Who You Callin’ Special?

March 9, 2007

There are several key reasons why Millennials have and will continue to make a big impact on the workplace in the coming years.

  • Size: Gen Y or Millennials make up the largest generation since the Baby Boomers. With size comes power, as boomers phase out of the workplace Gen Xers will step up to the plate but Millennials will also be needed to back-fill the massive void generated by retiring boomers.
  • Technology: Millennials are the first generation to be completely comfortable with technology. We’ve grown up with it, particularly younger members of this generation. Millennials are fluent with technology and the older generations will always speak with an accent.
  • Thought Process: Since Millennials have grown up during the Digital Revolution and have grown dependent on the Internet and cell phones, the Millennial mind has morphed. Research has shown that younger minds have become multithreaded instead of a queue that can only effectively manage one input. It sounds a bit out there but just look around your office; those multithreaded thinkers are listening to iPods, tabbing through multiple Firefox tabs, chatting with several people on the office IM, while reading emails using multiple monitors.

So Millennials, count your blessings. We have been afforded the special tag by simply being born at the right time. As technology became mainstream and the home PC was the norm. In elementary school we played Oregon Trail and died of dysentery, in middle school we fell in love with the ‘You got mail’ sound clip and chatted with lovely ladies in the lesbian chat room (who were probably other 13 year old boys), and in high school we hung out in computer labs and developed our own Web sites. We never knew what it was like to not have access to a computer and all of the wonders that came with it.

Older generations have needed to learn technology and consequently many aspects of technology will always come more difficult to older members of the workforce. We all know that guy who can’t get his printer to work b/c he has his USB cord plugged into the network port or the coworker who is shocked over the power of the Alt + Tab combo.

However, please keep in mind these are generalizations. I have a gentleman at work who is in his fifties and is well above most Millennials on the technical curve and a lady who is a Millennial who killed a printer by putting scissors in the way of moving fan blades.