Apparently, Millennials Don’t Like Older People

The generation of Americans who have never known anything but a Web 2.0 world don’t seem to care much about their elders.

Check out this article in Bloomberg about the misery of mentoring Millenials in the workplace.

Bloomberg magazine link
Image: Businessweek

Millenials are fascinating humans. I work with 900 of them every day – they are our university’s students – so I feel mildly qualified to weigh in on this issue.

There are several things about the majority of them that we know to be true:

  • they do not read, they skim
  • critical thinking is replaced by apps and search
  • 92% use a video-sharing service daily
  • they are informal in their communication and in their behavior
  • they don’t know crap about social media. They say they do, but they don’t.

The Bloomberg article suggested that when it comes to mentoring relationships, Millenials prefer the social approach; the one-on-one method makes them uncomfortable.

I am in agreement with them in that regard; I wrote this post a while ago about personal/professional networking as a team sport. I don’t think one can receive the most support from just one person. It’s great to sift through multiple angles from a diverse group of people.

But Millenials tend to disrespect the geezers in their midst. Their laissez-faire approach when it comes to more experienced colleagues is likely bred from a steady media diet of content like reality TV. There’s no story, no arc. It’s a flash of light, a quick burn. The participants maneuver and scheme to win a game – the fame game. Things don’t develop. There’s no nuance; that would take too long (see above fact about their skimming). There’s no “wait until the next episode” patience.

At work, they feel like they are ready to run the company now, not later. They are all-in from day one. Working your way up seems old-school. They want it all now. I suspect the origins of this entitlement behavior could be those trophies and pizza parties for suburban soccer teams who finished in eighth place in an eight-team tournament. Showing up seems to be enough to get the rewards. Thanks a lot, helicopter parents. Now they’re my problem.

There are a million exceptions, of course. I have tremendous relationships with many of my students here; I’m thrilled to offer them some career guidance, and I am always the first to recommend they create a diverse reciprocal network of professionals in their chosen fields.

Call me old and ancient, but I will never say it’s okay to send a direct tweet to a prospective employer that says

Ive heard a lot about ur company

You sound like an idiot. You just do.


Picture of John ScottJohn Scott is the career services manager and an instructor in the School of Multimedia Communications, Academy of Art University, San Francisco. His new book, “Destination:Reinvention” is now available in the Amazon bookstore

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