I’ve heard this three or four times over the last few weeks. It was the response that a number of millennial’s gave me when I explained to them that they didn’t interview very well and they needed to change the way they approach things in the interviewing process. Not only did they not seem to care, they took a very nonchalant attitude towards the whole process. When these kids is been out of work for almost 3 months and says he really needs to go to work. He then gives me the “whatever” sarcasm and informs me, or, rather, should I say, tells me that there’ll be another one just around the corner.

One of these kids doesn’t seem to answer voicemails, but responds to texts all day. I tried to explain to him, when it first happened, that I can’t easily communicate feeling with a text and that it works much better when we can talk on the phone. He reluctantly calls me back maybe a day later.

I’ve also noticed with this “whatever” group That where they work i.e. how close to home workplace is makes it bigger difference than to most folks. “I’m just not willing to drive an hour to work every day,” is something I seem to hear more from these kids then I hear from other generations. One told me the other day that he shoots pool every Tuesday and Thursday evenings and the group starts there tournament training at 6:30 PM and if he got a job in Frisco when he lives in uptown he would miss the first half-hour of their practice programs every Tuesday and Thursday evening. The pool was more important than a job.

There is also a hint with these kids that since they been to college and gotten a degree they have a (confidence?) bit of an “entitlement” attitude toward the kind of job they can get. They seem to be rather shocked at the kinds of jobs that are available to them, that seemed to be “below” the expectations they were given when they graduated. Unfortunately they didn’t start thinking about their career and job when they were sophomores like they should have.

These are smarter kids then probably the last two generations, boomers and GenXers, but, no pun intended, it seems to have gone to their head just a bit. My sense is that after a few years in the workplace their expectations will be level set and they will get on with their career the way the rest of us did. Gallup tells us that most of these kids are in jobs that have nothing to do with their degree. Interestingly enough, that may be true for most of us. The differences, I think, is that most of us took what we could get and made the best of it .( my PhD is in higher education administration. I spent three years on a college campus and administrative role and decided that, although I loved students, I hated, literally hated committees. So I got in the placement business! Go figure!)

Our 30-year-old son, James, who founded a startup in California and got funded by Andreessen Horowitz happen to be home visiting and just read this. He’s hired as many as 96 very technical millennial’s in the heart of Silicon Valley. He laughed about what I was writing. He reminded me that it’s only the past 25 years or so that we have defined these “generations.” He claims that there are just as many people in each generation that have, in their own times, the same group of people that were really interested in working very hard and those that weren’t. Maybe because of technology we are more aware of our “labels.” He mentioned that maybe, just maybe, we like to “label” people and then look for the definitions of the labels.



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