In Defense of Millennials
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If you’ve spent any time recruiting, you are painfully aware how hard it is to find good people. It’s even harder to keep them, particularly younger people. But those Millennials are not as unmotivated and unambitious as many claim.
My recent conversation with a partner of a large CPA firm (and my co-worker from decades past) reminded me of this conundrum. Over a dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, he told me how entitled and clueless the Millennials were. After going through one audit season, for instance, one of his new hires felt that he had mastered the craft, and expressed his readiness to be in charge of his audit engagements next year. “Hoon, you remember how long it takes to become competent at the finer points of auditing and to build an expertise in some niches and industries.” He couldn’t hide his frustration.
Sadly, this conversation is not unique. I’ve heard from others of the joys and challenges – mostly challenges – of working with the Millennials. Their comments usually touch on their lack of drive, immaturity and sense of entitlement. Their frustrations range from a minor annoyance to full exasperation.
But were the older generations – the Gen-Xers and the Baby Boomers – any better as young men and women? Were they always so “perfect” that they brought nothing but joy to the generations before theirs?
In thinking through this question, it made me wonder what the Greatest Generation had to say about the Boomers – the idealistic yet rebellious, ungrateful, self-indulgent, dope-smoking generation. What did they think when they saw their sons and daughters at Woodstock, deliriously dancing to psychedelic jams in a chemically altered state?