Not buying into the intergenerational stereotypes.

Okay, if you’ve been here before you know I love to think about different ideas that come together and alter my view on the world.  I especially love it when they take convoluted paths in order to get to me.  It happens more than I generally like to admit, and when I come up with a groundbreaking idea, I love to share it.

I’ve enjoyed reading Larry Dignan over the years.  I don’t always agree, but he generally sends me down interesting routes.  One of the tweets he sent out yesterday was, “You’re probably making awful assumptions about Millennials in your workplace.“  For the record, I’m following Andrew Nusca now, it’s a very smart read I recommend checking out.

As a solid, stereotypical, nerdy Gen-Xer I’m always up for a good laugh at generational politics.  Except I wasn’t laughing.  Just looking at the survey:

According to 6,000 job seekers and HR professionals surveyed by the company:

  •     In response to the question, “Are Millennials tech-savvy?”, 86 percent of HR pros said yes, but just 35 percent of Millennials answered in the affirmative.
  •     In response to the question, “Are Millennials team players?”, just 22 percent of HR pros said yes, but 60 percent of Millennials said the same.
  •     In response to the question, “Are Millennials hard workers?”, just 11 percent of HR pros said yes. On the other hand, 86 percent of Millennials said yes.
  •     In response to the question, “Are Millennials able to lead?”, just nine percent of HR pros said yes, but 40 percent of Millennials identified themselves as leaders.
  •     And finally, in response to the question, “Are Millennials loyal to employers?”, an astounding one percent of HR pros thought that they were, while 82 percent of Millennials said they were.

First, I’m not one given to generalize.  I know people are individuals and I hate tarring anyone with the same brush.  However, I though of my answers to the survey.

I’m extremely tech savvy, so I consider Millenials generally above average, but it’s not a given.  I think most people are too harsh when they rank themselves on how tech savvy they are.  I firmly say yes to Millenials being team players and hard workers.  As to leadership qualities, my mind instantly goes to Millenials I know on twitter - or “those kids” as I like to call them.  Might not be a fair sampling, but it’s those folks on twitter that I often consider great leaders that I admire even now.  Hell yes, they aren’t just leaders but they represent a great hope for our future.  I’m thinking those HR Pros need to meet my friends.  Loyal to employers?  From my track record loyalty ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  Having said that, I want to put my best forward each and every day, I want to learn something more each and every day, I want to do some good each and every day.  I see the exact same traits in many of the Millenials I know personally.  Often they’re just trying to find a way to make their own positive impact.

It felt discordant and kind of strange to me.  Not too much further up my feed one of those Millenials that I admire tweeted this out: That F*ckin Moment in Your Early Twenties

It kind of confirmed to me what I was thinking.  First off, saying “Fcking just isn’t noteworthy any more.  To me it means there is a new, more honest mindset that we don’t have to feign shock when someone drops an F-bomb.  Second it tells a story of folks trying to establish themselves, trying to make that positive impact on the world and finding their way through the same narrows I once traversed.

Those are the Millenials that I know.  Those are my friends, my companions, my colleagues and sometimes, yes, my leaders.

Mom once said that she had friends of all ages.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, it matters who you are.  I think today I understand her a little bit more, and I’m convinced more than ever:  We are, collectively, getting better.  Ultimately it comes down to all of us bringing forward our best effort and making a positive impact.

If you doubt there are some great Millenials out there, I can introduce you to a whole bunch of them.