The 5 Most Destructive Millennial Myths Debunked by Data

Posted by: T-BIRD, RICHIE NORTON '13 on Thursday, October 12, 2017

 

The 5 Most Destructive Millennial Myths Debunked by Data

 

"My generation sucks.”

“Embarrassing to be apart of the “handout” generation offended by everything.”

"I’m a millennial and I’m NOT proud.”

“I hate my generation.”

This is how you feel about yourself when you’ve been told for the past 15 years how bad you are at life.

This would be comical if people didn’t actually believe it. But since they do, it’s rather disturbing. And easy to see for yourself. Here is what comes up when the phrase “Millennials are..” is googled.

THE DESTRUCTIVE MILLENNIAL MYTH NARRATIVE

Most researchers argue that Millennials are born between 1980 and 1996. Yet, the Pew Research Center, perhaps the most authoritative perspective, puts Millennials between 1977 and 1992. With it being 2017 now, there are 40 year-old Millennials. A group of men and women nearing their middle ages, and this group continues to be referred to as entitled, worthless, killing industries, and many more.

 

A myth has been spread by gurus and accepted by the masses. This myth has struck a nerve among many of those who complain about Millennial generation which goes something like this: Millennials are unmanageable in corporations because they are impatient, lazy and entitled as a result of bad parenting, addiction to cellphones and Facebook depression. However, it’s not the Millennials fault. and the solution is for corporations to parent Millennials by adding “parenting” as a bullet point to the corporate responsibility charter. This solution requires corporations to hire a new age management consultant to teach middle managers how to parent new hirelings.”

 

The question is, do you accept this myth?

THE MILLENNIALS’ NEW CLOTHES: DEBUNKING 5 MILLENNIAL MYTHS

Everyone on their cellphones circa 1950.

MYTH: MILLENNIALS ARE THE “ME GENERATION.”
FACT: BOOMERS STARTED THE “ME GENERATION” TREND, MILLENNIALS ARE A RESULT

The Boomers can be considered the first “Me Generation” and 
every generation after is also the “Me Generation.” 

(Source of Collage Unknown. Real Magazine Covers.)

MYTH: MILLENNIALS DON’T KNOW HOW TO WORK.
FACT: MILLENNIALS DO KNOW HOW TO WORK

“The finding that generational differences in the Protestant work ethic do not exist suggests that organizational initiatives aimed at changing talent management strategies and targeting them for the ‘very different’ millennial generation may be unwarranted and not a value added activity,” Zabel said in a news release. “Human resource-related organizational interventions aimed at building 21st century skills should therefore not be concerned with generational differences in Protestant work ethic as part of the intervention” (The Journal of Business and Psychology).

MYTH: MILLENNIALS ARE LAZY.
FACT: MILLENNIALS RATE AS HIGHLY COMPETITIVE IN POLLING 

“CEB, a consulting firm, polls 90,000 American employees each quarter. It finds that the millennials among them are in fact the most competitive: 59% of them, in the latest poll, said competition is “what gets them up in the morning”, compared with 50% of baby-boomers. Some 58% of millennials said they compare their performance with their peers’, as against 48% for other generations” (The Economist).

MYTH: CORPORATIONS DON’T NEED MILLENNIALS, BUT MILLENNIALS NEED CORPORATIONS (BOTH FOR WORK AND PARENTING)
FACT: CORPORATIONS NEED WORK FROM MILLENNIALS, BUT MILLENNIALS HAVE A CHOICE TO WORK FOR CORPORATIONS OR THEMSELVES.

Millennials believe (or know) they can make money online, work anywhere and on their own time. Corporations need to remember that “she who cares less wins.” The people who care less tend to have options. Millennials have options for work, corporations don’t have options for labor…unless they choose artificial intelligence.

99.7% of all businesses in the USA are small businesses (defined as 500 employees or less).


MYTH: MILLENNIALS DON’T VALUE SECURITY OR PRESTIGE LIKE PREVIOUS GENERATIONS.
FACT: MILLENNIALS VALUE SECURITY AND PRESTIGE LIKE PREVIOUS GENERATIONS, BUT DON’T FIND IT IN 401(K)S AND TITLES.

Millennials saw what happened to their parents and grandparents jobs, income and retirement accounts. A Gen Y told me recently that he doesn’t “trust” 401(k)s. Why would he?Millennials tend to value 1) paid time off (PTO), 2) freedom and flexibility anchored by a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), and 3) location autonomy…over 401(k)s and titles.


BONUS MYTH: MILLENNIALS ARE FINANCIALLY ILLITERATE.
FACT: MILLENNIALS ARE FINANCIALLY LITERATE.

One of the biggest myths about Millennials is that they are financially illiterate and will have not be able to retire (in a time when there may not be social security available).

Let’s see what Dave Ramsey has to say about Millennials and saving for retirement. Dave is widely considered by millions to be America’s most trusted financial advisor:  Ramsey Solutions commissioned a 2016 survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults to evaluate the state of retirement in America. In the first of a four-part series based on results from the survey, 38% of Millennials reported they already know how much money they’ll need to retire — essentially the same as Baby Boomers, 37%, and Generation X, 36%.”

“Even though Millennials have had less than 20 years to build their retirement wealth, they are not that far behind many of those who are closest to retirement. Nearly 60% of Millennials have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, but roughly half of Baby Boomers are in the same boat, despite the fact that this generation has had as much as half a century to save for their retirement.”

PARTING THOUGHTS

Imagine the caveman who invented the wheel claiming his kids and grandkids are lazy and entitled because they ride bikes. Imagine the caveman who harnessed fire to cook meat claiming his kids are wimps because they don’t eat raw meat.

 

Imagine a kid back in the day being asked by his dad to stand up from the couch and go change the channel on the TV by turning the dial. Then, imagine this same kid growing up and becoming a dad himself. Imagine this dad has a remote control in his hand. The dad asks his kid to get up off the couch and change the channel on the TV. His son says, “Dad, you have a remote control in your hand. You can just change the channel by clicking that button.”

 

The dad looks at his son and instead of saying “thanks!” and changing the channel, he sets the remote down and gives him a lesson on talking back, the value of hard work and then calls him a name and forces him to get up and turn the dial on the TV. The only problem for the son is that…there is no dial on the TV anymore. That’s what is happening in our workplace today. THIS is the conflict. The youth aren’t lazy, they’ve been given technology by previous generations and they know how to leverage it.

MY PREDICTION?

Anything that can be done by a machine, will be done by a machine. Work will change to things that can’t be done by machines. The same way you choose to spend your time on work other than washing your clothes by hand (like they still do in certain parts of Brazil where I used to live), the future of work will allow you to spend your time leveraging time doing work machines don’t do.

Millennials will enter an era of leveraging the new rules and tools of work afforded them by tech. They have access to knowledge at a level unseen by any generation. A similar thing happened to the world and with a disintegration of power from the top with the invent of the printing press. It’s a good thing. It’s called transparency, trust, freedom and independence. Sort of sounds similar to principles for which the founding fathers of the USA gave their lives.

Further, from a Thunderbird perspective. Millennials are running the world’s companies, and more and more, running our small businesses. With one search on Google you’ll be able to find sites like Upwork and a freelancer to do all the heavy lifting you need to run much of your business. Chances are it will be a Millennial that will be the one making your business dreams come true. Embrace the Millennials. Our future is at stake.

CALL TO ACTION

If you’re a millennial and are ready to live your dreams, download my 9-page Millennial Checklist (power sheet). Never believe the notion that you are entitled again. Agree or Disagree?

Please comment with your experience. If you picked 10 of your Millennial friends in your neighborhood, would the majority of them fit the “Millennial Myth” as lazy and entitled? I'm curious.

 

About the Author

Richie Norton '13 is the bestselling author of The Power of Starting Something Stupid and Résumés Are Dead and What to Do About It. He is an international speaker, business development consultant & serial entrepreneur. He is the Founder of Global Consulting Circle, specializing in creating/scaling business models for venture-backed startups. He is also the Co-Founder of Prouduct—helping entrepreneurs turn their ideas into profitable products through sourcing in China. He received his MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

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