I think Millennials get a bad rap sometimes and, yes, I admit I am among their critics. Coming from a different generation tends to put me at odds with some of them when it comes to things like business etiquette and their thinking process. I have also been of the opinion that Millennials don't respect authority or obey the so-called rules. They are selfish---thinking only of themselves when it comes to----WHATEVER----but this week a small group of them proved me wrong.
On Wednesday, members of my (former) training class surprised me with a gift card, cake, appreciation certificate and balloons to say how much they appreciate me. Now I will be perfectly honest, I never saw that coming. Throughout training class, I thought they were just being nice to me because they were taught to be respectful of their elders. But surprisingly, once we left training and moved on to separate teams, they kept me ("Mrs. BAM") in their "loop." I have gotten to know them and think of them as my extended family. They have me shaking my head sometimes at the things they say in our little "chat" but they also make me laugh and some have even felt comfortable enough to share their personal and private issues. On Wednesday, they made me cry.
This blog post is written as a reminder to me and my fellow boomers that we should not be so quick to judge the Millennial generation. Yes, they are different. They're not working the same way as we did when we first entered the job market. They are not kissing ass to get to the top and certainly have no reservations about leaving a company if they don't feel it's a right fit for them----unlike many of their parents and grandparents who worked at one job all of their lives so they could retire and collect social security.
According to Laura Stiller Rikleen, author of the book You Raised Us--Now Work with Us, one stereotype is that Millennials feel "entitled." She says, "Are we confusing the word entitlement with their version of self-confidence and self-respect?" And not all Millennials lack motivation or drive and they do know how to give back. As a matter of fact, on a larger scale, 84 percent of millennials made a charitable donation in 2014 and 70 percent spent at least an hour volunteering.
Millennials are giving back their way and I think I'm okay with that.