The Millennials

millennialsMillennials are people born between 1980 and 2000, or people who are currently in the age group 14-34, which includes my current cohort of 18-22 year old college students. This week one of my students asked me to take a look at the resume he had drafted. The student will graduate with a degree in business administration this coming May of 2015.

Millennials are a different breed with a life outlook that is unlike any previous generation. Intelligence isn’t a problem; millennials are as intelligent as any past generation of Americans. As we would deduce, they are also more tech savvy than previous generations. However, many millennials are a spoiled and entitled bunch who are in for a rude awakening as they attempt to enter and compete in the labor force.

As I looked at the resume of my student, the first line after the name and address information contained the following:

Objective:  “To obtain my first job after college with a company that aligns their values with my own.”

Seriously? Really? I can’t believe what I just read. Apparently this student is very “special,” just like all of his teachers have told him throughout his lifetime. In fact, he is so “special” that this company is going to hire him and immediately take him to the corporate board room on his first day of work where the CEO and Board of Directors will excitedly ask him about his “values”. After taking copious notes about the “values” of their new “guru”, the CEO and the board of Directors will immediately start “re-aligning” the structure of the corporation to match that of their brilliant, first-day hired millennial!

I guess I’m old school. In my day the “Objective” portion of a resume was to tell the company what you are going to do for them, not the other way around.

A 38 year old executive for a Minneapolis company recently told me that she interviewed a 27 year old millennial for an IT position. The young man didn’t mention his qualifications but went on and on about what he expected the company to do for him. The executive tuned him out immediately and let him finish his spiel. Afterwards she said, “I don’t think that we have a good fit here. However, I do have some advice for you as you continue your job search.” Happily he asked her for her advice. She replied, “I think you should look for a firm where it’s all about you.” He didn’t get her point at all replying “Gee thanks, that is really good advice.” And on he went, looking for that ideal firm.

As an entrepreneur who’s started two manufacturing firms I can’t imagine that we will ever be able to afford people who only think about themselves. The costs will be too high. Our economic survival depends on hiring good people who aren’t afraid of an honest day’s work for a day’s pay. What is this world coming to?  Can anyone afford a Millennial?

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