Millenials And Their Milestones

I am decidedly old school. I full well admit that some of the concepts on the new generation are lost on me.

A few years ago, I attended a meeting for an organization dealing with human resources. They discussed how managing “millenial” and “Gen Y” employees was different from the past — how this younger generation is motivated by different things. Honestly, I stopped listening. I’m not sure if that makes me a terrible manager, but I’m not into the touchy-feely management style they were promoting. I have the same high expectations for every one of employees as I do for myself. If these millenials need something different, I’m going to be plum out of millenials to employ.

I’ve been working since I turned 15. I started in the summer stocking shelves and working the warehouse of a school uniform supply store. It was boring, but I learned about the music of Meatloaf and I learned to take pride in my work as the shirts, pants, and skirts in my area stayed neat and organized.

After that, I had a job working for the town highway department where I shoveled sand left over from the winter spraying, and shoveled hot asphalt from the back of a truck to form new curbs. The best days of that job was when we got to build the new sand volleyball court at a town park — the backhoe did most of the work and we lounged under the trees for a week.

These experiences helped me define what it meant to work, and work hard, and work well. The values are more traditional, or at least they weren’t defined differently for me as a member of a “new generation”. I looked at work, marriage, and children as the same milestones of adulthood as my parents.

That leads me to my confusion about this article from the Wall Street Journal on how millenials define milestones of adulthood.

Particularly frustrating is this passage:

Instead, topping their list of adult milestones are more amorphous goals such as “accepting responsibility for yourself” and “making your own decisions” about, say, what car to buy or whether to take a job in a different city, says Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a research professor of psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

I missed my chance — I could have been a research professor figuring out whether 20-somethings are “accepting responsibility for (themselves)”. Who knew?

What drives me nuts is that there is nothing practically different between buying a home (the old way of reaching adulthood) and “accepting responsibility”. Er, isn’t moving out, paying a mortgage, and maintaining a home the same as “accepting responsibility”? Did I miss something?

When did we accept such low standards? If you look at making a decision on what kind of car to buy as a major milestone of adulthood, is paying your utility bill next? Dude, isn’t that setting the bar a little low?

Here’s another gem:

Neither is she rushing to peel off from her family’s cellphone plan, which she shares with her mother Bonnie, 61, of Niwot, Colo., and two grown siblings. While each can afford their own plans—and pays their own share—having a joint account is not only cheaper, it helps the family feel connected.

Look, if staying on the family phone plan is how you feel connected, you missed the boat. By a long shot.

Pick up the phone. Call your mother!

As I said, I’m not hip or with it (despite how cool I am by using Macs in my law office), but I’ll consider my life a partial failure if any of my three sons defines adulthood by calling himself a “pot-bellied pig soccer dad”.

Posted by Victor J. Medina,
Medina Law Group, LLC