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Of Life, Millenials and Entitled Futures

One of the things I enjoy most about LINKEDIN – a definite MUST for anyone looking to network, make connections and expand one’s business/career horizons (are you listening my PR students, be sure to sign up!) – are the assorted articles about all manner of trends and issues in today’s madcap, mile-a-minute workday world. Take for example author Kern Carter’s article, “Why 9-5 Won’t Work For Millennials” which, I must admit, really got my writer’s juices flowing. To wit…Author Kern Carter in his article writes, "We (Millennials) are entitled to control our own futures, to feel certain that if we work effectively and efficiently that we will be rewarded with financial security." As has been said by quite a few posters here, to imagine such a thing is possible is a naive, overly idealistic, illusion. NO ONE can "control their own future." Life happens. And truth be told, part of the thrill of living is NOT being able to "control" what happens to you--how boring would it be if you could just map out your entire life and have it work out that way. There will be health issues, tragedies, etc., but there will also be wonderful surprises, things that take us in directions we didn't expect--that's because one thing nearly all of us, boomers, GenXers, GenYers, etc., forget is that we are not static creatures; we are constantly evolving, growing, or at least we ought to be. What I wanted when I was in my 20s is VASTLY different than what I want now that I'm in my 50s, because I'm NOT THE SAME PERSON I was then, because I LIVED. Things happen, adversity builds character, and you actually DENY yourself of much of what life truly offers us by trying to CONTROL it. Some of the millennials who posted in response to Carter's column say they resent being called "entitled," but then here we have a writer saying just that, that they are "entitled" to control their own futures, entitled to "financial security." This is very much a First World, and particularly an American, mindset. What about people in war torn countries, people living in Third World poverty, what are THEY entitled to? Or do they not matter? And here's a thought...if you WANT to be able to retire when you are in your 50s, not have to spend decades in a job, how do you think you achieve that end? You don't do it by writing columns about how you want to control your future. You do it through HARD WORK, by planning, and by executing the plan--it takes discipline and sacrifice, in other words, just what this writer's mother did to ensure that not only did SHE have things she wanted in life, but that her children did too...and who knows whom else, family, friends, etc. The author writes, "We aim to be judged by the impact our output creates, not the time spent in an office or workstation." Again, naive; does the author really think that in the work world, people are judged by how many hours they sit at their desks??? No, they ARE judged by the "impact their output creates." In business, and that includes health care, people expect RESULTS. Thing is, our young colleagues will find that they will NEED to put in long hours at their workstation, wherever that may be, to get the results, which are always expanding, given the impact of technology, etc. People used to think that inventions like the word processor would result in more free time since work could be done faster; but nature abhors a vacuum, and in business, that vacuum is filled with higher goals and expectations. So instead of three projects completed by week's end, now you must have three done per DAY. People don't work long hours "at their work station" because they WANT to. They do what is NECESSARY to get the job done. I'll conclude with this: One of my coworkers likes to put her priorities this way: God, family, your friends, yourself, in that order. I think the thing we boomers resent most about millennial isn't a sense of entitlement, but rather how they tend to "shuffle" these priorities. Life isn't about all about YOU and YOUR financial freedom. It's about making life better for those around us. I encourage our nation's youth to take a tip from Jimmy Stewart's character in MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON: "I wouldn't give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn't have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little looking out for the other fella, too." That's what life is all about, Charlie Brown.