You may have seen a video recently circulating the internet. Simon Sinek, an intellectual British/American author, speaker and consultant, sits down to discuss working with Millennials.
This talk had many valid points, but what I couldn’t help but think throughout the entire 15 minute video is why do older generations think Millennials are such a complex mystery?
As a Millennial in the workplace, I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of the stereotypical Millennial that Sinek was describing.
Do I make my superiors stand by in wonder? Do they scratch their heads at my behavior and wonder what kind of world in which I was raised? Is my workplace behavior unacceptable?
I would like to think not. However, judging by the number of people who shared the post on Facebook and applauded the points made, somewhere people are not understanding Millennials and how we function.
So, I’m going to attempt to explain how I think about some of the things that were discussed in the video.
One thing that stuck out to me was when Sinek said that Millennials were “dealt a bad hand” in the parental department.
This statement couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to my parents. However, I know people my age whose parents have severely handicapped them by enabling and making excuses for them their whole lives.
In the cases I know, 90 percent of the time it is out of love that parents have done this to their child. They truly don’t seem to realize that what they are doing will, in the long run, hurt rather than push their child towards success.
I still have a really hard time saying this is 100 percent the parent’s fault. The Lord created us all with the ability to make our own decisions, good or bad.
I know many people who were truly dealt a bad hand in the parental department in the way that their parents had substance abuse problems, or just were never there.
Those same people have become incredibly successful, sometimes in spite of their parents. So, am I supposed to believe that a child who has been loved TOO much, is not at fault for how they act as an adult?
Looking back at my childhood, I remember a verse my mother used to quote whenever I would begrudgingly do a chore or not do a chore that I was told.
“…The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10).
That is how I was raised, and I will forever be incredibly grateful that my parents chose to instill Scripture into me throughout my life.
But what about the Millennial who is continuously on their phone and seems like they would rather be anywhere else? I have a couple of suggestions:
1. Don’t look at them as if they are some mysterious being. Remember when you were young? Yes, times are incredibly different, but the overall makeup of a 20-something is still the same, if you ask me. Try to be understanding; most of us are just trying to figure out being a “grown-up.”
2. Choose to find a common ground. Of course, you will have many differences, perhaps too many to count. One thing you can do is try to find something you have in common and go from there with a colleague relationship. You might be surprised at how much you have in common.
3. 1 Tim. 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” Don’t be the one who’s looking down on someone younger. It can be hard; I know this. I am only 24, and thoughts like these have crossed my mind about those younger than I. DON’T DO IT!
I hope this helps tackle some of the mystery that are Millennials. I challenge you to not let the age of a younger co-worker make you think of or treat them differently.
Be gracious, be kind and love others and let age just be a number. Could that be the most Millennial thing I’ve said all day? Most likely, but I stand by it.