In Defense of Millennials

Let’s face it, today’s expectations are totally different than what I grew up with. It was “expected” that when I graduated high school a large percentage of my class would go on to college. Some would join the military and others would possibly go into the trades. But the common denominator was establishing ourselves for a career. We might get married shortly and start a family. That was the blue print of our life expectations.

Then we had the women’s movement, shakeups in the economy and birth control allowing young people a chance to make decisions to put off starting a family until later. Many would graduate college with onerous debt from student loans. Some would find college just wasn’t for them. This generation started to measure their lives by a different matrix or paradigm.

Looking at how the twenty-somethings approach debt, recession and jobs crisis we realize they are not motivated by money. They want to make the world better. To leave their mark so that this world is a better place for their having been here. More compassionate, innovative and sustainable.

A recent article I read quoted Deloitte’s 2015 millennial survey where he found 75% of millennials believe businesses are too focused on their own agendas, rather than improving society. It also found a full 50% would rather take a pay cut to find work that matches their values better and the majority, 90%, wanted to use their skills for good.

Millennials are not motivated nor do they desire to move “up” on a career ladder. They are less concerned with traditional metrics of success, like savings and home ownership, and more concerned with creating lives defined by meaning, community, and shared value.

Millennials also are more health conscious. They try to eat better, work out more regularly and try to live lives that remain active and full of healthy options. These options are really focused on better maintenance of their health. This includes how they eat, sources of their food as well as going to the doctor and having regular eye exams and dental care before it becomes necessary, and while it is still preventative. They spend tremendous hours on electronic devices and recognize the need to have innovative and creative ways to reduce that eye strain. Just yesterday I had a patient that had otherwise normal vision but was experiencing tremendous eye strain from lots of computer use. We have innovative lens options to assist in this before it becomes a spiraling decrease in his vision. This fits his healthy lifestyle and healthy choices perfectly.

We, the older generation, have for a long time worried what we would have caring for our world when we were no longer able to. I have a great deal of faith and confidence in this younger group of young adults to have their priorities straight and to be capable of doing an excellent job. I can let go and leave it in good hands.

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