The Globe and Mail’s Careers section recently featured a piece by Nicole Gallucci entitled, “Five things I learned from millennials” that warrants a closer look. While acknowledging the level of comfort millennials have with technology and their forthrightness in insisting on authenticity and integrity in friendships, Gallucci’s entitlement versus enlightenment debate leans heavily towards enlightenment and I don’t entirely agree. Let’s take a closer look at her five items:
- When in doubt, Google it: No problem here. But it isn’t unique to millennials as Boomers do the same thing. How many times have we been having dinner with friends when no one can think of the name of who sang For What it’s Worth, a.k.a. Something’s Happening Here (it’s Buffalo Springfield). We’ve seriously taken Einstein’s advice to heart and are not cluttering our brains with something that can be found on Google.
- Seize the moment:Cell/smart phones are a miracle embraced by Millennials—invented by Boomers. Enough said.
- There’s no excuse for not connecting: Social media is embedded. Millennials may have mastered this but Boomers are running neck and neck. Thanks to Facebook and Linked-In we’ve been able to reconnect with old friends from forty years ago and we love it.
- Call it as you see it: Can’t argue with this one. The importance of authenticity and integrity in friendships is undeniable and I’ll give Millennials this one. Boomers were more accepting of everyone until their merit was proven otherwise. Sometimes it took several years or decades but we’re finally shedding those friends who suck the life out us in various negative ways.
Do what you love or don’t complain: Gallucci claims Millennials are committed to truly living their passion and purpose unlike earlier generations. Millennials make life good every day—they don’t settle. Well, bless my soul. Who wouldn’t be able to live their passion and purpose when their Boomer parents are emotionally and financially subsidizing these passions every step of the way, kissing boo-boos and bankrolling money management incompetence. We never had that option. We finished school; we left home and got a job. There was no time for trying things out while living in our parents’ basement while we “found ourselves” and grew up. Quit whining; get your ass out there and support yourself was the degree of support we got from parents who’d lived through the Depression. I think it’s naïve and misleading to suggest we can all do what we love. I firmly believe that true success flows from being “hungry” at some point along the way. It’s character-building when you’re forced to become resourceful on your own merits .
There are a lot of Millennials who are great, hard-working young people. But let’s face it; they started from a much higher rung than Boomers who started off much higher than our parents, The Greatest Generation. Sorry Ms. Gallucci. While you might see Millennials as enlightened rather than entitled, you’re viewing them from a position of social and economic advantage that is not universal. Enjoy your Eat, Pray, Love sabbatical. It’s a luxury most people will never enjoy.
For further insights into the Boomer perspective on business, fashion, mind and body, book and movie reviews, order my book, BOOMERBROADcast. It makes a great hostess or birthday gift as well as just a fun read.