It seems everyone is talking about millennials: the apparently selfie-taking, narcissistic, wandering, lazy generation that was born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s. The data cannot come out fast enough about what millennials are doing and thinking and what they should be doing.
It seems that millennials are the dork on the playground that everyone wants to pick on - hard to ignore but not really someone you'd want to hang with. Or hire.
This is garbage.
I have news for the world: millennials will soon run the world. Case in point:
- Mark Zuckerberg - founded Facebook
- Kevin Systrom - founded Instagram
- Anthony Casalena - founded Squarespace
Captain Obvious would say that, yes, of course millennials will run the world as they come of age to run the world. But that's not what I mean.
There are certainly millennials out there that are lazy and take too many selfies and lack direction. I was just at the auto shop getting the oil changed on Lindsay's car and there was a young man in the waiting room with me hunched over his phone for 20 minutes straight. Millennials are ringers in a way - the world won't see them coming. Their posture is horrible.
The strength of the millennial generation lies in their lack of assumptions about the world. Bucking tradition and the old notion of accumulating as much money as possible for its own sake, many millennials are digging deep to look at the meaning behind work and life in general. (There are greedy millennials just like any other generation, but since we are dealing in glaring stereotypes I don't think this stereotype quite fits them.)
Millennials need what we all need: a purpose in their vocation. Unlike the Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, and Gen X, millennials do not seem prone to work for the sake of working. Aiming the existential angst of millennials at a noble purpose will, I believe, unleash powerful potential for eternally significant work.
Millennials just want to know why.
From my personal experience, millennials do need to learn something about hard work. There is no denying that, as a whole, this is an issue with this generation. I hope that millennials also learn that they may need to create their own job by starting a business or creating something new and that to sit around idle while complaining about the lack of jobs is like standing gape-mouthed in front of a soccer ball and wondering why it isn't moving. Go make something happen.
Regardless of what you think of them, millennial entrepreneurs and thought leaders are shaping the rapidly changing social and economic climate of the U.S. They are creative and tech savvy and are currently building things that we can hardly conceive of. Through their innovation, the world will change.
But what do I know? I am one of "them."
Photo credit: Christophe Pelletier via Flickr