Hated Millennials - Cyber Revolutionaries
8 years ago, when I was working for a very large corporation, my boss used to complain terribly about the Millennials. Constant demands, no sacrifice, no attachment, everything is wrong with this generation. Hence the question, what's the problem?
If you were to ask a manager or a director in a large company what characterizes stereotypical Millennial, the answer would sound something like:
- Privileged: people who feel entitled to promotions, raises and other rewards without having to put in the required effort or time.
- Job Seekers: People who are more likely to change jobs frequently in search of better opportunities.
- Requirement of continuous feedback: those who need frequent feedback and verification.
Of course, these are just stereotypes, but it should be noted that due to such perception, the Millennial generation is often perceived as people insecure about their skills, unable to work independently, with high self-esteem and, to top it all, without commitment and loyalty to their employers. I will leave you with this image… Or maybe not.
I'm a millennial myself, and I don’t think it's that bad. If you look at the timeline of generation Y, i.e. Millennials, these are people who were born in the 80s and 90s, so the oldest Millennials are already 43 years old. But if they're so bad, then let’s see if they're good at something too. Here are some examples:
- Tech-savvy: people who are very good with technology because they grew up with it as an integral part of their lives.
- Finding Purpose and Work-Life Balance: Millennials prioritize finding a meaningful job and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
- Collaboration and teamwork orientation: Millennials are often considered strong team players and value collaboration in the workplace.
- Social awareness: Millennials are often perceived as being more socially and environmentally aware than previous generations.
Each of these features can be evaluated positively or negatively. Personally, unfortunately, I very often met with these negative assessments, they keep staring at these phone screens, in general, how is it possible to finish work at 17:00, and their imagination of a perfect world. You can see for yourself that being a Millennial in the corporate world, where the number of hours worked counts, where everyone works for their own success, and all that matters is the number of zeros in the account of our principals, it is not easy at all.
Some time ago I had the opportunity to delve into the subject of organizational culture. Very often this culture is built by its management and not by all employees, and if you look closely, most corporations that were founded before 2000 are companies run by generations of Boomers or generation X, and it is their culture that reigns there. You will also rarely meet Millennials in a management position at these organizations.
Why are they surprised that this simply does not suit us? It’s all part of our growing up process. After all, our childhood is not only about playing football or jumping on a rubber band, but also familiarizing with the new technologies! When our parents used computers for work, we mostly played with them. While our parents listened to dot matrix printers, we played Prince of Persia or Super Mario Bros. The mere fact that at the time we were experiencing hormonal storms, the Internet and mobile telephony appeared made our perception of technology completely different than, for example, my older sister (Gen X).
It is safe to say that we have rediscovered technology. It is not without reason that we have become so attached to technology. Thanks to such achievements as the Internet or mobile phones, our way of communicating with peers has also changed. More and more often we used the emotionless written word, i.e. text messages or instant messengers. Emotions were expressed in emojis because social verbal communication was replaced by digital communication.
So, if we look at Millennials through the prism of the times in which we grew up, it is not surprising that what is considered by previous generations as our disabilities is something normal for us. Well, since as a teenager I could receive an answer to important questions within a few seconds, why now as an adult, if I do something, I can't receive the so-called. "feedback" five minutes after it was sent to my manager? Why is it strange that I don't want to work for the same company for twenty years, when I have experienced constant changes for over twenty years and the company I worked for has undergone three major organizational changes in the past three years? Why am I supposed to limit myself to patterns imposed by other people, since as a child I was taught to break these patterns?
Thanks to the fact that as kids we had the opportunity to play with technology, now we can create the cyber world we want. We do not see technology only as a simple tool to implement business processes. We see cyber as part of our lives, something that accompanies us every day, which is why we want this technology to serve us. We are in a way cyber revolutionaries, because from simple spreadsheets we have created a world where we can exchange information and opinions without limits, a world where a robot vacuums our house and prepares dinner for us. Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, the largest cyber community in the world, is a Millennial, and the portal itself was created as a joke. OpenAI, the creators of Chat GPT, are also Millennials. The creator of the Bolt app (formerly Taxify) was only 19 years old when his work saw the light of day in 2013. In less than a year, his app was already available in many European countries. For comparison, Uber was founded in 2009, and only five years later, i.e. at the same time as Taxify, it began to operate outside the US. This just shows how little millennials need to adapt to the changing environment.
As I mentioned earlier, the characteristics of Millennials can be viewed in two ways. Where some see advantages, others see disadvantages and vice versa. In many of the conversations I have, I very often notice that I idealize my ideas a bit. Well, because it's so simple, just start teaching children about cybersecurity, then everyone will be safe. Of course, then you have to come down to earth and face reality. In such situations, the experience of previous generations comes in handy, as they know perfectly well that big changes don't happen overnight. If we are talking about building a secure cyber society, then we should come up with an individual curriculum for everyone. Cybersecurity is not mathematics or a language, where in a sense one follows patterns. Here, the process must be adapted to the behavior of a particular person. After all, I will not explain to a preschooler that you should use two-factor authentication to log in to the bank or what static code analysis is. Although we speak the same language, in fact each of us communicates completely differently and speaks "their" language.
As far as I'm concerned, I'm a typical Millennial:
- I have my idealized goal, not an empty slogan from a corporate sign.
- I am aware that cybersecurity is a social concept and not just numbers in Excel with specific KPIs.
- I respect my time and if I have to devote it, I prefer to do it for the common good, not to multiply someone's account.
- I am loyal to my beliefs and not to someone who pays me for my knowledge and skills.
- I look at the phone screen more than others and I'm a gadget geek.
- I change my job when something doesn't suit me anymore, because basically working for someone is just a mean to achieve your own goal, not a goal in itself.
Nevertheless, when I say these things, I love talking to people from other generations. They are the ones who can bring us down to earth when we millennials start to soar too high. These are people who have much more experience and have had to make much harder decisions in their lives. Their approach shows that constant change is not always good and sometimes it is worth stopping in one place and simply enjoying what is here and now.
I also love talking to kids who are just entering the adult world. Their perspective of a world without borders is even bigger than ours, and these are people who are only in their teens. For them, there is no such thing as the concept of working behind a desk. Young millionaires who earn from having fun.
Do you think millennials are true revolutionaries? Do you think that with Generation Z entering adulthood, working behind a desk will cease to exist? I am very curious what world my daughter will enter when she becomes an adult. At this rate of change, it will certainly be very different from when we Millennials came of that age.