Thursday, April 30, 2009


An Impatient Generation Full Of Team Players
By Adriana Lorenzo

They can listen to their iPods, instant message online, watch television and reply to a text message all at the same time. They share files, blog and spend hours online a day.

The above portrayal may sound like a description of a robot, but it is actually the routine of the typical member of the Millennial generation. These individuals born between 1982 and 1995 are the quintessential ‘multitaskers’ and are one of the most studied generations in recent times due to their large population and buying power.

According to two recent CBS News 60 Minutes reports, “The Echo Boomers” and “Here Come The Millennials,” this generation is of great interest not only because of their large size and spending power, but also because of their belief systems and attitudes. Also called “Echo Boomers,” this generation differs greatly in their goals and priorities from the group they echo -- their parents, the Baby Boomers.

Christina Gloria says her generation is very impatient,
but is also innovative.

While Baby Boomers were taught the only way to excel was to work extremely hard, the Millennials have been constantly praised and awarded simply for effort. “You now have a generation coming into the workplace that has grown up with the expectation that they will automatically win, and they'll always be rewarded, even for just showing up," said Mary Crane in the 60 Minutes report “Here Come The Millennials.”

The report presented members of the older generations’ concerns about the Millennials entering the workplace and their abilities to handle not only responsibilities, but also criticism. If the Millennials have been told they will always succeed, how can they handle the real world of disappointments, deadlines and critique, the report asks.

Jennifer Wright, the mother of a 16 year-old Millennial believes her and her husband’s parenting may affect her son’s career in the future.

“We have always told Connor it was OK if he didn’t get an A in a class, as long as he was trying his hardest,” Wright said. “We definitely praised him more for his efforts growing up, and even do up to this day. But in the real world, your boss isn’t going to praise you simply for participation if you aren’t working up their standards.”

The Millennials beg to differ, and even Connor had a few words to say against his mother’s concerns. “I do think we have definitely been babied too much and told too often that we did a good job when we didn’t, or won a game when we really lost,” he says. “But, we are really great at teamwork and supporting each other, and getting what we want when we want it.”

Connor’s sentiments reflect another angle of the 60 Minutes specials: the Millennials are more interested in teamwork than in the individual, and strive to do all that is required of them. CBS research showed some results: violent crime is down 60 to 70 percent among teenagers, five out of 10 Millennials trust the government, and tobacco and alcohol use are at an all-time low.

Christine Gloria, a sophomore at North Carolina State University believes her generation will accomplish great things because of their unique attitudes. “I think our parents’ generation had more of an attitude like, ‘I want to do well and I’ll take down anyone that stands in my way’,” Gloria says. “With our generation, it’s like, ‘I want to be the best, and I want all my friends to do amazing things too so we can celebrate together.’”

This generation that longs to support each other in achieving major goals, also wants to achieve them quickly. The Millennials are used to receiving whatever they want at the exact moment they want it. Unlike their parents, the Millennials do not read through endless books for research. They search the Internet and have thousands of hits on their topic in the fraction of a second. They hear a song on the radio and can download it right away.

The Millennials are accustomed to instant gratification, an attitude that will likely benefit them in the workplace.

“I think we are really impatient as a generation. I get so frustrated if my Internet connection is even a little slow,” Gloria says. “So I am confident that as a generation we will get things done quickly, but also in innovative ways.”

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