Believe me when I tell you that I've probably seen the “lazy millennial” argument hundreds of times in the past two years, and to say that it's gotten old is an understatement.
A while back I was invited to speak at a conference to chat with some of the players in the financial services industry about how to reach millennials.
Every company in the financial sector (or any sector really) is trying SO desperately to figure out how to crack the code on influencing young people to buy their stuff.
Change is super slow with the big giants (some of them are still buried in using paperwork and excel), so they are working hard on this before we start really making serious money.
I was standing with a group of people before the chat that were all older than me, and the conversation went to millennials and how narcissistic and lazy they are, because of course it did.
Millennials are starting to value time and experiences instead of stuff and work
It was a little hard to keep from rolling my eyes as these people debated why young people are so dumb. They were supposed to be there to learn and adapt their marketing strategies, but instead they had already decided that they knew everything about millennials.
Truth be told – I get a little annoyed when I see people try to “diagnose” the 75 million millennials in America, when they generally have no idea what they are talking about.
But it did make me think a lot about what is going on with this generation, because I'm the textbook “left a job for better work-life balance” guy.
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I'm not going to pretend to be the spokesperson for people my age, because everyone is so different. Some of you probably really enjoy “stuff” and working really hard, so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt if that's the case.
There's this really big shift happening right now where minimalism is becoming popular, people are cool with making less to work less, etc. It seems like a pretty large departure from the consumerism we kinda grew up with.
I think it's about information
Everyone has heard the data about millennials and how we would rather hold cash than invest, and how the great recession has molded our behaviors with money.
I think most of us could share a story about how our parents' 401k's were trashed or any number of financial problems during that time.
We've also heard the stats about work-life balance, which I think is infinitely more interesting than investing trends. I value quality of life much more than money (weird I know).
To me, most of the way we approach the world is directly attributed to having access to the internet for the better part of our lives.
There are so many people that I've met online that are trying to achieve financial independence, retire early, change to jobs with location independence, etc. because they saw someone else doing it via social media or news websites.
It seems to really confuse older generations, because they literally can't relate to having so much access to information as they were developing their views of the world.
The radio and television were great, but don't really hold a candle to how impactful the internet is (older people can weigh in down in the comment section on that).
What it boils down to is that I think they commonly mistake young people “wanting to engineer a higher quality lifestyle” with “not willing to work.”
It's also about accelerated perspective
With the crazy increase in access to information, I really feel that millennials are painfully more aware of all of life's stages. In a weird way we've developed the ability to experience the biggest events of other people's lives whenever we want.
It's pretty crazy to think about…we don't have to do things for ourselves to get an idea of what it's actually like (having kids, buying homes, sending kids to college, etc.).
You can just open up Facebook and bizarro-experience someone else's reality, haha.
I know it's one of the things that drove me to quit my job and attempt to run this business. It's the reason you see people moving into tiny homes or RV's to avoid debt or travel more.
Millennials can “try it before they buy it”, which is kinda cool honestly.
The bottom line is this: don't let opinions about how you are “supposed” to live and work change what you want to do.
If you've ever wanted to change course financially or do something cool with your life, but didn't because your parents or friends think you're lazy – you've got to drop that.
I'm SURE people think I'm lazy…but I just don't care what they think at all anymore!
What you may not realize is that money drives everything, and the biggest companies in the world are about to normalize the crap out of the way millennials approach life so they can make as much as possible.
Also, 20-30 years from now we'll be complaining about the kids coming up after us (and I can tell you from my experience teaching them that they're even lazier than us). 🙂