The Millennial Age: Priorities of Millennials

HEE-AH YOO/ THE AGGIE
HEE-AH YOO/ THE AGGIE

 

prokos_opWith every generation, societal priorities and values are bound to evolve; we are molded by world events, experiences and advancing technology. Baby Boomers were profoundly affected by the Civil Rights Movement and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, while Generation Xers were most significantly impacted by the rise of AIDS and the innovation of personal computers.

Millennials have largely been influenced by social media and the growing prominence of Silicon Valley, and our priorities, often emphasizing compassion, have been shaped accordingly.

Priorities of Millennials can seem paradoxical. For example, we want to be self-starters pursuing goals unique to the individual, but we are also committed to helping or accommodating others at the same time. In essence, we value a true work-life balance — and we expect our employers, young or old, to understand this.

I only came to realize the weight of these values, and how they had long been ingrained in me, during my internship this summer at  Wunderkid, a social good startup.

I originally committed to a PR internship for the company because I knew I would learn much more in an intimate work environment. I valued their mission to allow student artists to sell their work in an online gallery and put the earnings toward college tuition. Still, I hadn’t realized how inherently drawn I was to the company’s promotion of “passion meeting profession” until much later. I had no idea that Wunderkid would also shape how I balance my values both at work and more generally in life.  Despite my short hours, the company’s environment fed my ambitious nature and sparked my intense curiosity about the inner-workings of Millennial culture.

As a Millennial herself, founder and CEO of Wunderkid Denise Troy appeals to our generation in every aspect of her business. In founding Wunderkid, she set out to both contribute to the world of art education and redefine the workplace.

Denise reflected on her professional tenets, which included her basis for a harmonious and highly productive work environment.

“In my experience, Millennials thrive when given freedom and a looser framework for their workday […] I trust who I hire and because of this, I see my employees’ work output doubling that of what I’ve seen in other professional environments,” Troy said.

Research suggests that Troy’s philosophy is on point; increasing amounts of young workers would take a pay cut or pass on a promotion in order to better achieve a work-life balance. Roughly 40 percent of Millennials are so unsatisfied with uncompensated parental-leave policies that they would be willing to relocate to a new country.

The takeaway: While many older bosses may be convinced that people who don’t come into the office on a daily basis don’t work as hard, the opposite is actually true. Advancement in technology allows and encourages professional flexibility. Accepting this reality can ultimately allow for a slew of necessary changes in traditional corporate environments. A mutual respect and understanding in the workplace is critical to Millennials, and the productivity and true success of companies depend on this.