Millennials are lazy, entitled, and have poor work ethic. It’s easy for older generations to accuse us millennials (and to an extent, the Generation Z after us) of being all these things and more. However, just because Baby Boomers and older generations find it easy to say this by comparing our generation to theirs does not mean it is true.
Our corner-cutting, least-work-as-possible route seems lazy for some, but to quote Bill Gates, the laziest person doing the job will find the easiest way to do it. In short: it’s innovation. And with the perspective of the younger generation, this could mean a lot in the future of innovation, especially in the technology industry.
Millennials and Smart Phones
Millennials and Gen Z’s are being accused of being glued to their phones. And with data estimating that we spend around six to ten hours a day online, with 96 percent owning a smartphone, it may be a fair observation. However, to call this an “addiction” would be inaccurate. Because we grew up in a time where technology was growing and the internet was taking off, this is not an addiction, but more of a way of life, some experts argue.
Older generations who have known a time without phones but are holding them on a constant basis today have an addiction. But for younger people, where a huge chunk of their life belongs online, it has become a way of life. And these two points of view is the main difference between older generations, technology, and the way they innovate, and younger generations, technology, and how we see the standards of technology.
Why the Younger Generation Sees Technology Differently
Unlike older millennials and Baby Boomers, who grew up watching technology advance and phones turn into smartphones, younger millennials and Gen Z’s were born and raised with these advancements being commonplace. Baby Boomers will see apps like Uber and Facebook as advanced, but millennials will see it as the standard because they cannot remember a time before these advancements. This puts younger generations at an advantage to continue innovating.
If technological advancements are the standard, that leaves a lot of leeway to what they will create and see as innovation. When you were a kid and you wanted to order a pizza, you either went to the restaurant yourself or you ordered one over the phone. Today, the option to call still exists, but more people have the option to tap on their phone and effortlessly order a pizza. Innovation for older people, but a ubiquitous feature most restaurants have for the younger generation.
It’s this mindset that differentiates the way generations think. Their expectations are different. And that doesn’t automatically mean they are entitled; it simply means they have a new way of thinking in a new way of reality. And it’s this mindset of seeing advancements as standard that could help people thrive in a digital era.
You See Entitled, We See Efficiency and Innovation
And because of these elevated expectations, it changes the way we perceive things, which also affects how older generations see us. Baby Boomers can call us impatient and easily distracted because we can’t sit still and listen to lecturers in a traditional training room. We see it as an inefficient, time-consuming lecture when we could access YouTube from a young age and could listen to speakers when we wanted and at the speed we can keep up with.
Baby Boomers complain that millennials are not loyal to their employer company and leave after short stays compared to older employees who are content to work in one company their entire lives. But we see it as recognizing when we’re not happy in our company and seeing no reason to stay when LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and other websites provide job ads much easier compared to back when older employees had to scour newspapers to find a job.
Millennials, Technology, and the Future
Because technology has become a standard in the younger generations’ lives, businesses will have to stay in touch with the latest developments to keep up with the younger workforce. In an era where younger people are pickier about where they work, businesses are monitoring their brand and reputation as an employer.
Millennials are demanding, yes, but that’s in comparison to older generations. We are faster and are making new strides and paving the way to a better future. What you’re seeing is not millennials trying to change the status quo to fit their wants, but millennials innovating at a different pace that older generations are not accustomed to. What we make is innovation – our levels and definition of innovation – on things standard to us but already an improvement on its own for older people.
The need for innovation continues to rise as Baby Boomers are retiring and millennials are taking over the industries. Through anticipating industrial and technological changes through research and awareness, it helps older people embrace development, instead of getting left behind and then complaining millennials are changing the way thing always have been.