Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and an expert in the study of Millennials/Gen Y,commented in this article “Gen Y has “…unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.” He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”
The glowing positivity heaped upon some young children when they experience absolute failures in sports and school is incredible. These kids know no other reaction to their blunders than empty,undeserved praise.
I have heard undergrad students at my school crying like little toddlers over failing a class, blubbering one of many versions of “I showed up.I turned in my assignments. Why did I get a D?”
In reality, these wimps are the exceptions, the softest of the bunch, the most coddled butterballs. The generation behind Gen Y has to understand that there are millions of smart, confident, secure young people who are ready,willing and able to innovate at your workplace. To dismiss them all as victims of smothering parental support would be to forget that things are different now.
They roll differently than older folks did. This is a new generation. Just because they don’t talk on the phone much doesn’t mean they don’t know how to communicate. Just because they’re not particularly loyal doesn’t mean they don’t want to do well. They understand better than most the transactional relationship they have with their employers is a temporary one.
And by the way – many Millennials are managers who might be thinking of hiring an “older” person.
I talk and text with Millennials every day; it’s part of my job. The helicoptered students are there, yes, but the optimism and grit most have is incredible. They know one thing Boomers know; there is no security anymore. Gen Y people are in a different place with this, though – they are excelling at being good at something as opposed to waiting for the security blanket that will never arrive.
They care about quality. They care about goals. They feel a responsibility to service.
I am feeling pretty great about this generation, these 80 million culturally chill, environmentally sensitive, independent citizens who aren’t trying to live the American dream but attempting to live out their dreams!
I’m cheering them on.
John Scott is a media studies instructor and the career services manager at the School of Multimedia Communications, Academy of Art University San Francisco. John’s book “Destination: Reinvention” is on sale in the Amazon bookstore. The hardcover edition is at Lulu. Audiobook available on Audible and iTunes. Follow John on Twitter @ johnscottsf.