They don’t have a strong work ethic, these reports say. They’re not motivated and don’t take the initiative. They’re undependable and not committed to their employers. They need constant affirmation and expect rapid advancement.

So the conversation on Millennials rages on! I wanted to plug a recent article sent to me by my friend Dave V. If you ever listen to Kai Ryssdal, he’s the host of a great program on NPR. Recently Mitchell Hartman wrote the recent article entitled: “Millennials at work: Young and callow, like their parents“.

The article has many of the regular complaints of Millennials, that they are lazy, don’t have a good work ethic, and that everyone including Millennials believe it. As they report:

The Pew Research Center found that more than half of college presidents thought today’s students were less prepared, and studied less, than  students did a decade ago.

This really… really bothered me. I think this should bother everyone, especially with the recent news about the UNC scandal happening with the faux classes giving credit for student athletes.

My take, is that these presidents of colleges, who’s JOB it is to prepare students for the real world, believe that today’s students are less prepared than those of 10 years ago is a big joke to me. They are blaming the students… and accuse the students of being the ones who are taking the easy way out. Perhaps these administrators should step up and make some changes and not choose the easy way out. Blaming the Millennials for the lowering of standards is not their fault… but the fault of those that are letting the standards fall. The professors, the administrators, the colleges themselves are the ones who have turned to focus on profit over education, as demonstrated by UNC.

It can’t all be their fault as there are definitely others to share blame, but college is a huge complaint for me because it’s been touted as the ONLY way to get a decent job. Many of us have come to realize it’s not the ONLY way, but many only learn that after going through and getting degrees that end up in some ways hurting your chances of landing a job… or perpetuate the idea that a single degree isn’t enough. Millennials are, statistically speaking, the MOST educated generation ever, but it’s come at a great cost. Student debt has caused people to put off moving out, getting married, buying homes, etc. Then for many of us, we’re told “Hey great job, here’s your degree, now start your entry-level job with your $20K of debt.” It’s understandable why it’s too much for some.

Perhaps we’re too late for the Millennials, but maybe not. It’s possible we can (like the Marketplace article), pivot the conversation towards how Millennials can help companies. They WANT to help, they WANT to learn, they WANT to move ahead in life… but not in the same way our parents have in the past. So the conversation has to change.

The Marketplace article goes on to say:

Professor Cappelli said that young peoples’ attitudes toward work and career had not changed significantly since the baby boomers came of age in the 1960s. ‘There’s no evidence millennials are different,’ he said. ‘They’re just younger.’

And so maybe this conversations targeting Millennials is just Boomer angst. Boomer angst against change, against giving up the reigns to someone who won’t perpetuate the status quo, someone who won’t quietly do as told, and that has to scare people.

Things are going to change, and people, especially Boomers need to get used to it and move on. Maybe if we stop concentrating on what Millennial’s weaknesses are, we can start focusing on what their strengths are that differ from the past generations. One thing is for sure, they are better at collaboration and fully utilizing technology than ever before.


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