Boomers and Gen-Xers often criticize millennials as lazy, entitled, and not willing to work hard. With their firm belief in the correlation of hard work and success, Boomers aren't ready to accept the work ethic of Gen Y workers and millennials. Millennials believe in smart work, while the previous generations remain hard work lovers.
Surprisingly, the recent criticism came from 35-year-old millennial John Winning, CEO of an Australian retail appliances company. "People are expecting more than what they put in. Some of the people coming in for interviews, their expectation of what they should be paid versus how much they're expected to work is just crazy," said John Winning, the fourth-generation boss of the appliance company.
An enormous uproar began against the millionaire millennial CEO who faced backlash after calling out the behavior of some members of his generation, despite himself being handed the CEO’s job by his father. John has stood by his comments despite being aggressively slammed by the millennials, saying that young people are blinded by 'false expectations' in the workplace.
But the critical question every millennial must ask themselves is, "Am I truly lazy and not willing to work hard? Or am I intensely working towards reaching my goals and aspirations?"
Some quick reminders to help contextualize millennials:
- They are the first generation to be heavily influenced by social media and digital technology
- They are the first generation that's always connected to the virtual world
- They are the first generation to experience artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality from a young age
- They are the first generation that gets to have everything near-instantly
- They are the first generation that spends most of the money on buying gadgets, eating out, and traveling
- They are also the first generation grappling with high levels of debts and new lifestyle diseases
What influences millennials?
According to Deloitte, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. At the same time, employee turnover is going to rise as the millennials would always want to be on the move looking for better opportunities. Studies are also showing that one in three millennials will turn over in the first 90 days. The reasons are poor performance, absence, lack of interest, and need for new experiences.
While social media only highlights the over-hyped positive life of people, the reality is that they will always continue trying to manage their current work and maintain grow in careers. With no more hefty pension plans and retirement benefits, it's evident that job-hopping is evident among young workers. A recent Gallup report on the millennial generation reveals that 21 percent of millennials say they've changed jobs within the past year. Gallup also says that only 29 percent of the millennials are engaged at work. They are uninspired, unmotivated, and emotionally disconnected from their workplace.
So, what should the millennials do?
Do precisely do what John Winning did as a young millennial before getting onboard the Winning Group as its fourth generation CEO. After leaving high school with no interest in university, he took a job as a door-to-door salesman. He also worked at a restaurant. When he joined his family business, he started in the warehouse, and soon was driving trucks and doing deliveries. From there, he moved to the store, and got the idea of selling appliances online in 2005.
Some quick tips for millennials in the workforce:
- Stay away from distractions and learn to focus
- Understand that you can't always multitask; focus on one thing at a time
- Be willing to work hard while you still find ways to work smart
- Accept and appreciate the knowledge and wisdom gained from long experience
- As long as you are an employee, be emotionally and behaviorally connected to your job and company
- It's not just about your passion and doing what you love; it's also about a larger and meaningful purpose in life
- Embrace failures as people aren't always happy as projected in social media
- Practice humility and treat people with respect
- Be willing to do the work that you don't enjoy the most
- Be a continuous learner with a curious mind
Ultimately, are millennials lazy and afraid of hard work?
Indeed, millennials aren't over lazy; they are just wired differently with their upbringing. Maybe a few of them are lazy with addiction to social media, games, and entertainment, but most of them like to hustle in today’s world and instead of dismissing them, older workers and employers must make an attempt to understand them and engage them. Inevitably, millennials are the future of work, and it’s time we move beyond preconceived notions about who they are, and support them in doing engaging, meaningful, and productive work.