Millennial – Adjective – Muh-len-nee-al: Person born between 1982 – 2000, child of baby boomers, classified as job jumpers, self-diagnosed with the fear of missing out (aka FOMO), cell phones affixed to the body at all times as an essential fifth limb, would prefer text-based communication to verbal, and have high ambition, drive, and desire flexibility over anything else (again, see FOMO).
No, that’s not Webster’s definition of that word, it’s mine. I am a millennial woman. And despite what anyone says, I believe it is incredibly challenging.
We live in a society where the term “Boss Lady” is thrown around an insane amount.
Women like Sheryl Sandberg have taught us to “lean-in” in whatever we do.
Joanna Gaines has shown us that you don’t have to be a man to work in construction and you can be a boss interior decorator with an insanely successful business even with four kids and number five on the way, dang girl – kudos to you.
J.K. Rowling was so poor when she started writing that she would write her stories on the back of tiny napkins inside English cafes but then created the most popular book series known to the entire millennial population (back off Twilight, you’ve got nothing on Potter).
You get the gist – the list of successful, powerful, boss ladies can go on and on. And that’s exactly what makes it hard to be a millennial woman in 2018. It’s challenging because of the immense amount of pressure put on us by society.
A few short years ago the workforce was still made up primarily of baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964). But, with the rise of social media as the main marketing tactic for businesses today and the world becoming more and more digital with each passing second things have changed. This also means the path that millennials are taking to find success is different than that of our boomer predecessors.
Let’s break it down…
- Baby boomers were motivated by title, power, and prestige. Millennials are motivated by high salaries and the flexibility to work when, where, and how they want. Titles and power are much less important to millennials than the flexibility and feeling of accomplishment with the conclusion of a days work.
- Baby boomers aren’t afraid of confrontation nor are they afraid to challenge the way things are being done. Well, neither are millennials. However, many boomers are stuck in their ways and frankly don’t understand technology as much as they think they do which causes millennials to have a hard time pushing through the necessary change required for organizations to succeed in today’s constantly changing landscape.
- Baby boomers like hierarchy and structure. Millennials thrive off of achievement and flexibility. Baby boomers are having a hard time adapting to the new premise of employees working remote or telecommuting and therefore millennials are getting frustrated with the antiquated mentality and processes of many workplaces.
- Baby boomers are competitive and want to be at the top and likely they want to be the ONLY one at the top. Millennials would much rather work on a team and have work be a joint effort where collaboration is king and everyone who contributes succeeds.
- Baby boomers usually stayed in one organization or industry for the entirety of their career. Millennials are classified as job jumpers. They’re always keeping a pulse on the market and looking for that next best opportunity to help them develop or advance their career. It’s not a lack of dedication to work but just the name of the game to find something meaningful and flexible that will help them achieve not only what they desire out of their career but their life as a whole.
So what is the point?
I’ve worked in a variety of corporate and agency roles since I started my career back in 2013. The shift from the boomer way has not yet taken place in many organizations which is making millennials feel unsatisfied and ultimately unhappy. More and more of my friends are now choosing to go down the path of freelancing or self-employment because of this.
Because millennials prefer flexibility more than anything else many are making the choice of these alternative career paths because it enables you to answer to yourself, work the hours that YOU want to from wherever you want, take vacation or sick days when you find yourself needing a break, and overall it’s simply more rewarding when you’re doing work that you believe in and that you want to do.
Being a millennial, male or female, in 2018 is hard because of the expectations. You have a ton of college education and want to work hard but you don’t want to come to success in the same way previous generations have. The world truly has changed. Technology has changed us. And it’s especially hard as a woman because there are so many other successful boss ladies out there. Shouldn’t I be one too?
If you’re a boomer reading this, consider these key facts about millennials and the challenges we are having in finding fulfillment in our lives the next time you think of us as non-committed or not working as hard as you think we should be.
If you’re a millennial, challenge yourself with what it is that you really want out of life and find a way to make that happen. Even though it may be challenging, it’s also super empowering. Find your purpose, don’t back down or give up, and make it happen.