I saw a recruitment ad on social media recently, stating in no uncertain terms that lazy, over-entitled British millennials need not apply.
It was unsurprising to see the comments were a torrent of aggrieved and abusive responses from applicants and other businesses alike. Just as I, too, wanted to give all British millennials a sympathetic hug, came up a return volley from an angry millennial.
They responded with an even more vitriolic and vicious diatribe on all previous generations – calling them ignorant, worthless and personally responsible for every wrong in the world today.
This unease between millennials and all who go before them has heated blood on both sides for some years now. However, like it or not, millennials are not only here to stay, but are already dominating our workforces – and will soon be our leaders.
Author and speaker Simon Sinek undoubtedly fanned the flames of the millennial row. He attributes much of their alleged sense of entitlement to parenting. There is much evidence to support this now – evidence showing that the totally well-meaning ideas on confidence boosting, such as rewarding participation rather than achievement, or telling our children they could have anything they want simply be wanting it badly enough, have all indeed backfired.
There is another side to the argument too, as I found out chatting to Jordan Georgiev, who runs a website and blog for entrepreneurs called Never Productive. Jordan is the first to admit some of the failings the millennials are accused of. He told me that he had come out of school smart, but millennially impatient for life’s rewards, ill-tempered and bad at communication. When his first start up went bust, he blamed himself, assuming it was because he was a millennial and therefore it followed that he must indeed be too lazy. Going to work for someone else, his IT skills merited him a senior position, but, he says, his own work behaviour did not. He admits to feeling entitled and not caring enough. It took one more failed start-up of his own to cause him to review and reassess. At that point, Jordan gave up social media, worked on both his social skills and his productivity.
He is a fascinating result of the pros and cons levied of the millennials. Combined with typical technological savvy, he is now creating a success story. He is also living proof that the truth of the wild stories, of the millennial generation, good and bad, lie somewhere in the middle. We need to stop this blanket criticism of the new generation.