I Hate Millennials (But I Could Be Wrong)

By Rob Totaro

I was born during those tenuous transition years between Generation X and Millennials. From birth, I was raised in my grandfather’s luncheonette in Northern New Jersey. In my family’s business, I learned the value of hard work, quality, and customer service. My “genetic” pre-disposition to hard work is probably why I hate Millennials so much. 

The way I saw it, this aimless, entitled, “Snap-Chatting,” “everyone gets a trophy” generation gives all of us transition kids a bad name. 

Now in general, I try not to let the facts get in the way of my pre-conceived notions. But after putting together this issue on LBM careers, I want to share some valuable lessons I learned about a generation who, whether I like it or not, will make up 50% 
of the workforce by the end of this decade.

On to the Next Big Thing

Contrary to popular belief, Millennials aren’t looking to job-hop their way to the top. According to Forbes, 52% said the opportunity for career progression made a company attractive and 65% proclaimed the opportunity for personal development was the most influential factor in their current job.

Stop Texting and Talk to Me

The reality here is that Millennials are digital natives. They grew up with devices in their pockets. But, the belief that they only want to learn and communicate electronically is a myth. According to a Bentley University study, more than half of respondents expressed a desire to speak with colleagues in-person whenever possible.

One Man’s Lazy Is Another’s Cultural Revolution

The Bentley University study also revealed 77% of Millennials agree that flexible work hours would make their workplace more productive. And while flexible hours may not be practical in every environment, the underlying desire of flexibility is about achieving 
a reasonable work-life balance.

My Startling Personal Revelation

Millennials are not the terrible human beings I thought they were. This generation is actively redefining corporate values and culture, which is leading to improvements to a work-life balance that all of us will benefit from. Whether you agree or not, the wants and desires of this generation need to be taken seriously as you chart your course for future business success.

Rob Totaro is the Director of Communications and PR at the NRLA. He is also the Editor of the Lumber Co-operator.