Why Millennials Think Different About Work
I’ve been labeled a Millennial because of the year I was born in, 1982. I’m actually right on the cusp, but choose to call myself a Millennial because I associate more with the new progressive views which are commonly attributed to Millennials.
I really have come to embrace this label, even though it was bestowed upon me by mainstream media which I generally don’t like. Labels are important, and I’m proud of this one, here’s why…
As a Millennial I think differently about how someone should make money. I despise the old-style corporate conglomerates which treat people like disposable assets, thanks President Raegan!
People are a companies most valuable entity. And above I say they have a lease on these assets because people will come and go. More often than not, for my generation, when things aren’t sitting right with us, and our voices aren’t being heard, we go. I recently quit my job where I had reached the top of the corporate ladder and was making over 200K a year. But I quit.
Easily the toughest parts about that decision was the fact that I wouldn’t’ get to see my team every day and remember, people are what matter. I’ll talk more about that decision later, but this is just one example.
Every person that puts in their time in to help your company succeed is invaluable, and you should be grateful they’ve chosen to focus their efforts to benefit you and your company. Cherish them. Cherish their background, diversity, intuition, experience, and creativity. For these are the things that will create innovation and everlasting success for your business. Don’t cherish them and risk losing it all.
Our generation is not lazy. We have realized that our time on this planet is short so it stands to reason that we have little tolerance for spending time at a place that doesn’t value us, listen to us, and give us opportunities to support our family and do our best work. People are not machines and companies that don’t realize this will soon be out of business.
Purpose before Profits
Our generation wants to spend our time and attention on things that matter. If you believe the old adage that the purpose of a company is to increase shareholder value, then you’re going to struggle to attract and retain the best talent. One of the main problems with this idea is that generally, the largest shareholders are the people at the top of the corporate ladder. So another way of saying “increase shareholder value” is “make the CEO richer!”
Not something we get behind…
Instead, Millennials want to be inspired by a cause that is greater than themselves. This is largely why I worked for Mozilla. I believe in what they do and the work I did there was bigger then myself and even if only in a small way, has made the world a better place.
Give us a reason to stay, otherwise, we’ll leave.
You’re Not the Only Game in Town
The last reason I want to mention why we, Millennials, think different about working is that there are far more options to make a living now than before. Unlike the preceding generations, we have this magical new thing called the internet. On the internet, there are dozens of way to make a living which are truly viable.
Some of these ways require sharing what assets you have (eg. Uber, AirBnB) and others involve things like sharing your story (YouTube, Soundcloud). With the number of 1099 tax filings outpacing the growth of W2 filings, the evidence is showing that we are no longer bound by corporate overlords when it comes to earn money.
For others out there, this should come as a relief. You really don’t have to put up with crap at work for very long before you decide to either find a new job where you are appreciated or go on your own doing something you love.
The game has changed. The role of a manager at a corporation is to do everything they can to keep their people from leaving. They should give them challenging tasks, autonomy to make mistakes, fair pay and benefits (think 8wks paternity leave) and they will give you the productivity and edge you need to dominate your market.