Dissatisfied, Dysfunctional Millenial?

Millennial’s still get a bad rap in the workplace. But did you know that some Millennial’s are nearly 40 years old? When I tell people this they say “No, no, no! Millennial’s are twenty-somethings, entitled and disloyal.” Yes, some Millennial’s are in their twenties but they actually cover the span of children born between the years 1980 and 2000.

It seems more and more that the word Millennial is not considered as a generation anymore and rather a grouping of, what some would say, are dysfunctional 20-somethings. This couldn’t be further from the truth. They are a generation. In fact, they are the most technologically advanced generation by leaps and bounds above their peers.

If you want to learn how to motivate the Millennial Generation check this out…

The New Currency for Millennials


Historical Commentary

Every generation wants to make the world a better place for their children and mostly they have succeeded. Things are better than they were before. My grandparents and parents wanted to give their grandkids and kids more opportunities and more choice than they had.  And they did. We have more choice now than we ever have. There in lies the problem.

We have so much choice now that it is like walking into a local breakfast joint and reading the menu for the very first time and never being familiar with the food.  This is what happens with Millennial’s. They are being asked to make choices and have great lives but without the context or skills to actually make a difficult decision.  In essence, by making the world a better place, with more choice and hard-decisions removed… the Millennial, even those approaching forty, may have no idea on how to make difficult decisions.

We used to make decisions based on survival, eating, shelter, stability, certainty, etc. Now, we make decisions about luxury, a multitude of options, infamy, convenience, and values, etc. In my coaching practice, I know that when someone is unable to make decisions effectively they keep doing what they have always done – which is often nothing!


A Deeper Explanation

In 2013, Tim Urban provided a convincing anecdotal blog about “Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy”.

Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy


Urban states, “Happiness = Reality – Expectations”. He goes on to site Cal NewPort:

Cal Newport points out that “follow your passion” is a catchphrase that has only gotten going in the last 20 years, according to Google’s Ngram viewer, a tool that shows how prominently a given phrase appears in English print over any period of time. The same Ngram viewer shows that the phrase “a secure career” has gone out of style, just as the phrase “a fulfilling career” has gotten hot.

I like Urban’s article. I think it speaks clearly to some of what the challenges are that we are currently facing. However, what is lost on Urban are the assets that Millennial’s bring to the workplace (world).

  • Technological proficiency, innovation and advancement
  • The highest levels of education that have ever been in the workplace
  • Challenge the status quo and inefficient, traditional corporate structures that are currently breaking down
  • Refuse to settle for less than what they think is possible

While I believe that Urban underplays the role that technology has placed in this evolution. We can and do, as a society, get everything we want in an instant. We no longer have to wait 6 to 8 weeks to receive our shipment from the Sears Catalogue. Instead, I have a box that I carry around with me – a magic box called smart phone (TV, video games, computers, laptops, tablets), that was invented by my parent’s generation and that gives me everything I want in an instant. But Millennial’s were not taught how to do use it responsibly, instead we were allowed to fall asleep with it as our baby-sitter.

Urban does mention that social media is a sticking point where people post the great things about their lives and so Millennial’s expectations may be skewed by what they see and therefore they are disappointed by seeing that “everyone is better than me”.

Being a career and life coach, I can tell you that I have started to see some of the same behaviours from older generations as well. Many of the folks I meet from Generation-X are struggling with managing their own expectations about what it means to have a satisfied life and provide a meaningful contribution.

Essentially, nobody is to blame but rather we are in this transitionary phase in our evolution where we must move from making survival based decisions to managing a new set of expectations and learning to make values based decisions.  Human beings have a psychological human need to feel significant. When we begin to recognize this then it might not be so scary to recognize that we are all special  in our own way and when employers learn to nurture this and recognize the need for significance their staff have (or parents to kids), they will see productivity increase and satisfaction go up.


Christopher is the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Change My Business Coaching—  a fast growing whole-life coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.

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