Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Remember the hype, the warnings, the fear over the impending disaster that would be caused by the date changing to 2000? Everything from elevators to cars to heart pace-makers were supposedly going to rise up and start taking over the world like a bad remake of "I Robot". The world waited with bated breath as the the clock ticked with relentless evenness toward the end of the universe as we knew it. 11:58, 11:59...12:00!


nothing at all.

So life went on with nary a bump and our alarm clocks and refrigerators remained docile and subservient as ever. Well, the Y2K disaster did happen, it just happened a decade late, or a decade early depending on how you look at it. You remember the designation of Generation X followed by Generation Y and we assumed that the next would most likely be Generation Z? Well, this alphabetically rebellious Generation has been designated as, The Millennials. cue scary music.

Millennials have been designated as those who are currently in their 20s, and those of us, like my dear friend Ambie, who have a Millennial for a child or sibling (or both, in her case) know that this really is a disaster of epic proportions. JWT, a New York based advertising agency, has provided us with a profile of the newest members of the workforce, and the results are, well, predictable to those who are intimately acquainted with the joyful frustration of trying to guide intelligent, energetic young people away from mistakes of such incredible stupidness that you're wondering if all the intelligence they have exihibited thus far might have been a fluke. Like a monkey randomly typing at a computer and producing the complete works of Shakespeare.

As JWT reports, Millennials, compared with previous generations, "place a higher value on work-life balance, expect their employers to adapt to them and are more likely to rank fun and stimulation as one of their top five ideal job requirements." They also, "like lots of positive strokes, are chronic multi-taskers and can be outspoken to a fault. They know when to speak up; they just don't always know when to shut up."

Sound familiar? It does when you consider the kind of life Millenials have had. Their formative years were mainly the 90's when the economy was flying high with the dotcom boom. They've always had technology at their fingertips. They've never known a time without personal computers, cellphones, or satellite TV. They think that "hard times" are when you don't have unlimited texting on your phone. These young people were raised with the "everybody wins" philosophy where everyone had a seat in musical chairs and everyone got a trophy in little league. They feel absolutely wonderful and confident for no reason at all.

To be fair, they do have some strengths that their older counterparts struggle with at times. Millennials think "outside the box" to the extent that they're almost unaware that there ever was a box. They are creative thinkers and high risk takers. They don't mind bringing their work home allowing clients and co-workers to call them at any time. But while they may usher in the next era of great human advancement, it will be a harrowing ride for those of us that have to grit our teeth and smile and say, "Sure! That idea for starting a reptile eco-tour in Brazil sounds great! Here's the $3000 from your college fund you wanted."


Ambie said...

I often wonder what kind of spouses and parents these kids will make (can reprogram a computer,can't install a doorknob).

Ambie said...


ray said...

They will be the kind of parents you won't have to remind to "take time for yourself". But they'll probably be less likely to try to live their dreams through their children like our generation does.

SUP3RH3R0 said...

Hey I thought that those of us in our thirties are considered Gen X, so that would really mean the Gen Y is the one being rebellious and not conforming. Well I also think that you have it the other way around. Gen Xers are the rebellious ones. We don't have a name other than Gen X. While the other generations named themselves. Like the Baby Boomers before us, and the Millennials after us.

ray said...

I think you're right, SUP3RH3RO, that Gen Y and Millenials are the same thing, but I don't think we're Gen X. I think we're lost between the two. Gen X are in their 40s, late 30s I think. We got lost in the crack.