Millennial bashing is rampant. There are hundreds of articles stating that Millennials are an entitled-acting, spoiled generation.
One of the biggest complaints about Millennials is their work ethic and approach to their careers. Baby Boomers had to work their way up the corporate ladder to get the kind of autonomy, power, and freedom that Millennials are demanding out of the starting gate of their careers. Millennials are purpose-driven and looking for work that is personally fulfilling, not just materially fulfilling. They are much less accepting of a world in which you are a slave to your job in exchange for a paycheck--a norm Baby Boomers grew up with. From the point of view of older generations, Millennials not only act entitled, but they're also idealistic and naive.
The problem isn't entirely with the Millennials, though--it's also with the Baby Boomers. Older generations are simply resentful of the opportunities available to Millennials that were not available to them.
Three Reasons Why Baby Boomers Resent Millennials:
1. Baby Boomers learned to sacrifice joy in exchange for well-paying work. Millennials get (and expect) both.
Why do Baby Boomers get so upset about younger people prioritizing joy at work? The anger comes from a feeling of loss. The loss of joy for themselves. Baby Boomers had to work in jobs they hated for most of their careers, and many are still in jobs they hate because they believe work is something done only to pay the bills. They have bought into the idea that happiness, joy, and leisure come only after the work is done.
Bottom line: The anger coming from the older generations is a sign of their own pain from unsatisfying careers and from having to sacrifice joy in exchange for work.
2. Millennials are not afraid to communicate their need for fulfilling work.
Believe it or not, it's human nature to enjoy work. In fact, distinguished psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says that people are happiest when they are working, not lying on a beach. Csikszentmihalyi says that the best work inspires a state of flow--a feeling of true satisfaction and optimal experience.
Millennials know they can contribute more to their companies if they are enjoying what they do. They are just being human, and this is no different than anyone's career desires at any age. The difference is that this generation is willing to communicate when they aren't in flow or aren't able to get any joy from what they are doing.
Bottom line: The desire to love work is a human inclination. The older generations have learned to suppress this need rather than communicate it. Therefore, they are bitter about their working experiences.
3. The Millennial approach to work complements the rapidly changing business world.
Businesses are now shifting away from command-and-control leadership and moving toward a people-first model. This change is primarily market driven, because to compete and survive in today's economy, businesses need the best ideas--ideas that are brand new. This kind of innovation needs an engaged and motivated work force. Now more than ever, employees must be right for the job and actively thinking about success.
In other words, when your employees are happy and succeed, your business and customers do well as a result. Employers are finally catching on to this connection, and Millennials are more than happy to optimize their work environments and situations to foster new ideas, growth, and holistic success.
Bottom line: The Millennial mindset is just what companies need to catapult to a new level of innovation and greatness.
The world is changing, and what is fine to demand now wasn't the case 20 years ago. Is it really fair to blame the new generations for being themselves and being a key force that is moving businesses to be better places to work? Not at all.
The battle between generations will certainly continue, but my wish is that we stop pointing fingers and that the older generations get on board. People are living longer, and there is enough joy to go around for all. Loving work and having it be aligned with your purpose is truly possible.