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Generational differences have caused more arguments at more family gatherings and company Christmas parties than my research capabilities can count.
“Millennials are killing ____”
“Boomers left our castle in ruins…”
Yes – I’ve heard both of these from multiple folks on either side of this… “argument”. I even went so far as writing a post on the subject: I Hate Avocados… But Call Me a ‘Snowflake’ Millennial Any Day!
I actually started that post cautioning the use of stereotypes and ultimately said we can all do better. Well, it turns out that my hot take on generational differences enticed a few responses… And honestly – I’m thrilled that it did.
Because Rosie from Cash Crone had a few insightful things to say on the matter, and I think we’d all be better off hearing from someone a little ‘wiser’ than me.
(Photo courtesy of Al Emmert – A Boomer who takes AMAZING photographs)
Here is Rosie’s response to my original post discussing generational differences:
Mike wrote about a stereotypical view that “Millennials are lazy, job-hopping snowflakes that seek only instant gratification.” He goes on to say that, “that more seasoned generations tend to believe that millennials are unprepared and incapable of taking the reins to lead our world forward.”
I hope it isn’t true that our “more seasoned” generation is dumping that kind of judgment on an entire generation
Judging is not cool, ever. I looked up “millennials” on the Big G and found articles and studies that proclaim that millennials are slovenly and narcissistic. Well, maybe that is true of the millennials they surveyed, studied, or poked. But I do not think that is true of all of them. In fact, the hard-working, kind, and entrepreneurial millennials were probably out doing something great when that study was being conducted.
Oh, how I hate labels. If I were to choose an age label, I’d prefer to be called a “wiser.” But according to definition, I am a boomer – born in 1959, and I am slotted into what branding companies call the Boomer II generation. My particular group of bouncing babies born between 1955 and 1965 no longer trusted the establishment, as previous generations did.
We were so suspicious that we probably even had tasters for our strained peas. We experienced Watergate, and oil embargoes, and stagflation. But we boomers also got to see man walk on the moon for the first time (whether you cry conspiracy or not, it was cool), danced at Woodstock, thumbed our noses at “the man,” fought for civil rights, and beat out our own path in business, music, and global inclusion.
And here’s the secret – we (and all the generations before us) were unprepared, too
My parents were born in the Depression era. Dad quit school at the age of 16 after his father became ill and could no longer work. He went to work at a local potato factory, sewing the pull strings onto mesh potato bags. After he talked his way into a better job at an earthmover’s manufacturer by acing a mathematics test, he started working his way up in management – attaining his high school diploma and two engineering degrees along the way. Mom lost her mother at age 15, and she also learned to grow up fast. She turned down her dream to sing on stage for a more structured life as a secretary.
Both my parents were unprepared. But they each felt a responsibility to support their families, to leave something tangible for their heirs. They were patriotic, saved Green Stamps, respected authority and were company-loyal. Somehow, they found ways to stretch their dollars to take care of a large family, and they always shared good fortune with others.
There was a lot of laughter in our house. I could say so much more about these two amazing people, but I’ll save it for another post. My eyes are leaking.
Dad never understood why I had no interest in working for the “man,” but lovingly called me his “earth muffin.”
Mom questioned my aversion to religion and formal education but marveled at my love for the planet, my thirst for knowledge, and my hands-on approach to learning. I looked for happiness and insight, not job security. I often took on jobs just to learn how to do something, and once I was satisfied, I would move on to something else.
Barbara Sher, the author of “Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want,” calls this type of personality a “Scanner.” (Get Sher’s book free in PDF form here http://wishcraft.com/wishcraft_complete.pdf).
A Scanner, according to Sher, is a person who refuses to choose a specific vocation and would prefer to experience many things. This type of personality has often been viewed as lazy by others, when in truth they are far from that. The Scanner can’t bear the thought of stagnating, of no longer learning or facing a challenge. (Mike: are you talking about me, Rosie…? 😉)
I’m sure that Mom and Dad made some decisions that they might have regretted later on
But they always did the best they could for themselves and the people they loved. Along the way, I made some big, crazy decisions that sometimes sent me into near-death life events. I squeezed pennies and learned how to, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” And I have no regrets. I’m even happier and more thankful for the wonderful adventure I am having on earth. My path has been a career of emotion instead of logic.
My own two sons are 37 and 40 years old. So if you do the math, you will realize that I became a mother at a very young age. They changed my life in so many ways.
I did what I could to prepare them for day-to-day life, showing them how to pay bills, balance a checkbook, and cook for themselves (and they both cook better than I ever did!). I did not offer them an allowance. They had part-time jobs when they turned 16.
I think the best thing I taught them, though, is to have fun with their life, to be kind to others, and to love fiercely.
When they would find their path by following their hearts, everything else falls into place, including money.
Sometimes a career of emotion is also a career of logic, and sometimes not
My sons crashed and fell many times, but they eventually found that the career of emotion makes everything else small stuff. They are truly my most favorite people on the planet. Enough about them – my eyes are watering again.
Yes, you are unprepared, you millennial. We were, too
We can’t give you a road map for your life. You are facing different obstacles than we did.
The dream of owning a home and living in it until you are great-grandparents is a fading memory. Housing prices have caused many young adults to consider staying with their parents a little longer, or renting instead of buying.
Some old ideas are new again. Years ago, families shared the same house, with married children taking upper floors, or grandparents living in basement apartments. Everyone helped with bills, cooking, and home maintenance.
That idea has returned – but it’s now called “multigenerational living.”
According to Pew Research, 20% of the U.S. population, or 64 million people, lived with several generations under one roof. Some things do circle back.
I don’t find millennials to be lazy
I find them to be individuals, just getting started. Instant gratification is good in certain instances, but not others, so learn to plan and save when it is important. Try to find patience, and listen to the advice of others who have ridden the rapids and come out the other side, because they do want you to succeed.
You don’t have to follow the last generation, because their beliefs, traditions, and establishments aren’t yours, and they shouldn’t be
You have technology and opportunity that wasn’t there for previous generations. You can help us “wisers” learn new skills and work for the sheer fun of it. The world needs people who make their own decisions, are kind to others, inclusive in their worldviews, and innovative in their lifestyle.
One idea may not work for everyone, and some millennials might take more time than others
Learning to do new things, even small things like learning to bake cookies or change a tire, can be life-changing and rewarding. But if you really are being lazy, stop it. The world needs you. You deserve better for yourself. I don’t agree with taking advantage of others to make your way through life, nor do I think that parents should be guilted into enabling their adult children.
So carry your own load and side hustle if you have to. Find your own way. Be happy.
The thing I love most about your words in this post is that you want the same thing that I do – for us all to do better
I thought we may have been in for a generational heavyweight bout… But I was thrilled to see that we don’t see the world so differently. Where do you weigh in? What are we missing and what do you agree with? Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!