We are Soft: A message to Managers, Parents, and Millennials

We are Soft: A message to Managers, Parents, and Millennials

How do I know this? In order to become hardened by time one must have hardships. Do not get me wrong, being in the Millennial Generation comes with its own challenges but nothing compared to other parts of history. One can give a quick search on the internet to see what happened to life expectancy rates during World War 2. Another search will show the devastation of the Dust Bowl here in America. Millions of Americans during everything in their power to stay alive even to the point of leaving their homes. Even the process of finding information pre-internet took hours if not days. The interesting part arises when talking about the kids of these hardcore individuals that went through worse times. Up to this point of writing this piece, I now have individuals waiting to write comments about how I am wrong, and Millennials are the opposite of soft. “Millennials are kind and Compassionate individuals looking to live a fulfilled life,” says the Mob. Yes, these things are true. The problem is the curse of wanting to live a life worth living comes with hardships and tribulations. Personally, I think I am on the soft side of the argument even though I put in quite a bit of work. Even though I know what I want in life, I choose other activities to get in the way of my dreams. That is the part I consider soft. Now is the question, how did we get to this point? What created the Millennials of today? A culmination of many things but today we are going to talk about parenting, expectations, and fake environments.

Let us start with Fake Environments since that is the foundation for these other things. What is a fake Environment? My definition quantifies is at a style of living that is not sustainable through ones own actions! Throw it o. A good example is credit cards. If you have one of these magical devices. You know that you can simply charge away on items you cannot afford. Don’t have the money, no problem n the card and pay for it later. Maybe Mom sends a check every month to sustain a lifestyle. Other scenarios such as people letting you couch surf, getting government help in any sort of way. Not of these are wrong but they do create a style of living outside of what they can afford. Times have changed quite a bit when it comes to being able to work one job and sustain a household. Part of that has to do with the opportunities at the time. Today compared to times in the past, we can have a job and work on a side hustle via the internet. In 1970, you worked and went home. Maybe you did some side work for a friend. For that reason, businesses had to pay more in order to keep employees. Now through inflation and cost of certain goods have also changed. Certain individuals go to college having no idea how they are going to pay for it. If you go back to cost of college for one year in 1976, the number comes out to $2,647 based on info from nces.ed.gov. All of this leads to these problems of not making enough money and doing things outside of their potential earnings. An iPhone cost over a $1000 and yet we see homeless people with one in their hand. I don’t even have an iPhone as part of the lower middle class. This is all to say that we are living in this strange time where we are told that it is okay to live in this fake world spending more than we make. Don’t worry about. Do some yoga and get a smoothie. This leads into our next part about expectations.

We all want to live a 1% life or some form of it. Some want to sit on the beach all day and relax. Others want to donate all of their time without having to get paid. Others want to binge watch friends for the 8th time. We have these expectations of what life should be like. Going back to this fake environment, we allow ourselves to expect this lifestyle that we almost no one lives. On top of that, social media creates this overall schema of being rich and famous. It only takes a conversation or two with business owners to realize that they may own a boat but almost never use it. Four houses, but 2 have dust in them. The life we as Millennials was sold on does not exist. Entrepreneurs are surrounding by yachts making a bunch of money when starting a business. Individuals that go to college believe their degree will help them land a better job. Faking it till we make it is in okay strategy to get through our 20s. None of these are the case. Entrepreneurs spend much of their time tired and lonely. Outside of the top 10 schools in America, that piece of paper means nothing, and the reality is the connections when going to Harvard are more important than the degree itself. Faking it till we make it tells us to hold emotions in and spend more than we earn which leads to debt and depression. Now we get into this space of living in this fake environment while also having unrealistic expectations. Who are we to blame? Just about everyone.

Let us start with parents because it is an easy target to explain and lessen the blow to all parents. Mine included, they raised me with hopes of giving me a better life than they had. Because of that, I never really had to struggle. Fast forward to today, and the struggle is real. I have come to love the struggle in many ways but not everyone is so lucky. Most need to live of their parents to stay alive. Living a certain lifestyle that requires money that one cannot make right out of school or college demands this help from outside sources. Parents today love and care for their kids too much. I am not saying to push them out on the street, but I also want people to know that is not required that you help them every time they have a problem. Because of that Millennials are dependent. I know individuals struggling to make a phone call for setting up a doctor’s appointment. Other individuals come that get anxiety when ordering from a fast food restaurant. Parents did not help this matter but at the end of day, the Millennial has the opportunity to change themselves in a way to live happily today. I take full blame for the actions I do not take in order to make my dreams a reality. Every millennial needs to read that sentence and harness it. In the meantime I want to give a quick tip to the managers out there when dealing with millennials. Ask that youngen why they want to be there. What makes them want to work at a certain organization. Whether the answer is money, career, or otherwise help them achieve those goals through the work they are getting done there. Once you know the reason why they work there, you can connect that to the activities required to be successful. That will help greatly with connecting generations for cooperation at the level required to run a business.

Anthony Smith
Management Consultant
Helping Managers assist their employees in finding their why, creating a path to achieve that why, and keeping them on that path.

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