I’ve had plenty of experience with Millennials in the workplace, but I’ve generally found this portrayal of them to be more of an exception than the norm.
But culturally speaking, I can certainly see how some of this would be true – especially the feelings of luck being more important that hard work and the feelings of entitlement.
Regarding luck, I think it’s reflected in the Occupy movement (still one of the most poorly, but accurately, name movements in history), among other societal developments.
More and more people refer to successful people as lucky, or they infer that successful people have either stolen their money or made it at the expense of others.
My concern here is that we’ve proven over history that when people either have a great idea with the motivation to pursue or they simply work to become exceptional at whatever craft they’re pursuing, they become successful.
But the definition of successful has evolved over time, which I think is part of the problem. Self-sustaining and independent used to be the tenets of success. But I think now success is used more to refer to the very wealthy.
For example, I consider myself successful because I’ve accomplished a great deal, and I’m able to support myself and my family. I’m not in debt, and I’m able to save a bit now and again. By no means am I at all wealthy, but I feel great about where I’m at in my life.
Success is a state of mind, (it is not ideological,) and it comes from realizing one’s potential more than building a bank account. As a society, I believe we need to start celebrating success at every level and inspiring others to make themselves successful.
Regarding entitlement, I think we’re failing in one area as parents. It’s best explained by the YMCA’s policy (among other organizations) of not keeping score in their sport leagues.
Both winning and losing are important skills. In life, we go through both many times, and sometimes the lesson is very unforgiving. When we win, we need to understand how and why we won and how to do it productively and gracefully.
When we lose, we need to understand how to learn from our mistakes and failures so we don’t repeat them again. We need to understand the repercussions and consequences that go with losing and how to interpret its meaning.
True self esteem doesn’t come from being told you’re great, it comes from working hard and reaping the deserved rewards from your work. It also comes from getting back up after a loss and working hard to reverse it.
Our children, like our workforce, are pretty tough, and we should treat them accordingly by being honest with them and helping them to identify and learn from their mistakes.
- My name is Jon Friesch, and I think everyone has the potential to be great at something. If they’re willing to pursue it, I’m willing to help them get there.