By Andrew Heikkila
This is part two of two. In part one, I spoke on the “Millennial” label and what’s right with, as well as what’s wrong with that term. Part one ended with the statement that older and younger generations are more apt to create these labels to define their differences instead of see their similarities. This is how we’re all dealing with accelerated rate of change in our society. Part two deals with that accelerated rate of change, and looks at how it can be both a bane and a benefit.
Recognizing Where the Rest of Society Is
The point of view of the rest of society is important because it gives us context as to why these myths surround young people. It helps to understand that while many young people see Netflix and Google’s targeted suggestions and other types of catered content as a helpful and the product of good marketing, plenty of older and middle-gen folks see instead the death of privacy. Where young kids nowadays revel in technology, some in the older generation see a decay of the morals that they will claim made them who they are today.
What is important for both young and old to realize is that we are all on this ride together. The breakneck pace of change that has permeated the “Millennial’s” life since near birth is the same change that everybody else is experiencing–and it’s both good and bad. Yes, we’re building houses that are hackable–but at least we’re not building them with asbestos anymore. Change creates news problems, just as much as it solves old ones. It’s only by looking both at the past and toward the future, beyond who to blame for the current state of affairs and rather at how to get past trying times, that we might finally come together and solve the problems that affect all of us.
Everything is Changing, and Change Will Never Stop
Survivors of change and contradiction. That should be the definition of the M-Word. I don’t say this to highlight any “affliction” to our generation–change, as mentioned above, can be a wondrous thing. What’s important to realize, however, is that Millennial’s biggest strength comes from the ability to adapt to that change.
Take for instance, the Forbes article titled “If There’s One Thing Millennials Regret, It’s Going to College”. The article makes the point of mentioning that we might be the most educated generation in history right off the bat–but that the cost of going to institution outweighs the benefits, especially when so many free options exist online. While many young people might be in debt, the important thing to realize is that as a generation we’ve stepped up to the plate to conquer that debt. Instead of balking, the most successful Millennials (and, let’s face it, anybody else that’s had to get a job in this day and age) have adapted.
This means that when new technology turns your office into a pulsing electronic data hub, that you pick up a couple data science skills. If you can’t, for whatever reason, adapt in that area, you pick up a different job–maybe you even join the gig economy by picking up a couple of them. The key here is “adaptability” and it’s a term that everybody, regardless of generational signifier, needs to hold onto in the coming days.
Nobody knows what the world will look like when today’s “Millennials” reach 60 and 70 years of age, but here’s to hoping that a larger portion of them are adaptive and responsive to change than our elders–they will have to be, to keep up with the sprinting pace of technology, as well as the generations of ‘whippersnappers’ that proceeds them.
Here’s to being adaptable.
Andrew Heikkila is a Millennial (whatever that means), a writer, an artist and musician, and a small business owner. He believes in the power of change and the power of people. By combining those two elements, he believes, anything is possible. Follow Andy on Twitter @AndyO_TheHammer