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Millennials -- The "Entitled" (or "GenMe") Generation

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"Millennials" (generally considered those born 1982-2002) is a really bad, inappropriate, and superficially irrelevant label that totally fails to get to the core mentality, traits and values of this generation...and what drives them. That being an attitude of sheer and utter "shameless entitlement"...earned in their minds for doing nothing more than simply existing..and the world owing them a (huge) debt of gratitude for the privilege of experiencing them...and their obvious wonderfulness.

And if you don't like "Entitled", then feel free to fill in the blank for "The __?__ Generation" with a take your pick selection from the smorgasbord of: "Disrespect", "Pay My Tuition and Then Screw You and Stay Out Of My Life", "Smiley Face", (add parental ooh and ahh) "Oh You're The Best Johnny/Janie", "Narcissist", "Take and Reject", "Me, Myself and I", "No Sense of Urgency", "Fish Handshake", "(Incredibly) Rude", "Knucklehead", "Trophy", "(Incredibly) Selfish", "Screw You", "Parasite", "We Can't Wait for Boomers to Die Off". These are of course but a tiny fraction of the plethora of possible adjectives that fit, so please feel free to indulge your subconscious and/or conscious inherent need to fill in the blank with your own personal fave, as I just don't care to take up any more space in the article adding more of my own. Consider this your own opportunity to finally say what you know you've been chomping at the bit to.

And I guess what do you expect when many in a leadership position in this generation apparently fail to do just that. Neither leading by example nor setting the bar high as the role models they are positioned and have a responsibility to be. They need to also understand their past history and behaviors do matter and are relevant and can't be simply dismissed for the sake of their preserving their lotto win like mega million/billion dollar business, as just a stupid college mistake.

For (but one) example, when you read of VERY disturbing (at least to this author...who has a wonderful daughter) behaviors and viewpoints garnered from published reports (i.e. and ) regarding college frat emails of big names like Eric Spiegel (CEO of Snapchat), like WOW! about "sick" (and I'll add a Boomer wink, as in "not" cool).

Anyway, increasingly I'm going with "Gen Me".

While Millennials are incredibly (at best) self-centered/absorbed, I'd be remiss if I didn't put blame even more so on the Boomers. Like Dr. Frankenstein, they created this monster, a living one. And unlike the proverbial gift that keeps giving, these "gifts" never give. Think parasite. They just take...and take...and take.

A parent's sole job is to prepare their children to be successful in the real world; to be good citizens, respect humanity and become productive members of society. That requires a lot of learning...and with that, a lot of failure. Growing up, Boomers were allowed to fail. They were never totally (purposely) protected from it. And because of that "gift to fail" from their parents, they learned...and grew...up. The Millennials on the other hand, have instead been done a disservice by Boomer parents who didn't allow failure but rather failed themselves in their parenting "fail and learn" teaching responsibilities.

The "Entitled" have not learned because in the aggregate they have not been allowed to experience failure, in sum, being 365/24/7 shielded from every aspect of failure and why the real world will be so painful. An era/generation when failure was never allowed, and when it occurred, not used as an opportunity to learn from, but rather always rewarded with a "happy or smiley face"...or even worse a trophy...the message to the recipient being there is no downside to failure. Rather, failure generates reward.

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Recall in the 60's and 70's kids team sports dinner/award events were family and friends social events with the night capped off with a (very few) "earned" trophies given at the very end. There was a build up during the dinner to the awards portion of the was a (the big) highlight. These were community dinners with an anticipation to the big event -- the announcement of Most Valuable This and Most Valuable That. Indeed, a recognized accomplishment by the award winner and audience and sincerely applauded for same. And for the majority who did not receive one, a healthy incentive to try harder next time to "earn" one of those coveted trophies (rewards).

Contrast that with today with these events being "all awards"(and no dinner) from the time you walk into the hall facility and barely some noshing between names called. That's because "everyone" gets one, and you have to call up every team and every team member. The trophy table looks like it's about to buckle under the weight of so many rows and rows and rows of illegitimate unearned inanimate objects. With everyone getting a trophy for nothing more than "showing up", the ones who were exceptional (The Most Valuable".) now are challenged to take pride. Rather, they think "why bother" when mediocrity and failure is recognized even more so than hard work, performance and results. Is that really the training/learning message we're trying to give our kids to help them prepare for the real world?

I can't speak for everyone, but I think fair to say, while America prides itself on a "justice for all" theme, corporate America (i.e the real world however one defines or examples it) is not a "trophy for all" environment. In fact, rather than everyone getting a pay raise every year, as Millennial thinking would deem they are entitled to, instead one considers themself lucky and thankful to not get a pink slip every morning when they walk in. Wait until Mommy and Daddy have to deal with Johnny and Janie calling up telling their parents to go talk to their boss about receiving no merit raise and/or immediate promotion. Think yelling at the umpires at a kid's baseball game when the Johnny got called out. Maybe not so beyond the realm of possibility as some Millennials even take their parents to a new job orientation day...yes, seriously. I'll add a gratuitous "what total nonsense".

Boomers grew up with little and wanted their kids to have everything. Unfortunately it backfired, and instead of being better than they, Millennials have regressed, knowing little and want (demand) everything. That's because promoting being exceptional, not typical/average was unfortunately not the theme of the day in these homes.

Living in a typical post WWII assembly line-like track built 1500 square foot home with two bedrooms, one bath and 5 to 7 people (2 parents and 3-5 kids), Boomers were generally happy, having nothing. Unfortunately, yet symptomatic of the Millennial attitude problem, comparing that Boomer childhood existence to their "McMansion/BMW" lifestyle and mindset, is like Boomers comparing theirs to the Pilgrims.

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Remember that momentous day in the early 60's when your folks bought that first push button phone from Modell's, long before the first Crazy Eddie all electronics type stores, when Best Buy and Amazon were not even figments of their Founders' imaginations. Heck, their Founder's probably were not yet even born. The "Oh Wow" factor was absolutely huge...Jetson-esque. No waiting anymore for the prior technological breakthrough "rotary dial" to make its excruciatingly lengthy grinding circular return after each number, was tantamount to Millennials going from the laptop to the I-Phone 1.

As a kid, perhaps you were like me. I always hated those friends' telephone numbers with lots of 9's and O's. Took forever just to dial them to talk. Seemed as though between numbers dialed you had time to finish your homework, and walk the dog"and maybe even eat dinner before it reset and you could dial another in the sequence of 7.

How many of Boomers too have had the glorious pleasure in their business career of interviewing a Millennial for a critical job position on their team? Oh come on, it is too sheer ecstasy and fulfilling. What job decision maker doesn't like a 23 year old walking in for a critical job function and introduce themselves saying "Hey Dude", capped off with a (really) yucky fish handshake (and the urge to promptly go the men's room and wash your hands)? Or 2 minutes into the discussion, their cell phone rings and they say "I have to take this" (and without even an "excuse me" no less), exit and 5 or 10 or 15 or "whatever" minutes later re-enter your office and nonchalantly say "oh now where were we?"

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forgot to add...its not too late Boomers to make s... by Brock Novak on Sunday, Jun 1, 2014 at 7:58:03 AM
Excellent commentary, and accurate. However, sadl... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jun 1, 2014 at 10:54:05 PM
A rather pessimistic and simplistic view of an ent... by Shirley Braverman on Monday, Jun 2, 2014 at 7:22:16 AM
First, there are exceptions to every rule. When w... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jun 2, 2014 at 9:27:26 AM