Are Millennials really Entitled?
What words do millennials (i.e. those in the 16-36 age group) use to describe themselves? In a survey by cultural agitator Popsugar, “entitled” was the one that was most commonly used. Does it mean they see themselves as narcissists?
Not so fast.
While it cannot be disputed that “entitlement” usually carries negative connotations, Popsugar posits that millennials rather view it as licence to go after big goals without asking for permission from superiors in advance. They believe: “If I work very hard at my job, I am entitled to commensurate reward”.
A further criticism of so-called “entitled millennials” is that they expect to walk into their dream career right after completing their studies. Now, we all know that such an expectation is unwarranted, but here is another angle: By giving millennials in the workplace the opportunities and encouragement to grow, show their usefulness and therefore feel productive in a meaningful work environment will reap dividends.
Rigidity in the workplace can be jarring to millennials whom, we have to add, will make up 35% of the workplace by next year. They have grown into themselves surrounded by a DIY, can-do attitude. The chances are that they have ideas more smooth-lined approaches to getting the job done.
The world of work is changing rapid-fire. It is not the same environment that Baby Boomers and even Gen X-ers (this writer’s generation) is used to. The so-called “hard graft” has been streamlined by the monolith that is the Internet. Could it be that millennials are simply working differently, more smartly productive – and not necessarily less “hard”? Is challenging the workplace status quo and choosing workplace fulfillment jarring to many? Arguably so. Is this necessarily a bad thing? Food for thought.
As the work environment continues to evolve, it will be important for companies to embrace millennials’ new way of thinking and doing. The right approach in a multigenerational company will be key to ensuring a happy and productive workplace.
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