Being born on the cusp of the Gen-Y revolution, I’ve always assumed that my pattern of behaviors leads me to act more Gen-X. I’m boring, I don’t care if the org is hierarchical or not (because eventually I’ll work my way to the place where I’m happiest), as long as it’s flexible. I don’t need everything to have meaning, sometimes I just want to do the thing, you know? Not save kittens from burning buildings, just working in my little excel spreadsheet world running events and hopefully not paying too much liability insurance for the fire-eater. I paid for my own college, worked my way up and only bitched minimally because of course I had to do the grunt work, who else was going to do it? My parents weren’t helicopters and as the oldest of four, an attitude of entitlement wouldn’t get me very far, cause somebody in the family would knock my ‘tude back to earth quickly.
But unexpectedly, my millennial creeps out, like the Hard Rock Cafe tattoo ads highlight, with that knowing arrow pointed at my head and me saying (usually out loud in a room full of people older than me) “Oops, my millennial is showing” like I have to apologize for it or something. And then someone sent me this article: 10 Millennial Traits that HR Directors Can’t Ignore.
And I have to admit, that me is being me is mostly millennial.
But only kind of, because I do like change, and I am tech savvy, and why wouldn’t you be a life-longer learner? I disagree we all want recognition (because I’d much rather be Leo or Josh than President Bartlett) or crave constant feedback, because frankly who has the time for those kinds of ongoing soul-searching conversations? Let’s stick to quarterly reviews please. But I do want my work place to be social and fun, if only because sometimes you need Dance Dance Revolution or that glass of wine after someone’s agent tells you what the true cost of trading free really amounts to.
Also because I work so much that my only other choice for friends are the other mommies at preschool. Which, hmmm, maybe but maybe not, you know what I mean?
I have this group of friends who are about five to seven years older than me. When I think of the saying, “You be you, girl” they always come to mind. The other saying is that they are just completely out of “#%^$!” to give. #ForRealNowYall. They started their own businesses (speaking agency, professional speaker, and actor) when people said they wouldn’t succeed; they drink champagne sometimes in the middle of the day; they choose to use the language they want to use in the social settings they get to be in. And they continue to raise their children, live their lives, pay their taxes, and be amazing, productive adults. They’re almost stereotypically Gen-X and NO ONE EVER SAYS ANYTHING.
I have another set of friends that are Boomer-Tastic, in all shapes and forms, right down to the red hats, love of values and tradition, and a nostalgia for the good ole days. Again, most of these folks don’t get identified (except by the HR professionals who are usually in the middle of the silly arguments between the Boomer managers and the rest of the generations).
All of these ladies and gentleman get more comments on the fact that they just live their lives as they want rather that being niched in to a generation, which makes me wonder why we can’t have more of that for the Millennials.
So, let’s make each other a promise, shall we? We promise to keep on keeping on and trying not to be annoying to you wise old owls and let you keep being you and you let us keep being us. Because, no matter where you are on the generational ladder, YOLO applies to us all.