In my City the last few years have been magical – our once static downtown genuinely hopping and the neighborhoods all over the city becoming vibrant, bike friendly, alive. This transformation has picked momentum as the town fills with young adults, those plucky Millennials with their good cheer and androgynous fashion.
A few years back a cadre of us Gen X young professionals were the Cool Kids. In 2008, if I was Out and About, at a pub, gallery opening, or roller derby match, there would be My People, the same 100 of us who would come out to play at these things. Roll up and say, “Where’s Linda, or Jen, or Travis?” and there they would be, taking in the fun of a city we invested in, choosing to stay and make great. And it was.
Fast forward a few years of living, opening a concert hall, getting out on the road, settling in, and another look around for my Friends. Everywhere we go now, many new faces. Lots of them. Friendly, bearded, and oddly dressed.
If there is one thing verifiably true about the Millennials it is that there are a Whole Bunch of them. I tend not to believe what I read or hear until I see it firsthand, and this demographic explosion is no joke. The kids are here, there are lots of them, and they are wicked smart.
I am grateful they have joined us. And so I made a list. Seven Reasons I Love the Millennials…
- They’ve seen Some Things. The three worst things that have happened during my life are all recent events: 9/11, the economic collapse of 2008, and Sandy Hook. Imagine your formative years during this upheaval. Nothing compares. Adversity early makes for stronger adults better capable of modern life.
- Millennials never take your parking spot. They are usually on a bike or rollerblades. Also, they don’t care about cars, near and dear to my own junker driving heart.
- They are Put Together. I dislike sloppy attire and attitudes, particularly in the workplace. I may not understand sleeveless striped shirts on the weekends but most of those dudes can look sharp in the office.
- Millennials take Coaching and Direction. As a boss and consultant I’ve always worked well with young professionals. They’ve been coached and encouraged their whole lives and appreciate positive feedback and reinforcement. Yell at them and expect good outcomes? No. If you manage this way, shame on you.
- They are Smart. Give me someone smart, with a solid work ethics, and I can train them up on tactics and know how. Smart first.
- Millennials are Sunny in nature and outlook. This is a surprise given what the world has shown them but young professionals are not cynical by nature. They want to have an impact.
- They are Ambitious. Listen, every generation is accused of laziness and lacking the proper work ethic to advance. When I was 25 I thought I deserved a corner office. So, probably, did you.
This being said, I wish the youngsters had a better appreciation for history, even recent events. I was chatting football with some fellows, and related Jeff Saturday’s pivotal goal line block against the Patriots in the AFC Championship in 2007. And they looked at me blankly. 2007?
Millennials take all sort of grief for being lazy, uninspired, lacking ambition, work ethic and stamina. I call Nonsense on all of this. I dig the Millennials. You should as well.
But about those Beards, Lads.