A Toast to the Millennials

Not by choice, but I had a chance to interact with some Millennials this week end and I must say that I was quite impressed. Millennials describes that generation born between 1980 and 2000, while my generation is the Baby Boom generation born 1946 – 1964. We were the largest, most studied generation … until the Millennials came along. That generation is actually slightly larger, and with the technology available today, will even be more closely analyzed.

I say “not by choice”, not because I fear any interaction with them, but  rarely do I have an opportunity to interact with them.  However, I woke up early Friday (like 2am early) with a kidney stone on the move.  I’ll spare you the details, just ask anyone who has had one.  Pleasantly, there were Millennials on the nursing staff.  I guess what impressed me almost immediately was their friendly disposition and what seemed like a passion for their work.

While my generation was shaped by Woodstock, JFK, RFK and MLK, the Millennials are connected, diverse collaborators shaped by 9/11, texting and the recession (US Chamber of Commerce Foundation).  The Millennial generation “is technically savvy, almost as if it has a digital sixth sense.  A wired, connected world is all that Millennials have ever known.”

“Millennials are marrying much later, if at all.  In 1970 about 44 percent of eighteen- to twenty-five-year old Boomers were married.  Today only 15 percent of Millennials in that age group are married.  And the average age of first marriages has gone up from 20.8 for women in 1970 to 25.5 today.  For men the average age of first marriages has increased from 23.2 to 27.5 over the same period.”  (The Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest Generation by Rainer & Rainer)

The two studies I have cited have a lot to say about the Millennials. Both of my sons were born to that generation and have shown a work ethic comparable to any Boomers I know.  So have what I’ve seen of most of their peers.  I have confidence in their leadership for the coming world. I just wish we were giving them a world in better condition.

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