next blog will discuss these traits in more detail, highlighting the ways in which technology and millennials have brought to light important social and behavioural changes in our society and work spaces.
At Uber Tutors, we are very familiar with the struggles faced by millennials today. That is why our early careers service, provides mentors and consultants that teach these professional skills and help students find ways to enhance their CV, secure a job and help them to avoid a quarter-life crisis.