I don’t usually get very opinionated on here but today that will change. Think about it. Do you really know me and my family? Maybe a little bit but I protect our privacy pretty well. After all, I’m the blogger and they didn’t sign up for any of this. I am going to write about something that’s been bothering me a bit – raising millennials.
This has been on my mind for a while and when I read this open letter published in The Liberty Project, I knew it was time to write this post. Most of what I am talking about today will be in general terms. The definition of millennial (generation Y) is those who were born roughly between 1980 – 1997. They are also known as the “me” generation. The ones who got a trophy for just participating in the sport or activity, not because they won or came in first place. They invented the selfie – go figure. In general terms millennials are unattached to organized religion and politics, connected by social media and not in a hurry to get married. They are in debt and have no problem with it. This generation does not remember a time without computers. They are techno savvy and individualist. Money flies out of their wallets whether they have it or not (again the debt thing). As far as work goes, they have a “me first” attitude and are the most doted upon in any workplace. That’s because they are not self-starters. Why? They were coddled and never learned to problem solve. Remember, they were raised with helicopter parents. If you would like to communicate with a millennial, you will need to text.
Here is my question and dilemma. How did this happen? Millennials were raised by us Generation X (1965-1979) and Baby Boomers (1946-1964). And we are nothing like that. We are highly educated, responsible, hard-working and we want to make a difference. We were taught to be loyal to our employers and that if you work hard, you will be rewarded. Our worth is tied to our work and we are results driven. Multi-tasking is our thing and a 60-hour work week seems normal because we invented it. Putting in extra time to get the job done is a no-brainer. Heck, we are happy to take on extra responsibility. Vacation? Do we have to? And if we do take a vacation, we will be working as we do it. Taking phone calls, answering e-mails and having fun on the beach – all completely doable. We were raised by traditionalists who taught us strong core values.
Where is the disconnect? I don’t get it. How did our hard-working generation raise a generation that is more concerned about their work/life balance than getting a promotion and raise? Maybe the answer isn’t that general. This is where it shifts from opinion to personal.
We have four millennials (one is one the cusp) and they are all wonderful people who have come of age. In fact, millennials make up the largest portion of the work force today. We did not helicopter parent our kids. I never understood that philosophy. If my kid forgot a class assignment at home, I let them fall and learn the consequence of it (for the most part). It is ok to fail and learn a hard lesson from it. If they ever got in trouble at school they were in far more trouble with us at home. We really didn’t subscribe to the “everyone gets a gold star on their chart” method. What does that prove? Shouldn’t you want to participate and strive hard to win? We did. But we were definitely in the minority in our community. Most parents loved the “reward the entire team with a trophy” because they showed up. Let’s all be celebrated equally and please don’t draw too much attention to the star player. That’s not fair.
You think I am kidding but sadly I am not. Horrors, I know. Some parents looked at us like we were some sort of medieval tyrants. But this I know – our kids know right from wrong, are hard-working individuals with morals and ethics. Don’t get me wrong, they are not perfect but they are great adults. And they are millennials. So maybe the answer is more about how you parented your millennial.
Now, about Generation Z… we don’t have enough data on them to see where the future is going. Here is the interesting question. I wonder what millennials will be raising?