LP Magazine

MAR-APR 2019

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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WHY WE'RE ALL MILLENNIALS NOW experimentation. In the world of the millennials, the menu of selfhood options is extraordinary and the range of possible combinations infinite. For the millennials, customization is the holy grail, and it has always been right there within their grasp. From the first day they arrive in the workplace, they are scrambling to keep their options open, leverage their uniqueness for all its potential value, and wrap a customized career around the customized life they are trying to build. Millennials don't look at a large, established organization and think, "I wonder where I'll fit in your complex picture." Rather, they look at an employer and think, "I wonder where you will fit in my life story." Every step of the way, millennials want to find a work situation they can fit into the kind of life they are building for themselves. Because they grew up overly supervised, coached, and constantly rewarded by their parents, millennials will never be content to labor quietly and obediently in a sink-or-swim environment. They are less likely to trust the "system" or the organization to take care of them over time and thus less likely to make immediate sacrifices in exchange for promises of long-term rewards. In fact, the millennials' career path will be a long series of short-term and transactional employment relationships: "What do you want from me? What do you have to offer in return now and for the foreseeable future? I'll stay here as long as it's working out for both of us." They have very high expectations, first for themselves, but also for their employers. And they have the highest expectations for their immediate bosses. And yet they are more likely to disagree openly with employers' missions, policies, and decisions and challenge employment conditions and established reward systems. They are less obedient to employers' rules and supervisors' instructions. They are less likely to heed organizational chart authority. After all, they had incredibly close relationships with their previous authoritative role models, their parents, who treated them as equals. Instead, millennials respect transactional authority: control of resources, control of rewards, and control of work conditions. Because they look to their immediate supervisors to meet their basic needs and expectations, they freely make demands of them. From the Mouth of Millennials These are some of the things that millennials tell us in our interviews: "My boss keeps telling me, 'This is where you are going to be in five years.' I'm dying to tell him, 'I hate to tell you, pal, but you don't know where you're going to be in five years.'" "I know they think they are masters of the universe, but, gee, the Soviet Union disappeared overnight. So could they." "My boss thinks I have a bad attitude. I don't know why he thinks I have a bad attitude! I told him I'll work alongside him on any project until he drops from exhaustion." "They keep telling me, 'This is what you get in five years, ten years, twenty years.' I feel like— what's that expression—they are trying to sell me a bridge." Precisely because millennials seem to both disregard authority figures and at the same time demand a great deal of them, leaders and managers often find millennials maddening and difficult to manage. Meanwhile, the truth, of course, is more complicated. You see, the millennials have been much analyzed but, I believe, largely misunderstood. Though in recent years many so-called experts have jumped on the bandwagon of tackling the challenge of "managing millennials," nearly everyone I know of is simply reinforcing prevailing misconceptions about millennials. They have very high expectations, first for themselves, but also for their employers. And they have the highest expectations for their immediate bosses. 57 LP MAGAZINE | MARCH–APRIL 2019

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