Millennials Really Are Different. Here’s Why…

I know, I know: every new generation to hit the workforce is special, dynamic, and above all, different! Every new generation has its own particular reasons for being “The Generation” that will rewrite how business is done.

And I know, I know, I know: every new generation is lazy, and spoiled, and feels entitled, and has to be broken in like a colt; useless to anyone until it learns to accept a saddle and hunker down for serious work.

I know, folks. Some people hold that the youth is our future. And isn’t that special?

Others opine that same youth is our future, so we’re really screwed.

Either way you slice it, this generalization of the next generation has been going on in the press and in our imaginations forever, probably. I’ll bet the Egyptians have hieroglyphics on the topic.

On the one hand, I’m inclined to say to the grownups around me, “Guys, seriously? You do this every few years. You prognosticated on how weird or wonderful we plaid-clad Gen X-ers were. ‘Slackers’ you called us.”

Fast forward twenty-some years and now look at us. We’re just people, with more in common with older and younger people in our socioeconomic classes and professions, often than with our own fellow graduates.

However, I can’t say that about the Millennials, much as I’d like to. Think about what these kids have gone through. Economically, their charge out of school and into the workforce has been metaphorically reminiscent of a past generation’s charges across “No Man’s Land” in the battlefields of France in WWI.

This generalization of the next generation has been going on in the press and in our imaginations forever, probably. I’ll bet the Egyptians have hieroglyphics on the topic.

The present day youth has been mowed down, by far the biggest victims of unemployment and under-employment in the Great Recession.

Yet while comparison to the Lost Generation of a century ago might be colorful, it’s not what I see when I look at the young women and men of the Millennial generation. Instead, I see strong similarity to the kids of the 1930’s, who grew up to be our Greatest Generation.

Fast forward twenty-some years and now look at us. We’re just people, with more in common with older and younger people in our socioeconomic classes and professions, often than with our own fellow graduates.

Doubt me? I completely understand your inclination. That’s why I invite you to click over to YouTern now, to read my guest-post there that went live this morning. And after you’ve read it, please, let me have it in the comments – or share it with your friends and colleagues.

Either way, I hope you spend some time on our sister site. YouTern is as dedicated to The Human Side of Business as we are here at Switch and Shift.

Their CEO, Mark Babbitt, is a Leaguer here at S&S, a mentor, and a good friend to Shawn and me. Their Content and Community Manager, Dave Ellis, is our heroic Senior Editor, and also our good friend.

And, if you are in HR, recruiting, or if you yourself are a young careerist… you might want to set YouTern as your home page.

 

Art by: MattyYoung1234

Keynote speaker. Author of A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive. Three-time CEO. Chairman and Founder of Switch and Shift. Ted Coiné is one of the most influential business experts on the Web, top-ranked by Forbes, Inc., SAP Business Innovation, and Huffington Post for his leadership, customer experience, and social media influence. Ted consults with owners, CEOs and boards of directors on making their companies more competitive by making them more human-focused. He and his family live in Naples, Florida.

  • reply PeterPrasad SF ,

    Socrates bemoaned the youth of Athens.  The human spirit remains the renewable energy of dear sweet planet Earth. 

    • reply Warren Whitlock ,

      Even more predictable about special generations is the comment “but this time it’s different ”

      Always a popular and important topic. None less so if called special :)

      • reply TedCoine ,

        Too true!

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