We know there is a slew of young talent out there with impressive skill, agility and creativity. They lack professional experience but also demand more autonomy, responsibility and fulfillment in work than ever before. So how do we get what we need from them, while giving back what they seek from us as employers?
There is a lot of coverage these days about the problem with Millennials. If you look, you'll find us frequently labelled as "idealistic", "narcissistic" and "entitled" in popular media. From the Time Magazine cover story on May 20, 2013 to the Bloomberg ad blaming the Millennials for the Recession, I couldn't disagree more. I am proud of my generation of changemakers born between 1980 and 1995.
When I was In grade 10, I asked my teacher: "Why aren't the Special Needs students in any of our drama classes?" He hesitated... "It's... not a good fit." I asked our principal, who looked away: "It wouldn't be... appropriate." When I asked the head of the Special Needs program, she answered right away, "They would love to be, but they're not allowed." It seemed so unfair. These guys were the funniest, most uninhibited people I knew and drama would be the perfect thing to help develop their social and life skills. But I was only 15. It was a school policy. So.... I started my own program, just for them.
Confession: we're bingers. You know what were talking about: wait for a full season of Game of Thrones to come out, block off a 'sick day,' and marathon all 10 episodes online. We've all been there. The way we watch and consume content is quickly evolving -- we're demanding more content, and we want it accessible and on-demand.
So many people are hiding these days behind their devices, using efficiency and speed as just one of the many excuses to avoid direct communication. I don't purport to be the Emily Post of digital etiquette, but the following are times when some form of more intimate and potentially interactive communication may be preferable to their smart phone or tablet equivalent.
Just about everyone I know has designs on or at least daydreams of starting a business, which I think is normal. And yet, while no one ever says, "I want to be a cog in a giant, multinational machine when I grow up," that's usually what happens. I can't give you advice on how to create a successful business, but I can hopefully give you the nudge you need to at least try.
We've mistaken being politically opinionated for being politically engaged. We simply give off the appearance of being so, by "sharing" and "publishing" articles from the New Yorker, Harper's, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy -- look at me, this is what I read! Aren't I an intellectual treat? An opinion doesn't mean a thing -- but a vote does. The sooner that we stop pretending that 140-character messages makes us politically engaged the better off our generation will be.
Many analyses of Gen Y seem to merely entrap themselves in the dichotomy between labelling young people as "lazy" or claiming that young people have an opportunity to reshape the world in which they live. As young people, we can either decide to conform to or alter the content of our society, or we can go a step further and assume the courage to discuss ways in which the form of our society may be what is holding us back.
We're lucky to have the time to worry about the self-esteem of our children or the discrepancy between the size of our childhood fantasy home and our current urban shanty. While of course we calibrate our problems and react to them according to the world we actually occupy there's something to be said for perspective.