millennials are not lazy
Millennials aren't lazy. Are most of us spoiled? Yes, I think so. But for a different reason than most of us think
In contrast to the way the babyboom generation got trapped in endless post-war economic growth that caused a lack of conscious career picking, millennials are confronted with a planet damaged by capitalism (think climate change and a shitload of mid-life crisises). It causes the 'Y generation' to question materialism and to seek real value beyond economics. This in turn results in increased consciousness when career picking. We are the generation that has a deep urge to connect a passion, a deep endless source of internal energy, to an activity that earns money. However, we run into corporate worlds that do not facilitate lengthy self-explorations. For those that decide to give it a go anyway and ignore taking the time to ponder and feel: they feel restless, unmotivated and trapped in old-fashioned organizations. This is why the babyboomers perceive millennials to be lazy. They see us getting lost in our attempts to climb hierarchical ladders that we come to see as hindering organizational innovation and agility. We, unlike our bosses, are not driven by social pressures to outperform others, neither financially nor when it comes to one's perceived success or status. We are driven by a longing to know why. Why am I here? What can I contribute? How can I do that best while not identifying myself with my tasks? And, to speak in popular contemporary jargon, where and how can I have the impact I want to have? In our eyes, the world of corporate monkeys climbing trees of paper money glued together by social expectations and perceived status is in despair, we want to be part of the solution, moreover, we feel like breaking that tree down.
That is why millennials quite their jobs so often, or end up in burn-outs and depressions. They see their job as being too meaningless, their supervisors too self-centered. Staying with the company will suck out their soul. It is merely ego driven.
We follow dreams. But discovering deeply held personal dreams takes effort and time. Here is the lucky catch of our generation, most of us can actually afford taking the time needed. I said millennials are spoiled. This is why. Through the hard work of the babyboom generation, the millennials are able to travel for months searching for their purpose, or sit at home for months pondering the meaning of life. Society has gotten rich enough for a generation to take this precious time.
The result of this shift is all around. The existential-life-crises phase is shifting to younger and younger age groups. We are shifting from mid-life crises to quarter-life crises. I see babyboomers end up in a crisis at the end of their career, they look back and realize they've always worked for others instead of following personal passions. At the same time I see millennials struggle in their first jobs, feeling restless and uncomfortable, to end up home with a burn-out.
The biggest point I want to make is that this is fantastic news. Besides meaning that the millennials will actually make sure we don't destroy the planet because they have build sufficient consciousness to realize this is an actual threat, it means that so much more potential is unlocked. Just imagine the gain for the world when a millennial burns out, takes time to find a true passion, and pursues a enlightened career, compared to sticking to the job only to become a dehumanized desk-zombie.
So if you're a millennial in a crisis: congratulations! You've made it out in time. Now the art is to not blame yourself. Just learn yourself techniques to dig into your passion, read my post on how I did that or just ride a bicycle around the world.
If you are a millennial secretly knowing you hate your job: believe me, there is no shame in quitting. At least I'll be applauding you. Everyone you fear will drop you because you're not meeting their expectations: screw them, they are not real buddies (and yes, this most likely is highly painful because they most likely include your parents too). It is now that you have a choice: will you work for someone else the rest of your life? Or will you work for yourself?
If you are a babyboomer that is fed up with lazy burned-out millennials in your company? Blame yourself. Your company is probably not adding much of value to society or at least doesn't understand us correctly. Change it and millennials will likely find purpose in your firm. Stick with current strategy and become useless anyway. For most of you brokers, accountancies, or law firms, don't bother: AI will take over anyway.
I do realize this piece is extremely opinionized and very, very generalizing for larges groups of people. Secretly, and as always, it is a lot more about myself than the words I used suggest. Please realize that, or just be offended anyway. If you are offended though: remember that anger is fear in disguise.