Millennials are the children of the Baby Boomers, born between the years of 1981 and 1996. Millennials are a huge generation, so they were coveted by marketers and the media since the day they were born. Millennials grew up in a positive economic and political climate. But in recent years their optimism has been challenged by the downturn in the economy, political instability, and the realization that they might not be able to achieve success as quickly as they thought.While ultimately, they still believe things will turn out okay, they’re realizing it might not be as fun or easy as they’d hoped.
When Millennials were growing up, it was all about the group. Their Boomer parents had Millennials participating in team sports and play groups. School was all about the group project and how many different groups or clubs Millennials could join. As a result, Millennials seek validation, self-esteem and input from others and value teamwork and cooperation.
Customization is the norm for Millennials. Unlike previous generations, they grew up customizing their own Nikes, skipping past commercials with DVRs, and downloading and listening to only the songs they wanted to hear. “I want what I want, when and where I want it” has always been the mantra of Millennials.
Their Boomer parents went to great lengths to empower, protect and please them. Their arrival was announced with “Baby on Board” signs in the minivan and they were celebrated with “My child is an honor student,” bumper stickers. Their Boomer parents pumped them full of self-esteem from a very early age; everyone gets a trophy started with the Millennials.
Millennials grew up having their opinions valued. At home they were often the CIO of the household (like Gen Zs), they often knew more than their parents when it came to tech – they were picking out the computer and setting up the network and internet connections and later, teaching their Boomer parents about the latest mobile phones and apps. As a result, they are used to sharing their opinions and having their opinions valued by adults.
This plays out in the workplace, where we often see the battle of the generations rather than the battle of the sexes. Millennials expect to be listened to and to have their opinions valued, after all, their parents and adults have been asking for their opinions all their lives.
It’s not just at the office. Millennials are bold and public with sharing their opinions with the world. Previous generations wrote their feelings in journals and diaries, which were kept in private. Millennials grew up thinking nothing of sharing everything from their deepest thoughts to the mundane details of their lives on blog sites and later, on social media. They have carefully curated their online personas – and believe “I am what I share.”
These days, Millennials are adjusting their expectations. 9/11 and the Great Recession drastically changed the world they expected to be graduating into. The jobs, careers, and economy they thought they could count on never materialized. Today, they’re playing catch up.