Thinking like a millennial

From the moment we enter school, we are asked: “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

We are primed for an office life of sitting, taking instruction and executing action plans. Growing up, we see evidence of hard-working parents who stayed with the same company for 20, 30, maybe even 40 years.

Their tenure is celebrated with pins, parties, and plaques that hang nicely on their office wall.

The mindset of following your passion and loving what you do wasn’t as recognized or celebrated in generations past. While Gen Xers may have paved the way for millennials (Gen Y) to think and feel as they do, Xers defined their responsibility as making an income to support their family, grow their net-worth, and plan for retirement.

Millennials don’t necessarily think about responsibility the same way; Instead, they start with gratifying themselves. They strive to figure out what they are passionate about and how they can stand out while pursuing it.

That statement is supported by facts such as:

  • the declining rate of pregnancies
  • the average tenure in a job or with a company (Hint: it sure isn’t 20 years)

Millennials are focused on themselves and if they don’t like something – they move on.

That may be viewed as selfish by some members of the exiting workforce, but it’s not. There is nothing selfish about wanting to be happy. There is more self-awareness in the pursuit of finding your passion, which leads to increased contentment and the associated ripple effect that we all enjoy.

But, what if you are stuck between two generations of thought process? What if you think you should have a career role at an established company – and yet, your heart is telling you to go find your purpose?

For those of us born in the ’80s, this could mean a life-long struggle of deciding which path to pursue: long-tenure at a company and the pins to celebrate it or searching for what makes your heart beat faster and attempting to monetize it.

Of course, this article can’t address each person. Perhaps you’re part of the group whose purpose is clear, and you love where you work and what path you’re on. I tip my hat to you wish you all the best.

Most of us millennials born on the border between Gen X and Gen Y will, however, struggle with how to achieve that goal.

If this article rings true for you, know that you aren’t alone. It’s a challenging place to be stuck, and not just for you – think of the employers looking for good talent and a committed work force.

How does a business attract and keep millennials? Think of those who raised you and can’t understand why you aren’t successful by their definition of “long-tenure.” 

It isn’t that these groups don’t want to understand. It is just an incredibly different approach to life for them. Employers are scrambling to work with millennials by looking at flexible working arrangements, and job perks that extend beyond pay incentive.

Parents are supporting their children’s pursuit of happiness by supplementing their finances through living arrangements. Young adults now live with their parents longer than any previous generation.

So, what does someone do when they can’t decide on the path? There is no clear answer. But, look at those who have been successful by following their dreams. It wasn’t easy. They worked tirelessly and often without recognition or support, but in the end, they succeeded because they believed in themselves.

The pursuit of happiness is the worthiest path you can be on. Remember to thank those who helped or are helping you walk it.

Don’t judge those who can’t understand it. Instead, help them understand by sharing your story of why you feel inspired and what success looks like for you. This is your life.

I’ll finish with this amazing quote from Karen Lamb:

“A year from now you’ll have wish you started today.”


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About the Author

Like most people, Christy has taken many paths. On the officially documented life list, she is a certified yoga teacher, an advanced open water diver, a financial adviser, a Harley rider and owner, an author, a community advocate.

She has been trained in coaching, negotiations and communication studies. She competed at a provincial level in competitive swimming and now has a passion for overall fitness.

On the un-documented list, Christy’s diverse experience is both positive and full of pot holes. She is the founder and CEO of a start-up company that never made it past the start-up phase. She has enough tattoos to classify as a walking adult colouring book. 

She has gone through all the identity phases at different times in her life: hippie, gothic, classy professional, biker... and is now a unique blend of them all. She a spiritual junkie and is addicted to adrenalin, learning and travel.

The bottom line: She is full of love and lessons with a hope that those who read this and connect with her will benefit from what she learned and be inspired to reach for the limitless possibilities of life.

Connect with her at:[email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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