Millenial Manpower: Why the Trophy Generation Can’t Find Jobs

From Profiles International – Ty Hall

“In a bold new measure intended to address unemployment among young professionals, lawmakers from across the political spectrum agreed on legislation Tuesday to subsidize the cryogenic freezing of recent college graduates until the job market recovers,” stated an article from The Onion. Of course, that was a joke, but seriously—Millennials need to chill out. The job market may not be entirely to blame; Generation Y is not so much interested in finding a job, but in finding a good job.

I have found a fantastic job writing for Profiles International, so it’s hard for me to empathize. Then again, it has been brought to my attention that I am not the typical Millennial (I was born in 1988). I’m more of an old-school type, and would be (and have been) happy in—and grateful for—any occupation.

You may notice that, thus far, this post has been almost entirely about me—I have said “I” six times now, including these two. Self-centeredness and entitlement is one of the biggest hindrances for twenty-somethings finding work. As workers, they’ve been described as “self-centered, needy, and entitled with unrealistic work expectations.” Although money ranks low on the typical Millennials’ priorities (so they say), a gratifying and flexible job is more important. Eighty percent of Millennials said they want regular feedback from their managers, and 75 percent of them desire mentors. This is due in part to the almost instantaneous feedback the “Trophy Generation” receives on social media, and an educational background steeped in group projects and teamwork.

The same study found that 79 percent of Millennials think they should be allowed to wear jeans to work at least sometimes, and 93 percent say they want a job where they can “be themselves.” In contrast, only 60 percent of Boomers think they should occasionally be allowed to wear jeans. Why do all of these twenty-some-odds think they should be allowed to wear whatever they want? Because that’s what we’ve been told all of our lives.

Here are some other points listed in MTV’s “No Collar Workers” study.

• “Loving what I do” outranked salary and a big bonus.

• 89 percent agree “it’s important to be constantly learning at my job.”

• Half of Millennials would “rather have no job than a job they hate.”

• 95 percent are “motivated to work harder when I know where my work is going.”

• 76 percent believe “my boss could learn a lot from me.”

• 65 percent say “I should be mentoring older coworkers when it comes to tech and getting things done.”

• 66 percent of Millennials agree that they want to invent their own position at their jobs.

• 60 percent of Millennials agree that “if I can’t find a job I like, I will try and figure out a way to create my own job.”

• 83 percent of Millennials are “looking for a job where my creativity is valued.”

It would seem that one of the biggest issues at hand is the desire to be appreciated, and that is understandable. But it is the way in which newcomers to the workforce are requesting such wishes that is resulting in low employment numbers for Generation Y, and an overall bad taste in the mouth of more experienced workers for this entitled Trophy Generation.

I competed at a rodeo once where, during an interval between events, children rode sheep. It was adorable, but at the end of the competition, every single one of the mutton-busting whipper-snappers was given a buckle (all I got was a kick in the head from a two-ton bull and a hefty hospital bill). The point of this digression is to illustrate the “Trophy Generation.” Regardless of performance, every young person was awarded a prize, so it’s reasonable to expect that Millennials coming into the workforce believe they deserve a prize—be it esteem, respect, money, a leadership role, etc.

My points are essentially these:

To the Millennial: Stop whining, complaining, and otherwise expecting much more than you deserve. Why should you have everything you want? We have to earn our place!

To the employer: Please do not assume that, just because we are lumped into Generation Y, all of us are needy, clingy, and otherwise the epitome of irritating. Some of us certainly appreciate the work, and understand what a dollar is really worth.

Do you agree or disagree? Have you ever hired or worked with a Millennial? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments section.  Also, see an infographic on why you should hire Millennials and tips on managing them from our blog, Workplace 101.