So often, I’ve sat in team meetings or encountered the public opinion that millennials (loosely interpreted to have been born between the early 1980s and 2000) are entitled, privileged, arrogant and walk into the workplace demanding the top jobs at the highest pay straight out of college.
As my husband often says, generalizations are so-called because they are generally true, but I believe the (lack of) character traits above to be the exception and not the rule. While I’m technically part of Generation X (mid 1960s to early 1980s), I take it personally when any generational rifts emerge.
Yes, of course each generation thinks that the populace that follows will destroy all that they have worked so hard to obtain (conveniently forgetting that their predecessors thought the same when they came rushing on the scene).
I think it is our duty to lift up the generation that follows, to mentor those who are entering jobs and taking on marriages and having children and navigating the undulating landscape just a few short years behind us. I was fortunate to have parents who believed that youth had something to offer, and was pushed out into public and community service at the ripe old age of twelve.
Later in my career, I had a mentor (whom I still vet my crazy ideas with regularly) who used to say of me “Beth has 100 ideas a minute, and 98 of them are terrible.” But… he kept me around for the possibilities that lay in my two occasionally viable thoughts. And, he would often say: “I’m an old white guy, and I know what I think about this particular issue. But what do you think?” Me, the rash and idealistic young woman on his team. He wanted my insight – even when it was terrible. That’s been pretty powerful for me as I realize that it’s my job to continue the tradition.
And so, I read with glee a few of these lines from the aforementioned Huffington Post article:
Indeed, our country’s future demands that we embrace our next generation of leaders — the often-underestimated Millennials — who are the largest, most diverse, and most progressive generation the country has ever seen. And it’s an electoral imperative as well — by 2020, they will make up nearly 40 percent of voters.
…Millennials are diverse, connected, forward-thinkers who believe that government can be an agent of positive, meaningful reform, and their rising political muscle within the electorate is already driving change on a number of issues…
Indeed. We all have much work to do together.