Will the real millennial please stand up?
During the workshop we delivered in Paris earlier this month on millennials as colleagues and members, we realised for some people it is not yet about ‘how best to deal with younger colleagues in the workplace’ but more about ‘why should we care’.
We had skipped a step in our thinking. Because we know so many millennial colleagues - so many talented, value-adding, clever millennial colleagues - we had forgotten that some of our participants might not know ‘who the true millennial’ is and why they even matter. This post is about what we feel is behind workshop remarks like this:
‘’Millennials are overrated!’’
‘’Why do millennials think they are so different?’’
‘’What about millennials adapting to our heritage?
‘’Youth vs. Wisdom’’
We are here, and we are here to stay.
As Grainne discussed in her blog post about meeting millennial stereotypes, millennials make up a significant part of the workforce, of our audience and of our members. This percentage will only grow in the coming years, and the next generations are already beginning to enter the workplace. Not caring about incorporating the millennials within your organisation is not only unsocial, but plainly bad for business.
‘’Everybody has been a millennial at some stage in their career’’ Inés said during our Paris adventure. Putting the exact generational definition aside, being young, determined and at the starting years of your career is something everybody will experience, or has experienced. What we think is the main difference between our generation and some more seasoned generations is the environment we grew up in; this fast paced, fast changing, digitally-oriented world. A vast number of articles published are about the ‘alien race of millennials’, most of which I feel are without nuance or written by somebody who frankly, doesn’t have a clue.
We are not that different, we are not that unique, we do not come from outer space – it’s just that the framework in which we view the world might be different from yours, if you have celebrated a few more birthdays than the average millennial. With this network and this blog we hope to counter some of the poorly researched articles, and show our viewpoint; giving you a view through our glasses to show how we see the world and this wonderful industry we have the pleasure of working in.
There is a fear of losing experience, heritage and wisdom by empowering younger generations in the workplace. Not at all unreasonable, as these are very important elements in order to be successful in any industry. However, all of these three things come to a person only in one way; being involved in what actually matters. Experiencing tradeshow and client meetings, having true responsibilities, and yes - making mistakes. If ‘the wise’ keep us knocking on the boardroom doors, rather than having us sit in the meetings – there will always be a dichotomy between youth and wisdom.
The next generation is already entering the workforce. Soon, we might be looking through the glasses of our senior colleagues, and feel like Generation Z and younger are total aliens. In all honesty, I know I have already felt this looking at my younger sisters. (They are always on their phone..;)
One of the main take-a-ways, I hope that all attendees of our session in Paris, and I hope for you (our dear reader of any age) is to keep an open mind. To dare and talk to each other about preferences and difficulties – have actual honest and open conversations that cross company-hierarchy. Try and swap ‘glasses’ from time to time with your colleagues. This will take time, energy and might be uncomfortable – but trust me, it’s worth it. Who has ever become worse from widening their understanding of the world, their industry, their place of work?
Are you ready? We are!