by Janey Hughes
Millennials, or Generation Y as they’re sometimes known – young people born somewhere between 1980 – 2000 – have got challenges ahead of them, and they’re not what you think they might be….
Beyond the factual, statistical reports produced by governments on the economic impact of the Millennial generation on a country’s GDP, it takes some deep digging around to find anything remotely acknowledging about this generation. Do an internet search and you’ll find there’s plenty of articles on how self-absorbed these young people are, accentuated by the social media culture; how they have unrealistically high expectations of themselves, and others; and feel entitled to have anything they want when they want it.
Yet people quickly forget that with each generation comes a new view of the world – one that’s different yet influenced by both the generations that came before it, and the fabric of society and it’s political and economic agendas. And while there’s much to be said about the financial crises of the 21st century having a major impact on this generation causing historically high levels of unemployment among young people, and uncertainty around the possible long-term economic and social damage, the question is what are we as a society going to do about?
The greatest challenge ahead for Millennials is to break out of the box that the world has put them in; to free themselves of the way others listen and relate to them – the collective agreement about who they are – so they have the room to grow and develop into the adults they want to be, and the world wants and needs them to be……the leaders of the future.
Labeling is what we do so that our brains can make sense of things….understand how something or someone fits into our existing view of the world. Just as with all groups of people who’ve been labeled or stereotyped, the fight for self expression and freedom of speech as an individual, as a person with unique qualities and gifts is real.
If you’re working with young people, consider these four things to support their success:
Ask them what their goals are, and make a plan with them for how to gain the necessary skills to achieve them. Proactively designing a future, being the writer of our own stories is critical for authentic engagement for all of us!
Give them an outlet to express their emotions – all of them – anger and frustration included. Emotions can be powerful when harnessed well, yet aren’t always welcomed in the workplace. Listening goes a long way. Have regular, informal meetings to talk about progress and frustrations, resisting the temptation to fix everything.
Provide opportunities to practice interactions and communication with others beyond emails and social media. It’s all too easy to communicate with the world through a computer. Telephone calls and participating in face to face meetings and social events make for a great training ground to develop a multitude of skills.
Regularly acknowledge successes as well as gaps. Doing this can develop a young person’s appreciation of their growth while keeping their eye on the work ahead still to be done – providing them with a guiding handrail to hold as they step forward into their future one step at a time.
Janey Hughes: Born from a curiosity about what makes people tick, and a love of workability, Jane is an experienced coach, operations, and people and business development leader/mover-and-shaker, with a reputation for designing and delivering innovative strategies to produce unprecedented results with, and for individuals and businesses.
Graduating with a BA(Hons) in French, Business & Finance from the University of Middlesex, London, her career started when she found a niche for herself, working with exceptionally talented creatives in the tech, fashion, design, and filmmaking sectors, who were brilliant at their creative expression yet were missing the ability to translate what they did into a profitable, thriving entrepreneurial business. As these businesses grew, so did the demand for Jane’s work, leading her to engage with larger companies in many different sectors in Europe, the U.S., Central America and the Caribbean.
Currently, Jane works for the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency London & Partners. A not-for-profit public private partnership funded by the Mayor, and a network of commercial partners attracting, and delivering value to businesses, students and visitors to the city. As Vice President of Business Development based in the NYC office, Jane supports North American East Coast companies in all sectors looking to expand and set up a presence in London, providing resources, opportunities, and introductions to key stakeholders, as well as information on the latest developments and impact of the EU Referendum.