This is the first of ten installments on why Millennials (and some Gen Xers) Have Great Potential in Being Entrepreneurs. In it, I will be discussing why many members of Generation Y shouldn’t be looking for any old job. Instead, they should be searching inside themselves for the answers to how they’re going to make a living as well as finding their purpose.
So a little introduction of why I’m starting this series…
I recently found an article in Forbes about what the millennials want in the workplace. It’s funny, but as a hybrid between Generation Y and X, I don’t see why X has so much angst for the Millennials. Yes, they’re different. But is that such a bad thing?
I found these numbers about Millennials from the article to be even more interesting:
- 64% of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place.
- 72% would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor.
- 88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one.
- 74% want flexible work schedules.
Now, current employers are going to scream and carry on that these numbers are crazy and down right scary. Why wouldn’t they? They might have owned a successful business for 10+ years and wonder why an established company needs to bend.
Well, that might be true. But as we all know, change is always immanent.
The thing is that millennials, as the article mentions, are going to be 40% of the workforce after 2020. That means that they’re going to be a huge part of the working force (possibly even a controlling segment??). That being said, their collective voice does matter. If the wealthiest business leaders are already doing this, then most businesses should and will follow suit. Otherwise they might find themselves low on workforce.
That said, who’s better at catering to millennials than those who understand them – other millennials?
Can You Really Blame Them?
Unlike previous generations who value hard work and sacrifice, millennials don’t necessarily feel the same way. They want lifestyle vs expensive items.
Or so we’ve been told. In an article by Ben Carlson at awealthofcommonsence.com, he explains that we have the same habits as our parents and grandparents. It’s just that we haven’t started our lives as early as they did. That makes sense, so many of us go to college anymore… and then play around for a couple of years.
But I don’t think that’s the only cause for the delay. I think that many of us want to be better at life then our parents or grandparents. We want to build on the foundations that they’ve given us. And why not? Hasn’t that been their goal?
Many Role Models
Us millennials have grown up with TV, movies, music, and sports as being the main things discussed about in culture. Few of us pay attention to world news and even fewer of us can picture what it would be like to not have media in our lives. In the hierarchy of needs, I’d say that a lot of us haven’t had to ever struggle with the bottom tiers. We’ve been blessed to have the ability to look constantly at life and wonder how we’re going to be the next Brad Pitt, Eminem, or the next Peyton Manning.
Unfortunately, working a traditional 9 to 5 probably won’t let us get to that level. That’s why the above mentioned numbers are so huge. We can’t relate to just having a steady paycheck – even though that’s something that our grandparents aspired to have and made sure our parents saw the white picket fence as something worth chasing.
Nope. Each and every one of us millennials has a little rock star in us that is eventually going to want to come out.
It’s not OUR Fault! Our Parents Spoiled Us!
We’ve been programmed by society to think how we’re going to be the next celebrity. Many of us didn’t consider answering the question what do you want to be when you grow up with the answers Fireman, policeman, lawyer, doctor, etc. like our parents. We didn’t even know what we wanted to be until later in life when we were forced to pick a major in college. Hell, even then I don’t know how many of us really knew! We just wanted to succeed. And how did we succeed?
By doing what our parents told us to do… Get good grades, go to college, get a good job and have a family!
“But… but… that’s not part of me being the next Bam Margera,” your inner self protested as you followed the status quo.
End result? Now you have all of us who have gone through college seeking jobs that will allow us to be rock stars. Cause in our subconscious… that’s what we’re supposed to be doing.
So it’s not so much that we’re spoiled per say, it’s more along the lines that we’ve been influenced by old advice that our parents got from their parents (check out Generation Zero about that and more) and pop culture to an extreme. We’re to value the things that celebrities have but obtain them by how mom and dad obtained a house and white picket fence. There’s a huge disconnect there. No doubt, we’re all about the Me.
But what can we do about it now? Are we really naive enough to think asking corporations to treat us all as individual rock stars is really feasible? That each of us deserves $15 as minimum wage working at Micky D’s? Jobs that are typically reserved for teenagers??
Lol. When you really think about it doesn’t make sense.
We don’t fit the mold of the traditional employee. I mean, when you think of celebrities – do you really think of them as a typical employee or more of a freelancer?
The Chase of the Letter A
Those of us who have done what our parents wanted have probably gone to school and excelled. (Don’t worry if you didn’t – there’s good news coming up.) We have done the work that is necessary to get Good Grades. We also probably know what it’s like to not get good grades.
I remember the first time I got a C worth remembering. It was my first semester at Purdue. School had always come easy for me. I studied very little to be an A/B Honor Roll student in high school. By the time I got to Purdue, I didn’t even KNOW how to study.
Well, there I was in a remedial class doing algebra – a high school course. Day after day went by and I got Cs and Bs on my quizzes. As on my homework. Being one who never kept score of my progress, I thought I had it in the bag to get a B for the semester. Well, finals came and before I knew it – I was done with my first semester at school. I checked my grades the following week and… there was the proof the crappy semester I had had. 1 B, 3 C’s, and a D.
Omg, I didn’t know what to do. As far as I knew, I had put in the work and did as well as I thought I ever had done. Well, little did I know I was doing less than mediocre. I had to improve… and I eventually did.
The good news is that you can eventually learn to play the game. Just stick with it long enough.
The point of that story is that many of us don’t know that we’re living mediocre lives. We’re doing the status quo and expecting that it will get us the results we’re looking for. But if we’re following a plan that is outdated, how do we even know that it’s going to get us where we want to be? Hell, like me and “studying”, you probably don’t even know the plan of Getting good grades… is outdated.
The thing is that we live in a world where we’re really all a bunch of freelancers. Those of us who have been employees know that we’re going to go from job to job to job in our career. The days of hanging our hat in one place are over. The game has changed.
Sadly, many of us still seek the shelter of our employers with that W2 instead of going for the 1099. But when we opt for the W2, we’re telling the employer that we’re not his equal. That we are a servant. We’re selling our time for money. We’re playing the old game.
Whereas a 1099 could signal that you’re an equal.
A W2 tells the employer that you need him. Whereas as a freelancer (or consultant) you’re prepared to move if needed and you don’t mind having the responsibility of taxes. One less thing he needs to worry about.
Being an employee is using an old plan… and it’s going to get you a C in life. Being a freelancer, consultant, or other type of business owner gives you the opportunity to get an A. But like studying super long hours in college to get the A, being a freelancer comes with extra responsibility.
So it’s really up to us in whether or not we want the potential for a C life or an A life.
Which would you rather have? Your parents old desk job that they slaved away at for years or your self defined dream gig? Which one would you prefer to work towards?
So real quick, what are your initial thoughts of millennials having huge plans for their life? Did you have any yourself? I know you wanted to be something (even if it was an astronaut or fire fighter) that some might consider a stretch.
Share what you thought (as a high school or college student) you were going to be if everything went your way in life by leaving a comment below. Did you arrive there?
By the way, stay tuned next week when we explore Part 2 of the series: Millennials as Trend Setters.