If you were to Google “millennial consulting,” the top 10 results would be a mix of individuals and organizations pledging to help your team crack the code of workforce integration of people between the ages of 19 and 35.
Conversely, if you were to change the search to “boomer consulting,” you would find the LinkedIn profile of “Mike Boomer.”
Why the disparity? Why does one generation, at least perceptually, need so much “help” in understanding how to be teammates with another?
“Don’t look at millennials as a whole, or worse, a problem. Rather, let us all look to Jesus, and serve as teammates.”
Here’s how it sounds to substitute “the next generation” for “millennials:” The [next generation] is lazy, non-committal, entitled, disloyal, narcissistic, unengaged with the world around them, unrealistic, and “waiting for their trophy.”
What’s problematic about labeling millennials is that it assumes a group of people has a monopoly on character flaws not present in any other generation. This idea perpetuates the notion that a generation needs fixing as a whole. That’s why we create a cottage industry built on “cross-generational (cultural) communication,” which is misguided.
My mentor, one of my best friends, is twice my age. He also happens to be the person that taught me how to do my job, all without the help of a consultant. What was the secret formula?
“What’s problematic about labeling millennials is that it assumes a group of people has a monopoly on character flaws not present in any other generation.”
It wasn’t a seminar, book, blog, or article. Just like everything else in life, it came back to Jesus: what He taught us, modeled for us, and commanded us. We also spent a significant amount of time together: thousands of miles in the car, hours in meetings, and more than a few contemplative searches for restaurants that didn’t serve anything spicy.
I asked questions. I sat and observed, and he gave me chances to fail, and then told me how to improve. He gave me tasks, reminders about best practices, history lessons, growth goals, life coaching, and Christmas cards.
In short, he discipled me, and we both learned so much from one another.
This past summer, my wife and I had the opportunity to host two college students. On top of a full course load, they held several jobs between the two of them, were active in their church, and all in all were the epitome of responsible houseguests. We often marveled at the sheer amount of activity they packed into each day, and yet never let a ball drop.
I am surrounded by the next generation day in and day out and I am happy to report a great cause for excitement. I have seen a passion for the world and how God can change it. I have seen a willingness to sacrifice, openness to being taught, and a sincere belief that anything is possible.
From a member of that next generation, I implore you. You are the forerunners. We admire you, appreciate what you have done, and want to serve with you. Don’t look at millennials as a whole, or worse, a problem. Rather, let us all look to Jesus, and serve as teammates, so that the gospel can find a way through those last bastions of darkness, and the dead can find new life.
And then we’ll all Tweet about it.
Nate Pache is WorldVenture’s National Mobilization Director – First Steps, where he engages with magical unicorns (also known as millennials) every day.
(Photo credit: ITU Pictures)