Many articles have been written about Millennials and probably none of them have been considered as a just one… It would be a great mistake if anybody tries to describe whole Gen Y as one characteristic cohort, however, I would say that there are 2 main groups among them. I am describing here two main groups of Gen Y, but it is clear that Millennials’ rainbow has many colours. These two groups are the most characteristic and it comes from my professional experience since I have worked with them, trained them, shared my knowledge with them, and often been asked by them to mentor them.
No matter which group we would like to describe as ‘the good one or the bad one’ (and I am far away from judging any of them), both these groups want to change the world for a better one for them.
The first group of them can be perfectly described by a Law&Business student who was financially depended on herself when she said it to me. Here comes something that I heard from my daughter a couple of years ago:
”Now I have been living like a crazy one: I have no time to read anything but books I need to pass my exams. I have no time for searching on the internet for ‘funny’ or ‘lovely’ stuff. I do not attack others who do it and I do not depreciate them, maybe because I simply envy them that they can afford such a non-constructive activity. All I want to say is that all I do has to drive me to my professional future, just because I permanently don’t have time for anything else. If I desire a piece of culture in my present life, I’d rather choose to go to a museum as it gives me two profits: personal – as a piece of culture to enjoy and a professional one, which is so-called ‘bon ton’ in any recruitment interview, as it will prove that I ‘have an idea’ about more stuff than only about professional part of my future life. I’ve been running 3 lives, and also 3 part-time jobs now. If I want to be a Great one I have to dedicate to, or better to say, devote myself to my studies and get my internship in a law company now, coz if I don’t get it, I won’t become a lawyer ever, and I swear there are about 2000 candidates available every year for new 14 vacancies at Law Companies in the UK. I am just about to reach my goal, so everything counts, every-fuc***ing-thing. I listen to the audio of The Economist while I walk or run. I have no time for anything that doesn’t get me closer to my professional goals.”
This is the best example what this group thinks and how they treat their life preparation that has to drive them to get the jobs they want. They believe that only the best ones will have the best jobs. What does ‘the best ones’ mean in their opinion? In their opinion, the best ones are the people who will be best ‘equipped’ to work in the areas they are aiming at, the most flexible and the most adaptive to any circumstances. According to them, the best ones are those who are very clear about what they are able to do, who can fight for what they want to do but with understanding (at least for a specific period of time) their place in a row. Skilled, professionally specialized, happy with all new released digital tools and knowing that all they need to know to be updated with the world around them, they can find in their smartphones.
However, despite being so well-educated, they are scared and afraid. They are afraid that they won’t be allowed to do what they want to do when doing jobs they want so much. They don’t trust anybody who ‘rules’ now. On one side, they are ready to fight till the end to get what they want but on the other side – they reckon that they are like a butterfly in a very strong wind in the present, shaped by Gen X, world. Because, like they say, they are children of parents, who did everything to give them an opened world’s gate but it has appeared that they are not ready to this ‘whole’ world in front of them. They have gotten a key to the gate, the key to education, foreign languages, open borders, digital possibilities, technical solutions, but the key DOES NOT open the gate as easy as they were told it would have opened. They have discovered that education, skills, languages are not the only keys to get what they want to get.
A specific characteristic of this group is kind of self-amputation done to their emotions as a result of being over-intellectualized. They have cut off emotions from their lives because they came up to a realization that being emotionally open causes weakness. They believe that weak people, in today’s fighting world, fighting for a well-paid job, lose. The cutoff, what happened very early in their lives, mainly during their time in high schools or in the beginning of their university lives, gives them illusory belief that they are strong. However, the truth is that as they have cut off their emotions, they aren’t able to train the real emotional strength, which would make them truly strong, stronger than others. They have decided that if they do so, they would be indestructible: if I don’t owe something, it cannot be used against me ever.
They are trapped, thus having no real life’s strength, which can come only from personal experience in facing and coping hard life events, they are losing a vital emotional life training. They are theoretically (as they have read tutorials….) prepared to manage emotional obstacles or problems, but they have no practice. They are not family focused, don’t want to have children or be stuck in a relationship. They don’t build up a relationship; they look for professional connections. They are bitter, cynical, cold, and calculated: every gesture counts, every connection counts.
They intellectualize everything, they are verbally very fluent and intellectually (educationally) prepared. They are go-getters, but they lack empathy. They possibly can guide people they will be managing, but most of them will follow only their own goals. They are like snails in their delicate shells, however, they tend to be like Ninja turtles. Will they be perfect employees? Perfect for whom? Maya Angelou said: “There is nothing quite so tragic as a young cynic because it means that the person has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing”.
The second main group in Millennials Gen is the group of people who, because of what they see in the present world, say a big NO. No to cynism, hypocrisy, materialism, sex without love. They have rid of all their parent’s ‘stuff’ from their lives since they don’t want to fight in the name of getting a well-paid or a secure job position, they don’t want to become a result of digital Darwinism. They want inner balance, they are looking for something that can protect them from taking part in the rat’s race in the nowadays business world. They prefer less, and even less than less, in return for having a job where they can depend on themselves. They are Y-Hippies (or Underground Millennium Gen), they stand for believing in perfect love, relationships lasting forever, they want strong emotions and deep feelings in their lives.
They use the creative imagination, not the synthetic one. While looking for the right place for themselves, they don’t want to sacrifice their dreams in return for well-paid positions in corporations. They are well-educated as well, they know languages, and are able to live in any part of the world, but wherever they go they follow their emotions and dreams. They are very emphatic and for that, they would be able to manage people in the future, however, they are not energetically filled by leadership or competition in any form. However, like the first group, they are scared too. They look at the surrounding world with fear, but as opposed to „the fighting ones”, they admit they are scared. Despite being scared or frightened, they will follow anything they love or deeply believe in. They will be loyal, true-hearted and faithful colleagues, ready for helping and sharing ideas for common profits or a shared-together purpose, but they won’t be doing anything they don’t believe in. They will get involved in something they deeply believe in, and they will be able to struggle for it with all their hearts for everybody involved with them or looped by a situation. But they will go away, quit, leave once they feel betrayed. Will they be perfect employees? If yes, so for whom?
Do employers have a chance to make a good choice in choosing the right ones? Not much. Why? Because most jobs in recruitment agencies have been taken by the first group of Millennials, the very young professionals who, however, still struggle with understanding that professional intelligence has nothing to do with professional wisdom. But this seems to be a different problem that has arisen within the last couple of years though…