This post is going to make me sound very, very, very old.
No matter, I need to get this point across. Before the main topic, who among you remembers the good old dance hits and dance crazes of the 90’s here in the Philippines? There were a lot, but my favorites have got to be; Boom Shack-a-Lack, It’s a Beautiful Life, Men in Black, Cotton Eye Joe, Lick it, Tootsie Roll, Feel Like Dance, Extasy-Extano, Hataw Na, Sa Yahweh, Sweet Soul Review, C’mon n Ride It (The Train) and of course, the national anthem – The Sign.
Remember those? Awesome right? I am sure it brought a lot of memories and feelings just by thinking about them. I bet you remember the steps too!
Now compare that with the recent wave of “Challenges” today. The Nae Nae’s, Hit the Quan’s, The Fetty Wap’s, The Trupets and so on that are not even “dance craze” variety anymore but simply relegated to the status of Meme’s and Vines.
Some people will argue that the dances of today are now more technical and difficult and I will not disagree, but back then – they affected your emotions in a more profound and deeper way. They weren’t meant to intimidate anyone or impress only dancers. Dances from that era inspired you to get up and well… dance.
Apart from emphasizing the first sentence, I swear I have a point.
Earlier this week, I joined a CSAT War Room conducted by one of my peers and was listening to an attendee explain that he’s been having problems at home which is why he’s absent from time to time and why his performance fluctuates. It offended me quite viscerally. I wanted to step in and castigate this person for his mindset because without him knowing, the person he’s talking to dealt with a life threatening family issue too… AND YET kept working, without fail.
I made a quip to my inner circle that I am embarrassed for these Gen Y people, these Millennials (anyone born after 1984 and are now working) for their feeling of entitlement and self-interest. After being jokingly teased by another peer of being too judgmental, I made a step back and reconsidered.
Did A LOT of research and found the video below. Leave it to good old Simon Sinek to give an alternate perspective. While I am not fully convinced on some of his points, there are a few which I liked.
4 things we need to understand about Millennials and WHY they think/act the way they do:
Parenting – too many of them grew up being told they were special. All the time. Told they can have anything they want in life just because they want it. Some of them got into honor classes or received awards not because they deserved it but because the teachers were afraid to deal with the parents. Some of them got “participation medals” which devalues the medal of those that actually worked hard and actually just makes the person who comes in last – embarrassed because he knows he didn’t really earn it. Then they join the workplace and find out in an instant (or slowly) that they are not special, their moms can’t get them a promotion, you don’t get anything for coming in last and they can’t get what they want just because they want it. Self-image shattered.
Technology – this generation is growing up in a Facebook and Instagram world where they are good at putting “filters” on everything. Good at showing people that life is AMAZING even though most of them are depressed. So everybody sounds “tough” and that they have it all “figured out” but they simply don’t. Their superiors ask them what they want and they sound confident about what they want but in reality, they don’t have a clue.
Impatience – they’ve grown up in a world of instant gratification. You want to buy something – you can go online. You want to watch a movie – you can book it online or watch it online. For TV series, you don’t even have to wait for the next week for the next episode – you can just binge watch and finish everything in one weekend. You want to go on a date – you don’t even have to learn the social coping mechanisms, experience the awkwardness and the guessing games, all you need to do is swipe right! Everything is instantaneous EXCEPT job satisfaction and strength of relationships in or out of the workplace. There is no app for that.
Environment – specifically the Corporate Environment where all the aforementioned challenges is a bad mix. Environments that sometimes care more about the numbers than people. Caring about short term gains versus the long term life of the person. This kind of environment doesn’t help them build genuine confidence about their abilities, learn the skills of cooperation, but probably the most critical one of all – teach them that fulfillment and joy mostly comes from working hard over and over for something you care about that builds over time and cannot be rewarded with instant gratification.
So how do you fix?
The pragmatic approach is simple (which is why it’s my favorite)
Parenting – Parents are essentially mentors. Be a good mentor to them. Teach them the value of hard work, finding a cause to believe in and giving your all in the fulfillment of that cause. Teach them that they can get whatever they want, they just have to put in the work.
Technology – guide them how technology assists in improving communication, work and relationships. That is its purpose, to make things easier, faster, better. Technology was not meant to replace face to face communication, collaboration to make work outputs better and actually spending time with each other, to get to know people and improve relationships.
Impatience and Environment – spend time with them, let them learn your values, your real life lessons of things you’ve achieved not instantly, but by finding something you cared about and how you gave it your all and eventually reaped the lasting and repeatable rewards as a result. Build an environment where motivation is allowed to exist, small mistakes are encouraged, asking for help is ok and support is always ever present.
The full video is below. Invest in the time to watch and absorb. It’s the best use of your 15 minutes this week.
After watching this video, I am more inclined to look at these millennials with more understanding. And maybe these new-fangled dance challenges aren’t so bad too.