Thursday, April 30, 2009


The Good, The Bad, The Millennial
By Alyssa Schwartz

The Millennials, one of the most studied generations, are the offspring of the Baby Boomers who grew up in a time of technological advancement and were raised with very different ideals and ethics than their parents.

It would seem that being a Millennial, one would have more going for them than against them. The Millennial, also known as Generation Y or the Echo Boomers, seem to be more studied and criticized for growing up in a new era than welcomed and accepted for the new ideas and knowledge that they can offer society.

Millennials appear to be defined by the fact that they were raised in a time when technology was thriving. According to the CBS News 60 Minutes report “Echo Boomers,” this generation is “a reflection of the sweeping changes in American life over the past 20 years. They are multi-taskers with cell phones, music downloads and instant messaging on the Internet.”

Is this attribute a positive factor or a negative slam at the generation?

Maria Lagis, a student at Stony Brook University says it is “100% positive.” She believes that because the Echo Boom generation grew up with all of these technologies and the ability to multi-task it will ultimately help them in the long run.

“I think we are lucky to be able to multi-task. If I wasn’t brought up knowing how to multi-task, I honestly don’t think I would make it through college,” Lagis says. “It’s necessary.”

Maria Lagis, right, and her mother.

Lagis believes that her generations’ technological skills will prove useful throughout college and into the work force.

“I feel as if the business world is changing and demanding that employees be technologically advanced. It’s a requirement for so many jobs these days,” says Lagis. “How lucky are we that we got a head start in being able to understand technology and survive situations where we might have to handle various tasks at once. I think we have the advantage.”

Steven Schwartz agrees that the Millennial generation is becoming necessary for the survival of business. He is the owner and manager of a Long Island mortgage company, and is part of the Baby Boomer generation. Schwartz finds it necessary to mix part of the Millennial generation into his company.

“It is essential to survival,” he says. ”That these people who are now entering the work force with this in depth knowledge on technology – they are necessary. They have a huge understanding of new computer programs, they know quicker and easier methods of doing work and they get the work done just as efficiently and effectively as my older employees who actually find it difficult to learn new programs and adapt to new methods.”

Schwartz admits that the idea of hiring younger people was not something he was always opened too. “Having children myself who are part of this generation, I know firsthand that they can be a little bit lazy and would probably rather be on “Facebook” than doing actual work,” he says. “I’ve learned though that people in this generation will complete any task I ask of them, even if on “Facebook” while doing it.”

Technology is not the only aspect that has contributed to shaping this generation. The way their parents raised them plays a large role in this generation’s relationship to the workplace. Marian Salzman in the 60 Minutes report “The Millennials Are Coming,” notes “that while this generation has extraordinary technical skills, childhoods filled with trophies and adulation didn't prepare them for the cold realities of work.”

The Millennial generation grew up on praises and teamwork, something that is not always a reality in the business world. Schwartz agrees with Salzman’s ideas. He realizes that he and his wife raised their children on teamwork and praises such as, “you did the best you could and that’s all that matters.”

Schwartz says, “we probably did shelter our children a lot, and it may hurt them in the end or help them. Ultimately I believe raising good and honest people is more valuable then raising people who can be tough enough to climb to the top of the workforce.”

Lagis feels that the way her parents raised her has been a positive attribute rather than a negative.

“Sure I was part of soccer teams and everyone won and life was great. That doesn’t mean I’m not capable of handling myself in real life,” Lagis says. “My parents pushed me to be the best I can be and that is something I will take with me into real life. I will always have that motivation and drive, that will help me - not hurt me.”


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