aspirations of Millennials

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Millennials at Work... What Are Their Career Aspirations

About The HRIS World Millennials Series™ #thwGenY

We are going to summarize a video provided by Simon Sinek, who has said and shared a lot of things we have already discussed in our newsletters and blogs...

Born 1984 and after, Millennials are accused of being entitled, narcissistic, unfocused, lazy. They do, however, want to work with a purpose, they want to make an impact, they want free food and bean bags (not necessarily the last two, just seeing if you are paying attention!). Yet, give them everything they want, and they are still not happy (truthfully, has anyone really been happy about getting anything, never mind everything, when always easily gained?).

This unhappiness has roots in their upbringing, in their use of technology, their impatience, and our environment...

  • The failed parenting strategies in which they were raised provoked more long-term problems than resolved. Let's face it, the parenting styles used to raise this generation tried to circumvent several principles everyone knows is true, some of which are: You reap what you sew, you can't sharpen a knife on a sponge, facing the pain you are going through today will minimize an even greater pain later. Instead, the parenting styles that were chosen focused heavily on issues that mostly could have been resolved over time that would have provided lessons learned early on in life. Those early lessons would have provided opportunities to build character which would have prepared their children for life after school, for the real life. This costly mistake has resulted in a generation that has, as far as we know, the lowest self-esteem than any previous generation. This means there are a sufficient number of Millennials, who are now the largest portion of the workforce, are going to need direction and guidance in overcoming an inhibiting lifestyle from what has essentially not been their fault.
  • Next on the list of root causes of the Millennials unhappiness is the lack of balance in using technology. This imbalance has allowed Millennials to filter nearly everything around them. This filtering process has kept them from really conversing which would lead to developing meaningful relationships, has kept them from learning how to work in teams, and has kept them from learning how to develop trust. They do this filtering via technology as it feels good. A Harvard study, completed in 2012, has shown that dopamine is released anytime one talks about themselves through social media (if not familiar, dopamine is the same chemical released when we smoke, drink, or gamble and the release of dopamine forms an addiction when it is not tempered). As the use of social media can provide a high level of dopamine, it makes social media and cell phone usage highly addictive. Truthfully, it is comparable to being provided all the smokes, alcohol, and gambling they wanted at a very young age. Yet, we have restrictions on smoking, alcohol, and gambling and none on the smartphone and social media usage. As a result of what amounts to a full access to a quick fix during the childhood and adolescence, what has been permitted in their childhood and adolescence has created an entire addictive adulthood generation that is numbed by a chemical called dopamine. And they are addicted in their personal lives, their work lives, their social lives, every level of their lives. Like ANY addiction, this dependency has deprived them of learning how to form deep meaning relationships as well as how to cope with stress that comes into their lives. Like ANY addiction, they are not turning to a person but to a device. This has lead to a higher rate of depression in a young generation. These addiction traits, however, can be stopped when one sees the value of a life outside of their addiction -- only now there is a higher level of pain involved as a habit needs to be broken, and new disciplines formed to develop new habits. The good news is they will be all the better for it.
  • Millennials are an impatient lot. Any time they want to do something, it is almost always immediately available for their participation - watch a film, read a book, ask someone out on a date, even ordering something on Amazon. This results in the failure to learn the life skill of being patient. This has minimized the social coping mechanisms all previous generations had to learn. Everything is instant gratification... except for job (or career) satisfaction and strength of relationships. Millennials have not learned that social coping skills are slow, meandering, messy processes. They have also never been taught that the most treasured and valuable things in life are arduous, long, and difficult in gaining. All this amounts to never having learned how to build joy into their lives.
  • Lastly the traditional company environment of short-term gains and funneling employees into positions where they either sink or swim will, with Millennials, result in a labor shortage never seen before. As Millennials want to learn, want to perform, want to make an impact, the traditional environment is not only unnecessary but minimizes the honing and growth of these desires. And their willingness is half the corporate battle, as many who have the hard skills do not have the proper soft skills that are necessary to carry out the hard skills successfully and fully. Companies need to learn how to teach Millennials how they can build confidence, how they can learn the skills of co-operation, how they can learn to overcome the challenges of a digital world while also finding a sense of balance, how they can learn to overcome instant gratification. All this will provide everyone -- the older generation, the businesses, the Millennials, the joys, impacts, fulfillments, and trust that one gets from working on something for a long time. We can not correct the problem we have created with the Millennials by using the same thinking that created the problem in the first place -- we have to think differently, which means actions must be different as well.

How can we, as leaders for the Millennials, do all this? Well, we ourselves have to relearn, and in some cases learn anew, the principles, laws of life, and the means that builds character. This is not something that should ba balked at -- there is a blessing to be had by us as people, businesses, as well as the Millennials as all will become stronger as a result, and that blessing will be in direct proportion to the effort put forth. This is a principle of relationships that transcends cultures, generations, genders, even IQ levels.

If you are interested in seeing the entire conversation by Simon Sinek, just click here and you will be taken to our youtube channel.

Feel free to reach out to us if you wish to contribute some of your thoughts via a post by clicking the contact us button on the lower right of any page. Feedback, debates, discussion, collaboration and conversation are always encouraged in the comments section below... For more information about this series, use the blue contact us button on the lower right of your screen to contact us -- or if you are reading this by our newsletter, then hit the reply button to get back to us!



With every generation comes a new set of sensibilities, priorities, values, and expectations.

The passing of time means throwing out old things that didn’t work and introducing new ideas and methods.

No aspect of life is immune to this change, and that includes the workplace.

As baby-boomers retire and millennials fill more of those vacancies, career goals and aspirations are changing.

If current trends continue, here is what millennials want out of their jobs.

First, A Quick Definition

Much in the same way that the effort to define “baby boomer” was a slippery and confusing experience, trying to nail down the absolute hard and fast definition of a millennial is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.

For instance, the article “Millennials May Be Eager To Lead, But Can They Rise To The Challenge?“, a good resource of information about the topic at hand, considers that generation as having been born between 1984 and 1996.

But in general, it’s reasonable to consider millennials (also known as “Generation Y”) as having been born between 1976 at the earliest and 2004 at the latest.

Happiness Over Success

A recent study where 16,000 millennials from 43 nations were surveyed showed that this new generation wants more happiness and fulfillment in their careers, prizing such things over the traditional desires of big salaries and impressive-sounding job titles.

For instance, more than 40% of the millennials surveyed said they’d rather be unemployed than slogging through a job that they despised.

In addition, more than 70% of respondents said they’d prefer having a better balance between work and home life than getting a big salary.

If you think about it, that concept actually is old news.

After all, one of the most famous old sayings is “Money can’t buy happiness”.

Same principle, different time.

If this study is correct and truly speaks for Generation Y, it could be that millennials are actually taking that proverb to heart and applying it.

Millennials are replacing boomers in the workforce, and bringing a new set of sensibilities with them

Stop Looking Over My Shoulder!

According to the study, millennials in North America can’t stand being micromanaged, which kind of goes hand in hand with the fact that Western European and North American millennials want managers who can empower them, specifically the ability to make their own decisions.

These findings can be lumped together under one universal idea that Generation Y employees want more leadership roles with a degree of independence, and less time under the microscope.

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An Overall Trend Of Self-Improvement

Based upon the conclusions from the above-mentioned study, it appears that millennials prefer a career that lets them grow in terms of skill sets, opportunities to try new things (including trying out different positions at the company), and overall becoming more complete people.

Considering how much of our lives is spent at our jobs, that’s not an unreasonable expectation.

Furthermore, these preferences are apparently valued more than lavish pay and a few perks thrown their way.

Of course, if you’d like a different viewpoint, check out the article “Your 4-Point Guide to Successfully Managing Millennials

In tying it all together, a picture emerges of a new generation of employees who want to become better, more marketable, more well-rounded professionals.

While no one is going to turn their nose up at a generous salary or 4 weeks’ vacation, it looks like millennials put that just a little lower on the priority scale in exchange for leadership opportunities and self-improvement.

If that’s the case, it looks like the working world will be in good hands.



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Additional information for the author’s byline: John Terra has been a freelance writer since 1985. He’s a Baby Boomer whose hatred of micromanagement can rival that of any millennial. He’s also not a fan of meetings. 🙂

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John Terra was brought to our attention by Stephen Jeske, who you can reach via email by clicking here.

John Terra has been a freelance writer since 1984.

He has extensive experience in Internet research, as this has tied in with many of his past responsibilities.

You can reach John by social media or by starting a conversation below!

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