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Unlike Generation X, Millennials are more likely to have grown up in two-parent households where both father and mother worked. However, the parents—perhaps in reaction to the childhood neglect “Gen-X” experienced—offered advice to their children and encouraged their little ones to freely express their opinions and input on matters. Millennials were treated as “little adults,” as regularly depicted in TV sitcoms and Hollywood movies.

Their view of life changed from that of previous generations because the world itself had changed, now smaller, interconnected— truly a global village.

In the book Connecting to the Net.Generation: What Higher Education Professionals Need to Know About Today’s Students, a survey of 7,705 college students in the U.S. revealed the following:

97% own a computer 94% own a cellphone 76% use instant messaging (increasing daily) 15% of instant message users are logged on 24 hours a day/7 days a week

34% use websites as their primary source of news 28% author a blog and 44% read blogs 49% download music using peer-to-peer file sharing 75% of college students have a Facebook account 60% own some type of portable music and/or video device such as an iPod

90% have had premarital sex There was a time when one’s childhood was localized to a neighborhood, a school, a small town. No longer. Millennials shop, research, phone, text-message and write to each other at any time, and at any place. They’ve come to expect receiving what they want—and what they want, they want NOW!

“Hovered Over” Childhoods

Baby boomers have been called self-absorbed. Gen-Xers have been thought of as cynical and non-motivated. Likewise, Millennials are identified by their extremes, their overall strengths and weaknesses. Of course, all descriptions given to any particular generation cannot paint every person with the same brush. There are exceptions.

Most Millennials are not team-oriented and not loyal to employers. They maintain a “pragmatic” view concerning the modern workplace.

“Strange Generation”


Having seen employees laid off after decades of loyal service to the company, Millennials decide, “I won’t let that happen to me.”

They have grown accustomed to looking ahead to potential employment options elsewhere. Despite America’s economic downturn, jobs can still be found, which means that fearing to lose one’s position is not the same as it once was.

There is another reason fear of job loss is almost nonexistent. From conception, Millennials were pampered by “helicopter” parents—fathers and mothers who closely hovered over their children’s every move and personally interceded in their affairs. They were raised during the 1980s and 90s, when “Baby on Board” signs and “My kid made the honor roll!” bumper stickers were prevalent. Millennials grew up being catered to. The world revolved around them. They joined soccer teams and received trophies just for participating. They were told repeatedly, “Everyone is a winner”—which means the value of winning was drastically lowered.

Their lives were micromanaged from one activity to another: soccer, basketball, dance, martial arts, learning to play an instrument. Millennials were made to feel sought after, needed and indispensable. Helicopter parents did not hesitate to try to convince teachers to change Johnny’s grade. They negotiated with the soccer coach to give Suzie more game time.

When Johnny and Suzie went off to college, the hovering continued. College instructors received phone calls and visits from intervening parents trying to get better grades for their children. And when Johnny and Suzie entered the workforce in their chosen profession, Human Resources received phone calls and visits from intervening parents. Some sat in on job interviews! Others told their children’s employers that their salary offer or annual bonus was insufficient.

“Our parents really took from us that opportunity to fall down on our face and learn how to stand up,” said Jason Dorsey, who advises fellow twenty-somethings on how to cope with work (60 Minutes). Speaking of Millennials, he said, “We definitely put lifestyle and friends above work. No question about it.”

Since they were rewarded all their life merely for participating, adult Millennials have been conditioned into believing they should be rewarded “just for showing up.” The real world does not work that way—yet because Millennials will soon outnumber baby boomers and Gen-Xers in the workforce, employers are having to change their tactics in how they relate to their employees. Today’s office

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