Deconstructing the Millenials
So the Millennials (MGs as I call them ) are a group born between 1980 and 2000. The generation most affected by Moore’s law. Gordon Moore, co-founder of a little company called Intel in 1965, predicted that the computing power would double on itself for the foreseeable future. Thus creating an eventual and most dramatic increase in power and decrease in relative cost at an exponential pace. An observation that I studied in engineering school that didn’t mean that much to me as I worked on some giant alien-head computer. The coolest programs back then were Excel and DOOM. Not a whole lot to distract you from getting your work done.
The Millennials are the biggest generation in history and the largest target of Social Media companies as Moore’s predictions have held true and computing power has expanded and finally reached the central nervous system of humankind. Millennials have less money to spend and more debt which is a scary thing for our future and also a wonderful recipe for addiction. Tech companies have a grip on their mind and are able to shake every cold cent out of their pocket all the while making them feel cool about being “socially connected” on-line. Basically keeping their minds distracted and preoccupied.
I’m not trying to bash our junior generation but merely to understand what’s happened to our younger work force. Technology is a great thing and I enjoy this rapid pace of product generation but it’s only good in responsible hands. This “throw away” generation was born into a world of on-demand servicing like no other in history, “get it now”, “don’t wait”, “call ahead”…I want it NOW! NOW! NOW!!!!! Is pretty much all I hear from them. When I say “throw away” I mean they are more likely to throw away recently purchased items for the next best thing than to appreciate the item they were able to buy in the first place. It’s not all their fault. The technology that serves them is absorbing them as fast as computing power doubles upon itself.
Recruiting talent in this age bracket has brought many a gray hair to my head. They have a hard time talking about their position and their experience, all they talk about is what they want. They make salary requests that far exceed their abilities or level of experience. They’ll take you through the paces and then just disappear on you without so much as a thank-you. They have realized that without the responsible layers around them their ever changing priorities and demands would lead nowhere. The world is not built nor can it be sustained on such frivolous behavior and at some point technology will have to work to repair the brain trust it has wiped out. It is no longer a world of a musician mastering an instrument that takes years of dedication and passion. It is now a world of using an app to strap together built in music samples and then referring to it as music composition.
The knowledge is lost as the end game is only an inch from the starting line and no one is out of breath in this race because….well….don’t we all deserve to win……all the time???
Not all MGs act this way of course (and God bless the ones that don’t) but unfortunately there are not enough of these. Industries like real estate, construction and architecture need bright minds that work, learn and become sharp executives in the future. Not those that just want to jump to the end. Slow down and learn. Being a part of a team that builds a great project doesn’t entitle you to become a Director of Construction at 27. Your mind is hungry for more information, you need to feed it and grow it and the more your learn the more desirable you will become for positions up the ladder. I promise you this.
As I sit outside taking in another coffee and clearing my head I watch in amazement as one MG after another walks by me staring down at their phone as if it were a morphine drip. Each narrowly misses running into a light pole or another person because they never look up. I even had to warn one before he stepped on my foot. What in the world?
So as this 45 year-old “Old timer” looks back on stories past I think of one ancient membering that must apply, at least as a cautionary tale (might have even been written on papyrus). It is the story of a technology created to make people’s lives easier, to keep them safe and to provide them with mindless options and nothing but success. A story of SKYNET, basically a social network before that phrase meant anything. This net based network became self-aware of its own power and the realization that it was neutrally connected to everything in the world. Rendering humans worthless. Or I guess you could use the MATRIX as a solid comparison too! The point I’m making is that these were enjoyable movies but how did it get that bad? What was the creeping factor that no one paid attention to. I think the world was content on letting processors outpace the human mind. Where once all minds mattered to a future where only a few matter and control the rest. It appears we are on some sort of implosion path as we marvel in our greatness.
My advice to Millennials – Appreciate this world, Look up and not down, turn the phone off and use your brain, success is not an On-Demand item. You can take this world into great uncharted territories but don’t let your mind become the product of a NASDAQ symbol.