There’s no shortage of opinions on millennials.
Some say they are lazy, self-centered and entitled. Others might describe them as free-thinkers, innovators, or givers. There are a lot of reasons for the diversity of these opinions, but the main one is a difference in values that often happens between different generations. According to the Barna Group, “Boomers are more likely than millennials to believe that their career is central to who they are.” This, perhaps, is the key differentiator between the millennial generation and those before them, and may have come from the difficulties millennials experience in a struggling job market. Their career might be a part of their identity, but it does not define who they are. This might be why Millennials lack an eagerness to start their career in their 20s, an idea that might come across as absurd to Baby Boomers.
“Two-thirds of Boomers (64%) say “starting your career” is crucial in your twenties, while only half of Millennials (51%) agree. Nearly three-quarters of Boomers (72%) believe “financial independence” is an important accomplishment in your twenties, while less than two-thirds of Millennials (59%) do.” – Barna Group
There is a disparity in these values; values that Baby Boomers see as essential to adulthood.
So what is important to millennials?
So what is important to millennials? Money put together a list of the things millennials spend their money on, more than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers would. Five of them are: craft beer and spirits, donations at the cash register, energy drinks, tattoos and piercings, and organic food. To most people, this combination of things might seem non-sensical, but it is actually an accurate reflection of the personalities and values of most millennials.
Most millennials have a desire to make an impact on the world around them. This might explain their willingness to make a donation at the cash register, or their tendency to spend a little more on organic food. This desire to make a difference fuels their need to have a career that makes a visible impact on the world. They not only want to feel like they are making a difference in their company and that their ideas are being heard and considered; they also want to know that their work has a greater purpose.
They want to be respected for who they are, not who other people think they should be.
But millennials also want to be unique. They want to be respected for who they are, not who other people think they should be. Maybe this explains their inclination to spend money on tattoos and piercings, to express themselves in an artistic, permanent way. Millennials want respect, but they aren’t willing to change who they are to get it.
What is success?
When it comes right down to it, the millennial generation represents a shift in the definition of success. Before, success might have been defined by personal wealth or status in a company. To millennials, success is having made a difference in the world around them. Whether it is care for the environment or a humanitarian effort, millennials are likely to desire a career where they can influence positive change on some aspect of their world.
Millennials want to matter. They want their career choice to matter, and are not eager to jump into a job that only fulfills their financial need. They are not likely to do anything just because it’s the norm or the culturally accepted action. Millennials are who they are. They aren’t content to go through the motions of life without purpose or direction.
Millennials will change, and are changing the world.