Millennials: Sharing Some Love

{This piece was in response to one written by a friend called Millennials: Lazy, Coddled, and ENTITLED}

I work for a design company — specifically a human centered design company that works with digital media (as in plural of medium, not as in The Press. Although I work with The Press and that kind of media, too). I work with 80 people who are among the most talented people I’ve encountered. Our work is designing digital experiences, which means building websites, integrating technology, innovating with business models, creating brand new things that didn’t exist before we were there.

I’m one of the oldest people at my company. I’m 38. That means I am technically an Xennial. I grew up in a completely analogue environment. We didn’t have a TV in my home in rural Pennsylvania until the 1992 Olympics when my mom went out and bought one. My conservative dad threatened to throw it out the window. We were only allowed to watch the Olympics and TGIF, so I know a lot about Tim The Tool Man Taylor and Urkel, but that’s the extent of my pop culture knowledge from the 90s.

My first cell phone was bulky and barely fit in the glove compartment of the 1989 Honda Prelude with the flip up headlights. That little coupe was a VERY BIG DEAL to teenage me. I used that cell phone exactly once, when the fuel pump died along Rt. 11.

Anyway, Xennials are a micro-generation, sandwiched between the forgotten Gen X’ers and the Millennials, our first digital native generation.

Needless to say, almost all my colleagues are Millennials. We really need them for their savvy with technology, for their generosity of spirit, and for their willingness to collaborate. Yes, they’re sometimes immature and they’re a product of a world that didn’t see much hardship (9/11 didn’t really directly impact this group en masse). They had the enviable childhood of the most productive times in the United States and, for most of my colleagues, they had pretty conventional, middle-class upbringings.

This is not to say that their lives have been completely rosy — they have watched parents lose jobs and the base of the American economy shift from blue-collar to off-shore, hollowing out the economy and further driving a gap between rich and poor. They’ve grown up with political polarization and the echo chamber of social media.

I’ve found the Millennials in my world to be kind, generous, and talented. They may lack context, but we all lacked context as young adults. Any generation has people who are lazy or entitled and Millennials aren’t alone in that although it’s a frequent criticism. My Millennial colleagues are eager to please and interested in learning. The Millennials in my orbit work hard, especially with leadership and proactive coaching. I love them.

Connector of amazing people, curator of content, explorer of ideas, thoughtful AF.