It’s not as cool as it looks

There are more songs shaming Millennials than any other generational group. Hilarious songs, composed by……. Millennials, of course.

I remember a quote by one of my professors (probably not his own wisdom): “Youth is such a marvellous thing, but it is a pity that it has to be wasted on young people.” Ha-ha, I thought, judging the envy in his crooked body language. But he also read a quote dating back to the year 8bC – expressing adults’ fear of a world in the hands of the youth of the day.

We have to take notice of Millennials- we have no choice. In 2020 they formed 50% of the workforce and in 2025 no less than 75% of all employees will be Millennials. When one googles opinions about this generation, born after 1980, the adjectives are mostly negative: they are entitled, narcissistic, lazy, and they demand instant gratification and regular recognition.

But not all their requirements are adverse. In a general survey, only 21% gave money as their driving force in life – to pay for their crushing student loans. Mentorship, personal development and coaching ranked high on their motivational list. So does flexibility and the proper use of technology, transparency and a sense of purpose in the workplace.

A story is circulating of a successful college football coach who realised that his team did not respond to yelling and harsh talk. He did not change the fundamentals of hard work and being on time for practice sessions but decided to change his coaching style. He adopted an approach different from that which was used in his youth. Criticised by the college authorities for “bending” for the sake of Millennials, his answer was: “We are winning our matches.”

Behind the mask of a “cool, in-control” individual, is often a Millennial going through an early quarter-life crisis. One statistic reveals that 71% of Millennials are actively disengaged at work, looking apathetic, and lacking the energy that should be part of a young person’s DNA. Researchers maintain that this could be caused by their inability to manage the multitude of choices on their plates.

No generation before has been bombarded with such an overload of information and choices available to them. Without the wisdom or experience to weigh up the true pros and cons. They are often incapable of setting priorities for their work and personal lives. Very few were taught to budget time, money and energy – resources that are not renewable. Many feel permanently overwhelmed by work, social and personal demands.

Making a difference and leading a purposeful life, is part of their make-up and necessary for a Millennial to be happy. A mentor or life coach, willing to lend a helping hand, could help him or her to ask the one crucial question: “What makes you come alive?”  It is not about knowing the answers, but about taking the first step in the slow process of balancing your life.

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