Entitled or Entrepreneurs? More on Milllennials
The conversation was awkward, as are most of my conversations with people I don't know. I attended a writer's conference over the weekend. It was necessary, therefore, to make small talk with strangers over meals.
My table for this particular lunch was made up of boomer aged women (the primary demographic for this particular conference). Thankfully people were already paired up into their own conversations by the time I sat down - which allowed me to ease in without major fanfare. A good strategy for these sort of social situations.
The conversation was about Millennials. So I did listen carefully.
It started innocuous enough. Kids who help with technology. However, things quickly downgraded to millennial bashing. Something I hear a lot of these days.
Not understanding the younger generations is nothing new, really. It's been happening in the US since the 50's and the birth of rock and roll music. Maybe before that.
So I listened to the talk of lazy millennials who still live at home.
I did speak up.
While I don't know the empirical research, I do know I meet a lot of millennials who are both socially conscious and incredibly entrepreneurial.
I met a young man yesterday who has a coffee roasting business in which he is seeking to link coffee with community development in places where coffee is grown.
I had a conversation last night, in which my daughter was both sad and angry at the way much of America's consumerism has decimated communities and ruined lives in places where our products are made. The conversation was how to do something about the injustice.
There's a young lady in my city who has started a non-profit that serves homeless people in my community with a mobile clothes washing service.
I hear of and see imaginative, smart, savvy millennials starting businesses, non-profits, and doing creative work - and critical thinking all around me. The anecdotal examples above are big projects. Big ideas. Big dreams.
I personally want to empower and assist these kids. Their success may be way more vital to our future than we can even imagine.
Again - I don't have research. Don't know how this compares with my generation or my parent's generation. But I don't have to look far to see a lot of hope.
While it's easy to criticize the faults of younger generations while sitting around the table with chocolate cake and decaf coffee - it's important to remember that many of their faults are simply that of youth - we were guilty of many of the same things when we were young.
And if we look carefully, we'll actually find a lot of good. And a lot of hope.