representation of millennials versus the reality

When you encounter a millennial job applicant who is right out of school looking for the “perfect job”, as an older person, you think thoughts like “Hey kid, I was just served a $3 coffee by a 50 year old working a split shift of 5AM to 9AM and then 3PM to 7PM at Starbucks! There is no perfect job, so get over it.”

There are two issues with this. The first is that the young person has been taught by our school systems that if they follow the rules, get a degree, they are entitled to a “perfect job.” Nobody ever mentions that there is no such thing. That they will 99% quit their first job within two years (or so it seems to me) regardless of how “perfect” it is because they assume the grass is greener. And in fact it IS greener when they talk to their friends because people only talk about the good stuff. Talk to someone working for big oil and it’s all about the salary and benefits. Talk to someone in entertainment and it’s all about hanging out with rock stars at the House of Blues.

The second issue with the example in the first paragraph is the subtle judgment by ME that the job at Starbucks is necessarily a sacrifice on the part of the 50 year old. That presumption that they aren’t enjoying their work, that it might be perfect for their lifestyle and benefit needs, is flat out wrong on my part. It hints at the subtle prejudice in our society against non-college-prep types of jobs. If you are managing a restaurant it must be because you couldn’t get a job in a cube at the local insurance branch. Baroo? I’d MUCH rather run a hoping restaurant than work in a cube. Yet I too fall into this trap of incorrectly judging other people’s jobs.

Further Reading:

this profound disconnect

millennials redefining

Chron Post: Millennials head under a rock

The Chron.com started a new blog called The List and asked me to guest blog post. My first (and only) post so far is titled:

old-glory-by-eschipul1Chron Post: Millennials head under a rock

The GI generation, by all accounts, appears to have raised one of the biggest groups of spoiled kids our country has ever seen. The Baby Boomers. And the Boomers are burying the Millennial generation and their grandkids in debt and chaos. Pretending deficit spending isn’t just a deferred tax increase (it is). And that seems wrong to this Gen X’er..

In the book GENERATIONS, The History of America’s Future, the authors describe the Boomers as:

The Boomers, who came to college after Eisenhower and before the Carter malaise of 1979. These were the babies of optimism and hubris, Beaver Cleaver and Musketeers, the post-Sputnik high school kids whose SAT scores declined for seventeen straight years, student strikers, flower-child hippies and draft resisters. – pg 30

(read the full post on Millennials and the Baby Boomers on Chron.com here.)

Generation X was … asked how to operate the remote/TV/Apple IIc/whatever

Generations I had lunch.  Not exactly Earth shattering, I know.  I had lunch and got in a conversation with the waiter who was 26, married, with dog, family in town for the holidays.  Difficulty dealing with Dad visiting wanting to be "a friend" but also a father.

The conversation progressed into generational differencesGeneration X and generation Y are the first generation where knowledge went backwards.  This is not my concept, it comes from the book Generations.  The concept is that kids growing up in the 50s got information from their parents.  Knowledge went from older to younger.  Trends might differ, but the overall knowledge was held by the elders and passed to the youngers.  With X, again from the book, for the FIRST time knowledge went backwards between generations.

Generation X was called from their rooms, into the living room, asked how to operate the remote/TV/Apple IIc/whatever.  We answered the questions. We were dismissed.  "Thanks" and "Please go away now."  This of course creates a transactional attitude on the part of the younger.  "You call me in to answer questions, so what is in it for me?" or "I answered your question, so can I borrow the car?".  You have to admit this is reasonable.  But I am an Xer so you might not agree, but I assure you, it IS reasonable.

Yet, reasonable or not, a Gen X, who has been conditioned, meets a brand that is all about themselves and you have a train wreck (DISCLOSURE: I hate Capital One).  The brand is talking to them like a "Boomer", talking down, and that doesn’t play.  At all.  Not transactional never mind conversational.

Too much of a topic for a single post, but Boomers, Xers, Millenials must all be communicated with on THEIR terms.  Step 1 is to acknowledge the difference.