In the Kim Kardashian-with-over-ten million-followers, and the did-you-know-Justin-Bieber-was-discovered-on-You-Tube? era, these happenings are a kind of misguided “proof of success” that has dumped gasoline on the already badly burning fire.
The fire is the fact that Gen Y thinks they can accomplish almost anything, but few are explaining to these young adults the exact difficulty involved in becoming the personal brand guru, entrepreneur or “start-up rock star.”
Our experience of history is that people actually can accomplish almost anything: look at examples ranging from the Wright brothers to advances in medicine to the creation of the internet in our time. We believe in all this awe. The problem has become 20-somethings’ badly skewed perception of how hard those feats actually are to accomplish, or whether they even are cut out to try.
And sometimes when it’s explained, it just isn’t mattering to them. That’s when I feel Gen Cry is culpable.
Dear Gen X, Please Know This …
But, amongst all that bad behavior, I’d like to defend some millennial behavior that just isn’t. Our addiction to social media being seen as exclusively narcissistic being a prime example.
While blogging/Tweeting/posting can be tools for exacerbating narcissistic behavior, they are not evil in and of themselves. For example, I learned day one in business that being successful is about how many people you can serve. Having a personal website, social media accounts and a blog is a phenomenal way to help others—some of whom live around the world, and almost all of whom you will never meet—24 hours a day.
On a similar note, websites like LinkedIn and Vizify are not a waste of time. In fact LinkedIn is now becoming a major recruitment tool, and the people not partaking (think: older generations) are missing out.
Not all millennials who open up a web and social media presence are intending to do it ‘Snooki style’ where they will be tweeting what they ate for lunch.
RELATED: 8 Mistakes Not to Make on LinkedIn
After about five or six years of conducting business on the internet, I started getting repeat questions from people about how they, too, could succeed online.
I was spreading myself thin having the same conversations one on one—as I would never turn anyone away who wanted advice—and I realized it would be much more useful if I could write my advice down somewhere, and share it to all in blog form. It saved everyone time, not just me: People no longer needed to take out a cocktail napkin to write stuff down as they talked to me—they could just visit a website.
Not all millennials who open up a web and social media presence are intending to do it ‘Snooki style’ where they will be tweeting what they ate for lunch, who they are better than and where they will be tanning next. There are many who do recognize this helps no one.
Finally, a Tweet’s Worth of Advice
Then there is the complaint from the younger generation about their need for satisfying work. Not only is this demand somewhat normal, but it probably makes sense from a company perspective to properly place anyone of any age where they feel the work is fulfilling, as you will get the best out of that member of the team.
Now, all that said, Gen Y needs to understand a few things: The first one is that work, no matter your position, is not always going to be fulfilling. That is not what “work” used to mean. We flat out need to be tougher about these things. Or go home to mom. (And many of us have.)