"I'm the Millennial to follow"

Millennial this, Millennial that .........

I have a 27 year old rock star client that started our intro call with "well, I'm a millennial". Then just last week a 28 year old morning broadcast news anchor posted on her Instagram "I'm a millennial and I watch the news". After shooting her a text suggesting she stays away from label, her reply "Do tell, but I've heard it all". The reply to that is always pretty simple "I don't want to pile on, have a terrific weekend". This week I ran across a social profile/bio with the tagline "I'm the Millennial to follow". Really? We should follow you because you are 29 years old?

So, other than the pitfalls of "knowing it all", why carve up your audience by creating an affiliation with the smallest possible audience segment? This is a segment that gets most of it's news from alternative channels. My coaching would be to focus on the channels, not the label. Trust me, when you are a 28 yr old blonde and the lone figure/subject in the frame, the biggest duh in the room is that you're a millennial.

When you are in the People Strategies or Talent Management business, everyday there is yet another article that focuses on the work behavior of Millennials that really could have been written in 1995 or even 1965 for that matter. I think as writers, coaches, and mentors we have a tendency to get so deep into a project that we overlook the big picture. We lose perspective on the forest, trees, weeds, and end up in the grubs. We also LOVE headlines. We give considerable effort to sensationalize to grab attention and eyeballs while maintaining truth and good taste.

So the article I was reading is titled:

"What Millennials Do In Their Corporate Jobs That Keep Them From Being Promoted"

From Forbes.com, find it here: <http://www.forbes.com/sites/nataliebacon/2016/12/10/what-millennials-do-in-their-corporate-jobs-that-keep-them-from-being-promoted/2/#262e510a43a3>

In the article there are five areas that are identified as keeping Millennials from being promoted. They are:

  1. Unreasonable Expectations

  2. Unprofessional Dress

  3. Sloppy English, Inappropriate Jokes

  4. Not Embracing Company Culture

  5. Not Developing "Professional" Skills

Every one of these line items was applicable the day I entered into the Corporate workforce in the 80's. I could look back at a number of my performance reviews over the years and find threads of these in nearly every one of them. If I look back at my career as a manager, I can cite examples of individuals from the 80's, 90's, 2000's that had one or more of these as a development challenge or opportunity.

Look, there are a number of difference between us generationally. Our experiences frame us. The Depression, WWI, JFK Assassination, 9/11, and most recently the Great Recession. The one GINORMOUS differentiator across all however is technology. In terms of the fore mentioned article, think about the impact of text messaging on all forms of written communication, regardless of screen.

I'm not saying there aren't generational differences. There are. What I am saying is that as special or as sensational as we try to make this generation to capture attention and eyeballs, our life cycles, that is our cycles in each phase of our lives, have a great deal to do with our differences. Always have. Always will.

Finally, I have a TON of respect for the Millennial generation. Hard working, post great recession generation with all the same struggles of generations before them but with one big exception.....the burden of carrying a label that is loaded with stereo-types and unwarranted and unflattering generalizations.

See more from Mike McNamara, founder/CEO of TalentBlvd, at www.mikemcnamara.com or www.talentblvd.com

About Mike McNamara:

Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Equifax, Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.

Dedicated to giving back, Mike formed The MBAR Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing pro bono career and business consulting services to the underprivileged and underserved. Today as Founder | CEO of TalentBlvd he coaches a number of high profile media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and mid-market businesses.

Mike earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House - St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.

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