When I first heard the word “millennials”, I never thought myself would be included. I just thought it was some kind of newest movie or IT term. But then I found this term being used more and more, especially in business world. They say that millennials aren’t capable of being loyal, have a focus and commitment issue, and always feel “entitled”, shortly – they are taking things for granted. I began to see there is a slight gap between our generation with our parents’ generations. And sometimes, I have to admit that the gap is getting wider.
But what it is actually that the millennials want? As a millennial myself, I think what I want to do with my life is to actually do something that I love and make a change, if not for the world, than for my family, or my friends, or even for my self. We want to create, we want to be part of something, we want to really believe in our work. And so, there are many cases where people find us disloyal. Why? Because we have no problem hopping from one job to another as long as it makes us happy. Why stay too long in the company that puts us to endless working hours, and not enough appreciation? The internet has made everything so easy for us.
There are millions of websites offering job vacancies that we can apply online, thus we don’t even need to leave our current office just to apply in somewhere else.
So what exactly a kind of work that we like? I was once holding a survey in my university’s students, asking what are their considerations in choosing where to work. And most of them, around 70% of them mentioned the reputation of company as the main consideration. It means that, while being ambitious, they are fond of fancy names and famous companies. Some even said that they are willing to receive less salary from famous company compared to higher salary in the company people never heard of. There is also a drop of embarrassment in working for industry that sounds dull, like toilet, cleaning products, or anything else that isn’t “cool”.
Surely, in today’s world, being a director of toilet company will invite more mocking laughter than an admiration. That is the way it is. In the world where there is a Linkedin, people care so much about their appearances in the public, and take very serious matter in choosing the company they work for. They want to be able to believe in the company values itself, not just being some robots who do the work when they are told.
This generation is a very loud generation. Everyone has an opinion. The numbers of blogs and personal websites (like me!) is increasing in an unprecedented rate. Look at the comment section of every websites, they are full of people who want to give their two cents about the content. Look at the numbers of forums available online, from forum for disabled people, to forum for women discussion, it’s all out there. We can voice our opinion, whenever, wherever. This said, it is hard for us to live in the company that has a strong seniority culture, the one who puts highlight in who works longer, who is older, the elder is always right, etc. It is hard for us to be unheard.
We want to be listened to, considered, looked at, and appreciated. And when we don’t get all those, we seldom find ourselves working whole-heartedly. It is easy to earn the best result from millennials, among all things, they all just want to be appreciated and rewarded. Not necessarily have to be a promotion, but a simple thank you and good job can be a mood-booster that will make them stay so long in the company. I know it seems a little bit “childish”, but I think that’s what happens.
On some note, people call us “entitled”. Now this is something that I’ve been hearing for long, now. They said that the millennials always take things for granted, like they deserve all things that happen. And when another people decide that they don’t, they can be so outrageous and defensive. They do not have the common courtesy in greeting older people, sending formal text, behaving in the work field, etc. To some level, I do agree with this opinion. I personally think that myself is such an optimist, up to the level where my optimism makes me believe that I do deserve all best things that I set my heart into. So when things fail, it is harder for us to cope. It is not our opportunity that is lost, it is our ego that is wounded.
Yes, ego is a very very essential thing for us. We tend to keep it with all the guards available. That is also why, appearances and prestige is also becoming priority, rather than life balance or anything else. In the era of Instagram, Linkedin, Path, etc, we want people to see our lives and envy us, not pitying us. That is I think one of the dilemma that we are facing today. On one note the social medias are really helpful for our work, yet on another note it pushes our ego to be the best version online, not offline.
I think it is safe to say that millennials are pretty lost with ourselves today. We haven’t figured out how to manage these super rapid changing world that we live in today. With the internet and all the technology inventions, surely our job is easier compared to the previous generation, but technology also drains us dry. And sometimes nothing is left from us aside from our ego. In one thing we want to contribute, but we want to contribute in “cool” office, not in a mediocre one, we want all the prestige and appearance booster that we can get. We do feel entitled by it. And this is the biggest challenge. How to manage the world with so many loud voices and alter ego? How to be in peace when everyone seems to feel entitled for everything? So so so many things that will add to this list of why the elder generation can’t seem to understand us. But me, myself, I don’t even have the answer. I guess we are all still seeking and figuring out our way.