It hit me like a snowball in the nose. I was just sitting there, relaxing for the day and it came to me. I figured out why millennials seem to have a rough go at it in this world. That’s right I solved the problem with bridging generations right there at home in New Market. Uh, maybe it wasn’t quite that profound. But I did come across what I think makes a lot of millennials different from the elder generations.
Let’s me start with a little back story. I have a lot of great people who work for me. I assigned one of those folks – a millennial – a project involving spreadsheets and formulas and data input and all those things that no one really wants to do. I told him what I wanted the result to be at the end and he said the four words that millennials can use to bridge the gap between generations and change our course as the worst generation in history.
“I’ll figure it out.”
I didn’t realize until a few days later how important that phrase is. Now granted, I’ve heard it a lot. That’s what we all do a lot of the times. The newspaper business is constantly changing and anyone in it is forced to figure out how to do a new skill or embrace a new challenge.
I just don’t hear many young people saying it like I did that day. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions – and my boss will tell you I ask plenty of them – but there’s something special about taking ownership over a task. Even if it involves spreadsheets and formulas and data input and all those things that no one really wants to do.
The beauty of the whole thing is that he went and figured it out! It was a pain in the butt and took him two days and a whole lot of time on the internet, but he got it and was proud as heck when he came to tell me he got it! He was proud because he took ownership, figured out how to do it, and finished the job.
That’s how older generations thought and that’s where there’s a disconnect between them and us. My generation spends so much of its time worrying about how and why something isn’t going to work that they don’t bother just figuring it out. Now, as seen in my anecdote above, there are millennials who can and do think that way, but there are far too few.
So to you millennials out there, figure it out! And to the older generations, next time a 20-something grandbaby comes calling for gas money for his new Lexus or needs a furnace for his $200,000 house, tell ’em to figure it out!
You made it this far by doing just that and my generation still has time to do so as well – I hope.