Why you got Millennials wrong

It took me a while to accept it, but after a few people in my entourage pointed it out, I had to come to close with the fact that I am IMPATIENT. Good or bad, I didn’t know, but it soon became apparent that impatience comes with being a Millennial (those reaching young adulthood in the beginning of the 21st century).

Many journalists are now making compelling and highly educated analyses of Millennials, complaining about the painful task of managing them. In a nutshell, Millennials are not only impatient, they are entitled and want everything for nothing. It seems to be a problem to have Millennials in the workplace, and poor managers are likely to make mistakes when dealing with them. These very critical viewpoints got me thinking…at the end of the day, shouldn’t we talk about the difficulties of being managed by X-Geners?

Because, yes, Millennials are impatient, ask a lot, and are more driven by meaningful values than pay checks. Millennials want interaction, feedback and responsibilities, but also freedom…a complex cocktail for many.

Why you got Millennials wrong…

Let’s for once take an inside out perspective on Millennials, and at the challenges WE face in the workplace.

  • We are asked to perform in jobs that did not exist 10 years ago, for which no comprehensive training exists yet, and that our managers don’t really understand themselves.
  • Cross-disciplinary skills are required and we are never properly fitting the bill (another source of low self-esteem, as identified by Simon Sinek).
  • We have to deal with unprecedented amounts of information, yet often incomplete, and have to make decisions faster than before.
  • The way our industries work are still often archaic, involving meticulous and painfully slow processes.
  • We fundamentally prefer simplicity over consumerism, which can lead to clashes with company values

So yes, we want to work, but also consume and act differently. Being impatient comes with it and it is not a bad thing. It pushes you, makes you work harder and faster. It motivates you and makes you focus on reaching end goals, rather than being complacent. Given the challenges that are upon us, we have to adapt fast: how can we do that if we accept the status quo and are not eager to make a change?

To all the Millennials out there: you are not a problem, you are the solution!



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