Busting millennial myths
In this segment of the Today Show, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb interviewed psychologist Dale Atkins and Dan Schawbel of Millennial Branding about traits that are prevalent among millennials:
Kathie Lee seemed to be the voice of negative millennial stereotypes during the interview, making statements like “They move from job to job and seem to be more laid back about life and seem to be very entitled.”
But Schawbel had more a esteemed opinion of millennials, praising their education, their desire to have meaningful work, and their optimism in spite of today’s economy:
Most diverse generation, most educated generation, they would rather have meaningful work and freedom and flexibility over more money, and even though the economy has hurt them so bad with double unemployment rate versus the national unemployment rate, they are the most optimistic generation.
Schawbel’s belief about millennials being optimistic despite a rough economy reminds me of an op-ed by Charles M. Blow, who praised millennials for their optimism and their desire to improve the world around them.
Dr. Atkins stated how millennials would rather be challenged in their jobs and do meaningful work than get promotions. She also described their tendency to switch jobs if a better career opportunity presented itself:
They are looking for opportunities where they feel they’ll really fit in and be heard…and where they’ll feel challenged and they want to be able to have a sense of — they are not so interested…on moving up the corporate ladder, but feel they can make a contribution.
While they are at a job, often they are very intentional in their work, but they are also noticing what else is out there, and if something else suits them as they are growing, they are going to make another jump.
There are other great points in the interview, such as young adults “millennial-izing” older generations by getting them hooked on social media (for example, getting their grandmas to go on Twitter.)
But Dr. Atkins adds that older generations could also rub off on millennials by teaching them the values of hard work and commitment. Whether you’re older or younger, there are always opportunities to learn something by interacting with another generation:
It’s important one of the things people in an older generation can teach the millennials is what it means to be committed and work hard to get where you want to go so that it isn’t that you walk in here and you’re there. There’s a possible wonderful interaction where both generations, all generations, can teach each other.