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The millennial conundrum in the DMV: five reasons for employer concerns

According to The Washington Post, “almost all of the District’s population growth between 2000 and 2010 was due to young adults age 20 to 34, whose numbers swelled 23 percent.” Though the influx has slowed somewhat, the latest round of census figures showed that half of the District’s population growth between 2010 and 2012 was from Millennials.

Five reasons why employers of Millennials need to be wary and keep crayons handy:

1. Millennials are far more likely than older workers (Boomers) to consult online workplace assessment tools like Glassdoor and rate their workplace, shredding the reputations of bosses and colleagues with equal abandon (and candor)

2. Millennials have the patience (and attention spans) of preschoolers that can create all sorts of good (and bad) energy - think six year olds on a sugar rush in need of a nap!

3. Millennials usually ignore traditional workplace values – in fact, most Millennials are as suspicious of tradition as the much older Boomer generation was in the 1960s

4. Millennials are open to relocation. This can be good (if you are looking for someone willing to come to the DMV) or bad (if you’re trying to hold your wonderlust, wonderkin workers in place).

5. Millennials are tech savvy but some consider them to be social ostriches. This may sound like an oxymoron with so much of our daily communication conducted online (email, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr), but that is precisely the point. How do Millennials engage with people face-to-face? After they get the job, do they get along with cube mates, bosses, vendors, and clients? This skill set may be a bit overstated, but re-read #3. One traditional workplace value that has always helped Boomers (most of whom had never heard of online communication until they were almost thirty) is knowing how to be personable – in person - even when they didn’t feel like it. This can be especially hard (reread #2) for Millennials who feel like adaptation to workforce culture is a form of personality suicide.

Having said these ‘terrible’ things about Millennials, it can also be honestly said that having young people in the workforce is not just the obligation of Boomers, but an honor. And like most older people, Boomers know that one day the Millennials will no longer be the ‘new kids on the block’ and it will serve them well to consider that truism now as the next-gen (middle school through college-age students) are preparing to join them (for better or worse) at work.

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