Millennials are do-nothing, entitled complainers who need instant gratification and endless praise. Or are they? Let’s flip the script: Millennials are selective, efficiency-loving truth tellers who strive for successful careers and relationships. Now, what’s wrong with that? Nothing. It may be time to stop complaining (hello, Kettle?) and start wondering what “bad habits” to adopt from the up-and-coming generation.
Bad Habit 1: They expect to get ahead by working fewer hours.
Too many Millennials saw their Boomer parents work long, arduous hours at unfulfilling, stressful jobs. Boomers may think, “That’s just the way the world works,” but Millennials are making the world now and they’re not going to settle. Try to think of Millennials as entrepreneurs-at-heart. They want more control over where and when they work and what they actually do — it may seem idealistic, but the flexibility they demand may be better for our families and communities. They understand the role vacations play in maximizing productivity, strengthening their relationships and expanding their worldview. They want to make the most of their lives while they’re young enough to enjoy them (aka before retirement). Essentially, they live in and for the moment and, as far as I can tell, that’s a good thing.
Bad Habit 2: They’re picky, entitled and demanding.
When was the last time you felt your job had a deeper meaning? If and when Millennials do work endless hours, they want it to be for a job, cause or company that means something to them. That way, when the lines between personal and professional blur, they still feel fulfilled. That’s why most Millennials pick work and companies that mirror their passions and ethics, and they want to make a big impact. Essentially, they care.
Why so fast when you had to work years and years to “make it”? There’s a lot we could unpack here: hidden childhood messages about jobs and identities, the way schools reward students with grades, the speed of technology, etc. Safe to say, it doesn’t really matter. While it may be annoying behavior, you can rest assured Millennials are picky because they want to do great work, and they know they’ll work harder for something they care about. They’re trying to give you their best self.
Bad Habit 3: They never grow up.
Concerts, festivals, travel, fancy meals, parties, etc. Every time we turn around, Millennials are filling up social feeds with their adventures and experiences. This behavior may leave you wondering when they’ll grown up — but why should they? Millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than things. There’s less “keeping up with the Jones,” unless the Jones are jumping out of airplanes. Maybe their only goal is a great Instagram story, but say what you will, Millennials are the ones living those stories, so who’s winning now?
Bad Habit 4: They’re throwing their money away.
Millennials understand the true value of their dollar and put their money where their mouths are. In other words, they make buying choices that align with their ethics and go out of their way to influence companies’ operations, mission, products and services — even if it means spending a little extra. They will not hesitate to tell companies when they’re getting it wrong and are thus moving the needle toward greater corporate responsibility. Millennials are skeptical of advertising and the cheapest version on the market — wait, a steak for only $3.99? Ew. — and it may be tripping up old-school businesses. Here’s a tip: if you work for a company that will be selling to Millennials in the next decade, be prepared to appeal to their ethics and not just their wallets.
Bad Habit 5: They buy into global warming.
Yup, they mostly believe in global warming and want to ensure future generations can thrive on this planet. Even if they don’t 100% believe the science, they still see the value in protecting the environment; giving everyone access to clean water, healthy food and natural spaces; and reducing our fossil fuel dependence. They are able to see how their small actions affect the larger picture, and are willing to make lifestyle changes that support the greater good.
So, yes … the Millennial way is different. They may not value exactly the same things you did or for the same reasons, but is that such a bad thing? They’re living their own lives with a new perspective, and I think it’s promising.
To your emotional health,