Answering and uncovering “what Millennials want” is undoubtedly more complex and profound than the simplicity of the topic nearly suggests. In fact, it might be more challenging than anyone would really choose to admit. After all, today’s kids, teenagers and twentysomethings, who make up the Millennial generation, are simply the kids, teenagers and twentysomethings we’ve always known, right? The reality of the situation could not speak a truth that is more unique, distinct and fascinating from anything we’ve previously encountered.
As I was preparing to give a series of talks and presentations on Millennials at PCMA’s Convening Leaders Conference in Las Vegas, of which I gave last week, I came across something absolutely ground-breaking. And it was something that came to fruition as I was wrapping up a project for a very significant client. But something I’ve unknowingly encountered before.
The dreaminess of the Millennial generation has been more than apparent for some time. From living in the “now”, to the proverbial characterizations and scrutiny of perceived entitlement and deservingness, and the immediate pursuit of a dream life and dream lifestyle. Interestingly, all of which has been seriously misperceived as youthful naivety, exuberance and lack of fundamental life experience and experiences.
But don’t tell that to this undyingly optimistic and continually enthusiastic group of determined individuals. Even in these difficult and uncertain economic times, the dreaminess of the Millennials has hardly subsided. In fact, their outlook of their future very much stays the same as they momentarily alter their day-to-day lives as they travel towards their pursuit to happiness.
Their dreams, goals, attitudes and passions are vividly clear and ever-present and almost larger than life. And this is where things get absolutely intriguing and downright interesting. Ask any Millennial about their pursuits of their dreams and goals and attitudes and passions and you will receive the most colourful, beautifully chaotic and elaborate series of characteristics. But then should you ask them on the real-life details it would take to achieve and accomplish their dream life and I guarantee you that you will put them at a loss for words.
The a-ha, eureka, ground-breaking moment here is not the assumption, which many of you will make, that Millennials are in over their heads or babied or stupid or what have you. The a-ha, eureka, ground-breaking moment here is that, yes, Millennials do not know or understand what it takes to get that job or that life-experience or that lifestyle because they are not basing their life in real-life details but rather, they are basing their life in their dream-life details.
And I’ll reiterate that. As the masses of the most educated and arguably smartest generation – ever – make their presence known, they are faced with real life decisions. They will have to work, and contrary to popular belief, they want to work. But they seemingly want to work and pursue work and excel in work based on their own terms and characteristics of the details they believe will help them achieve their dream-life, and not basing these characteristics in the real-life details – you must do this, do that, have this to get from point A to B – that have been previously used to undertake such endeavours.
It really is no wonder than to see massive rifts and work-culture shifts as the Millennials are unknowingly changing the dynamics and the fundamentals of the workplace. Equally, it’s no wonder that many employers are having difficulties with these young workers and employees. After all, how do you deal with individuals who base their progress, ideals and conceptions of their life on a series of characteristics that are dream detail-orientated and not orientated to details many would say are the real-life and necessary details in accomplishing what you as an individual want.
Job-hopping, and get ready for this trend to growing massively amongst Millennials, will not be about boredom or self-discovery or about finding the right career. It will be based in the very essence that if it does not somehow correspond or benefit their pursuit of their dream and dream-life, they will leave and pursue and hunt and attempt to discover something they believe will deliver on what they want.
Once you begin to add all this together, you begin to realize that for Millennials their dreams are not the end point. For them, it’s not the finish line. Rather for Millennials, their dreams and goals and attitudes and passions are the starting point. For them, this is where it’s happening and not hopefully, one day, maybe it will happen. Not only is this untraditional and unconventional to supposed rational thought, it is unbelievably innovative and promising and genuinely refreshing. Something of which could be applied to a variety of categories and subject matters and views and ideologies and on complete broader basis.
We are not dream chasers. And we are most certainly not day-dreamers. We are dream creators, believers, makers and doers. We are a generation where dreams are happening. And happening now. Talk to any Millennial. They’ll speak to you through their dreaminess. We are the generation of dreamers.