Millennial Mythbusters: Decoding the Generation

Posted by Deltek Partner Guest Blog on July 16, 2018

The Millennial Generation – Who Are They?

by Madalyn Hernandez, Brilliant HR Director of Marketing, Deltek Partner

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The Millennial Generation – Who Are They?

There is no generation in history that is analyzed and dissected as much as the Millennial Generation. As a Millennial myself, a quote from the 2004 pop culture phenomenon “Mean Girls” describes how we feel about all the attention:

“I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me... but I can't help it that I'm so popular.” – Gretchen Wieners

Millennials do get a lot of attention. The good, the bad, and the ugly, we have heard it all. We have mastered the art of the “selfie” and have our own color, Millennial Pink. We have an acronym for everything. We don’t know how to write in complete sentences because we text and tweet. We watch too much reality TV and don’t read enough books. We drink more coffee and wine than any other generation. We were raised to feel special no matter what and everyone got a participation trophy. Millennials want it all, and we want it delivered.

All jokes aside, millennials are adding value to organizations and the world in their own way. In this blog we will explore some of the common myths surrounding them.  

MYTH: Millennials are unsatisfied with work and tend to bounce from job to job

MYTHBUSTED: Millennials are looking for professional development, advancement opportunities, strong guidance from mentors, frequent feedback, updated technology, and support for work-life integration. If asked to choose between two similar jobs, nearly 60 percent of Millennials would pick the job with strong potential for professional development over one with regular pay raises, according to a study from EdAssist.

MYTH: Millennials expect to graduate college and be handed success on a silver platter

MYTHBUSTED: In a survey by Bentley University, only 13 percent of respondents said their career goal involves climbing the corporate ladder to become a CEO or president. By contrast, almost two-thirds (67%) said their goal involves starting their own business. Millennials are the true entrepreneurial generation. Instead of a 9-5, they prefer alternative work styles and, in some cases, multiple streams of income from several side “gigs.” Recently more millennials are starting blogs, creating apps, and becoming thought leaders and social influencers on different topics and niches than their “main job.” They are willing to work hard for the work-life balance and financial freedom they crave.

MYTH: Millennials lack a strong work ethic

MYTHBUSTED: Because most Millennials have grown up with technology, they can work smarter, not harder, than any generation before. The Bentley survey found 77% of millennials believe flexible work hours are important to boosting productivity and 39% agreed that more options to work remotely would result in higher productivity. There is no denying the fact that millennials are always “on” – sometimes up to 18 hours a day interacting with media. Having the ability to work wherever and whenever is a definite positive in more ways than one.

MYTH: Millennials are the “ME" Generation— selfish and narcissistic

MYTHBUSTED: Millennials are motivated, goal-oriented, and confident in themselves and the future. They are assertive and more accepting of differences between people, beliefs, and cultures. They love to share all parts of their lives and feel part of a community.  Emma Gannon—author of The Multi-Hyphen Method, says that because millennials grew up online, “we're a generation that taught ourselves digital skills and shortcuts during our teenage years.” She explains that when this is transitioned to a workplace scenario and a Millennial becomes stuck in a rigid environment in a corporation that’s been doing it the same way for 50 years, they want to find new and better ways of doing things. This “wanting to share” and offer a new perspective on things can be misconstrued as entitlement if it is coming as an unprompted comment.

Parting Thoughts

So how can Millennials prove the stereotypes wrong in the workplace? Continue using your confidence and skills to propel new ideas and foster creativity in your organization. Challenge the status quo but do so with the upmost of humility and kindness. Remember that every experience, mistake and success will make you a better leader in the future. If you feel stuck in your current position, don’t immediately leave, instead ask for more responsibility and show you can manage it. Ask for one day a month where you can work remotely and validate to management that an alternative or flexible work schedule can benefit you. As Millennials become the dominating generation in the office, spend less time worrying about the labels and more time demonstrating why you are different.  

About the Author

Madalyn Hernandez is Marketing Director of Brilliant HR, a Deltek Premier Partner. With 5 years of growing HR and talent management technology business in various industries and regions, she specializes in social media, content creation and graphic design. Follow Brilliant HR on Twitter at @BrilliantHR.