Is it just me, or do you feel that millennials tend to get a pretty bad rap? There is always another “authoritative” analysis or generalization on the attitude of millennials: from articles on how lazy they are, to how entitled they can be, their need for instant gratification, and how they’re essentially losing their religion (pardon the R.E.M. reference — I had to).
Let’s take a moment to break down some of these preconceived notions, shall we? Yes, millennials are different. They are often accused of being lazy — but isn’t that what every generation mutters about the next? Today, change is the new constant. And digital technology has a huge role to play. From our work-life to our social interactions, digital media is core to our lives — improving our productivity and facilitating how we connect with the world around us. And this change is what millennials bring to the table.
Millennials are digital natives who have grown up in a connected world.Do you remember skimming through an encyclopedia (the O.G. Google) for your school research? Or flipping through yellow pages to order Chinese takeout? Because millennials sure don’t. They have never known a world before computers. Or the Internet. Or mobile phones. They grew up with desktops in their classrooms and iPods in their pockets, so it’s no wonder they’re glued to their digital screens today. And neither is it a bad thing.
Unencumbered by the weight of legacy and tradition, the millennial is making very conscious work and lifestyle choices. Their values are closely tied to their dot-com roots, resulting in “millennials” being more of a mindset than a demographic. This mindset is characterized by an entrepreneurial approach that looks at everything through a lens of innovation and says, “there’s gotta be a better way.” It is one that values energy efficiency (often mistaken for laziness) and results in this tech-savvy generation constantly looking at ways to make things easier, faster, adaptable, and more intuitive. Furthermore, the millennial mindset is revolutionizing how one perceives and creates value in the workplace — questioning the very nature of the 9-to-5 regimen. For millennials, real value lies in productivity and results — not hours clocked in. For them, almost any work you do at an office can be done remotely on a laptop. And, so, the “Remote Generation” was born.
While working remotely was a novelty a few years ago, the numbers climbas today’s emphasis on flexibility and mobility transforms the workforce. Turning the in-office job into an anachronism, the remote generation is working diligently from far-off destinations. As you can imagine, it’s a pretty swanky life. The world is literally your playground. And businesses today are excited to take advantage of a global workforce of unique talents. But if we look a little deeper, we realize this is not exactly an attempt to escape the office. It’s about realizing that “life” and adventure don’t have to fit into tiny windows of opportunities between work-weeks. It’s about bridging that gap by being efficient, because time really is our most valuable commodity. And we really should make the most of it.
As time hurries on, what we consider absolute will make way for new realities. Everything today’s millennials know will change, and tomorrow’s “lazy” generation will take the spotlight. Those that misunderstand today’s Remote Generation will continue to believe that technology is slowly taking over our lives, and that we’re headed towards our eventual doom. I’d like to be a troll and tell them that the human workforce will soon be replaced by robots with artificial intelligence, because why not. But for now, I’m quite okay working from my hammock on this beautiful beach. I think I’ll stay a while.