“Millennials in the Corner Office, Gen Y Bosses Tell Us How They Lead,” was a headline of a Fast Company magazine story. The story’s guts were results from a survey on Millennial leaders conducted by Fast Company, Inc., and the career-development site Muse.
The survey stats should pique your interest more:
A tangible takeaway from generational-based surveys is a reminder of the downside risks of buying into stereotypes about any generation of workers and donors, including Millennials. Generations are hard to define. If you were born between 1982-84, do you feel more Gen X or Millennial? If you’re older than 40, chances are you’ve been on both sides of a generational gambit.
A cultural generation is a specious definition at best. The only agreed-upon generation defined by the demographers of the U.S. Census Bureau is Boomers (1946-1964). Culturally, some of these folks were responsible for the DIY (do it yourself) ethic of Gen Xers (with typical birth years ranging from the early 1960s to the early 1980s), and for building the technology companies (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon) that powered the Millennial culture.
It’s easy to see why generational boundaries serve as shorthand, in place of a more nuanced narrative. To a large extent the media draws these boundaries to fill catch phrases and satisfy short attention spans. Some of the most common but damaging and unproductive stereotypes still heard include: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks and Millennials are entitled. Here are some ideas to change the perception:
It’s time to revise “millennial” as a moniker of youth culture. Whatever you thought a millennial was, it now means an older person.
Melanie Lockwood Herman is executive director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center in Leesburg, Va. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
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