79 million Millennials. What do you do with them?

Well not much gets done these days without quantifying necessary evidence to prove a point. Numbers sell, talk, and give credibility. When reading a blog by Ryan Scott, 5 Things To Know About Your Gen Y Staff, I found myself delving into the same issues any Gen Y article brings up, stereotypes – just to clarify not all stereotypes are negative, for example Scott mentions Millennials are Technically Savvy, which I believe can only help us. These 4 or 5 bullet points remain fairly constant when talking about this generation but, I’m always interested in why it is the case? In this blog I will address the bullet points from a different perspective.

The 79 million figure is not really astounding until you compare it to the number associated with Baby Boomers, 76 million. Well here we are ladies and gentleman – there are more of us than there are of them. Why is it then that it’s so difficult to find a job? Probably because we are being referred to as “younger tykes” and “young kids” a majority of the time in the workplace as noted by Scott in his blog. Now as a Millennial I do know that we expect a different level of combining work and personal life. And by that I mean, at this point there isn’t a true separation of work and life – there isn’t a true “work-life balance” to be made when a Millennial (or anyone for that matter) is connected to the outside world 24/7. Not only can I receive a text from my friends at work but, I can also get a text from my boss at home. Technology savvy Millennials have brought a new sense of work-life combination that has not been seen.

Team-oriented. Now this brings me back to high school and even college when you’re sitting at your desk crossing your fingers, sweating, bouncing your foot up and down in anticipation. Dun dun dun… the over-glorified group project. Now, if you were a slacker and never pulled your weight? You probably rejoiced but, were still nervous hoping you’d get that Glee geek in the corner who speaks fluent Spanish for your Spanish speaking country project. Or you’re the naturally smart athlete who doesn’t have time to do an ENTIRE project by themselves but, because you don’t want a C? You do the whole thing and get everyone an A. I don’t know if we are as much “team-oriented” as we are brain-washed due to completing a group project every 2 weeks starting at the age of 12.

I think achievement-oriented and the need for acknowledgement go together. As stated in my blog yesterday, What if everyone was a leader?, we’ve been brought up to believe if you’re not the best then go find something else to be the best at. Oh and if you’re not the best? You still get a trophy, because everyone is important. I’m not sure if I mentioned this before but, in kindergarten I got a bowling trophy for attending a classmate’s birthday party. Now if that doesn’t explain why Millennials are achievement oriented or constantly looking for acknowledgement? I really don’t know what else does, a trophy for a birthday party? Really?

As all of the experts older than the Millennial generation continue to write and study Millennials and send their information off to other Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers – I am always curious as to why they never answer the question, “Hey, why do you think they’re like that?” I can read and listen to stereotypes every day but, until you can answer why? You’re just telling us what we already know and what those older than us are scared of, this changing tide of what YOU need to do to retain Millennial Talent.

I will conclude on this note. Not only is understanding why these stereotypes exist important but, if you’re a Millennial reading on how the marketplace is going to change for you, you need to make a conscious effort to earn respect and work hard. If not, a change in the marketplace won’t matter.

Just because there’s 79 million Millennials here in the U.S. job market doesn’t mean there aren’t hundreds of millions of perfectly capable and maybe ever smarter (dare I say it) Millennials overseas, who are more than willing to work for companies. There is a compromise that must be made but, when employers embrace Millennials, Millennials must also take responsibility, initiative, and understand they aren’t little Bobby on the tee-ball team anymore, this is the job market.


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