Going to Bat for Millennials

President Calvin Coolidge once said, “It takes a great man to be a good listener.”

In some ways, we need to own up to the fact that we really do come off as obnoxious punks from time to time.  It’s just our lot in life as young people.  It happened to the Gen-X’ers before us, and the Jonsers and Baby Boomers before them, and, while I hate to admit it – some Millennials are just lazy, stuck-up, spoiled brats.  Some bad apples are spoiling the bunch.

Just because people say a thing doesn’t make it true – but hot damn, a lot of them are saying it.

We really are going to change the world. I think we all ought to stop for a few moments each day and think about that.  What kind of world do we want to live in?  What kind of lives to we want to lead?  There’s no doubt about it – our generation is the authority on all things Internet.  We’ve got a collaborative spirit, the likes of which have never been seen before.  If we want to effect change, we can certainly do it en masse.

So why are we coming up against this Gray Wall?  The Gray Wall is the Baby Boomers, Jonsers, and Gen-Xers who fear us and try to block the change we bring to every job we’ve ever had by using their social and corporate influence.  I thought we were the generation that knew how to connect to people?  Or is it only people we like?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our generation connects with the world.  We’ve got Blogs, Twitter, Facebook updates, MySpace statuses and all mannor of things to talk at people.  It’s so easy for us to climb on our meager soapbox websites and bang our shoes on the podium.  We certainly do entertain comments on our blogs, read other people’s status updates, subscribe to people on Twitter.  But do we take the time to listen to people who talk back to us in an analog way?  Have we become so attached to our technology that we no longer pay attention to the people using outdated methods like face-to-face and phone and e-mail conversations to communicate with us?

AppleI think we ought to.  I get so frustrated by e-mail sometimes, because it’s so impersonal.  It’s also very slow.  But then, I can’t remember the last time I actually mailed a letter.  Or neglected my cell phone for more than an hour at a time.  As we all move into the working world, we have to remember to re-connect to our analog-leaning co-workers.  We need to remember that we’re at bat – not just for ourselves, but for every one of us.

We can’t afford to allow each other to act like lazy, entitled, spoiled brats.  If we see bad behavior, if we notice it in ourselves, we have to correct it.  The only thing that stops “bad apples” at work is strong leadership from the same level as that bad apple.  I’m typing away at my blog because I believe that to be true.  I believe it actually makes a difference.  If I can somehow manipulate my vocabulary and twist these mangled words in a way that I’m not being preachy and makes a reader think… I – I don’t know.  Maybe that will make a difference.

Help me save the bunch.  Be a leader, too.

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