Millennials: A Boomer's take on this new generation.
I’ve walked my own path for years, disregarding the conventional, so how can I criticise a generation who’s members seek new paths? Okay, so I’m old, that doesn’t mean that y...
I’ve walked my own path for years, disregarding the conventional, so how can I criticise a generation who’s members seek new paths?
Okay, so I’m old, that doesn’t mean that you should disregard what I have to say. The fact is I agree with most of the stuff about Millennials that guys my age hate.
In the world of work, where you get paid for completing a task, you have only two things to sell. The first is your time and the second is your skills.
That’s it, nothing more.
For me the contract was always simple, I work, you pay me, let's negotiate the rate and get started.
For many years I’ve steered clear of ‘employee benefits’, had no interest in maternity rights, paternity rights, holiday pay or even redundancy. I’ve contracted and been paid only for the work I’ve done. For the most part I’ve been paid well, but that’s because I’m good at what I do.
I support the Millennial’s distrust in what employers say. My experience has been that, even in the most positive managerial circumstances, the corporate body has only the vaguest idea of what the business needs when they engage my services. Usually, I pitch in with what I can do and, over time, a consensus arises on what real contribution I can make. Almost invariably this has involved the use of my services for a much longer period than was originally envisaged. On occasion my services have become almost addictive to the client, resulting in long engagements at contract rates. Great business for me, hardly good business for them.
The really interesting thing about this is that I'm no Einstein, I’m not even at the top of the class in the IT fields I practice. What makes me so attractive is a combination of factors.
In the case of the rising generation the mistrust of things corporate stems from experience of failed promises. The young, sometimes first-hand and sometimes vicariously across communications media such as twitter and facebook, have seen their parents and grandparents shafted by the corporate world. And, of course, it doesn't end there, national governments throughout the western world have always been foremost in the use of 'flexible truths'. The result is pension pots that are depleted, or sometimes worthless, skills that are no longer required, promises of long term work withdrawn because someone else will do the job a little cheaper on the other side of the globe.
In this world where fantastic communication media is a reality, why would anyone with a choice believe the tired old tenets and promises that 'Boomer' and 'GenX' members continue to trot out.
Business must realise, Millennials are not only the future, they are the only future. As such, they are hugely important. Their needs and wants must be addressed and employment sales pitches must be targeted at recognition and fulfilment of those needs and wants.
Millennials are powerful, they can and they do, say 'NO'. Stop telling them half truths and making promises that cannot be kept and they might just start to say 'YES'. Don't forget that their world is one of mass communication the like of which the mankind has never seen before. Word, both good and bad, travels fast.
There is a trade off. As always in the history of man the Millennial must eat, and therefore, must earn. You don't need to sell your soul and become a corporate slave, living a life you hate, walking the narrow line in fear of a misstep that could cost your job and your pension. You need to define what it is you can do and want to do. That doesn't mean anchoring your life path to fixed skills. You can retrain, reskill and move on anytime. That's another joy of this wonderful world of mass communication. Look around and see what is needed in the world and select some small thing where you can contribute by the sale of your time and effort. Work at it and become good at it, then look around again and see who else wants what you have to offer. Move and grow.
For a few this will result in a growing passion that will blossom, and possibly make you wealthy, for most it will be a living and a satisfaction.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris has a lifetime experience of IT and Mangement.
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