Dear Millennials, life and employment are not an entitlement

By Mark A. Leon

I was having lunch with a friend recently.  It was BBQ.  No real value added to the story; just wanted to provide a better visual to help paint the textual canvas.  She told me her father retired just days after he hit his retirement eligibility age.

This man had worked for BMW for most of his adult life.  Loyal, dedicated, focused and passionate about work and his company.  This is not the personality of the type of person who would pack up just days after the door opens.  His daughter asked quite candidly, “why are you retiring?”.  The damn millennials.  He described them as lazy, unfocused, unable to see things to completion and standing on a pedestal with a sense of employment entitlement.

He had quite a bit to share with his daughter on that day.

With no statistical analysis or trend theory, I want to reach out personally, professional to millennial and provide some advice that I hope some of you will adhere to.

  • Remove the communication device – There was once a time not too distant in the past, where the value of a sunrise, an extended morning embrace in bed, a long warm shower, a hike outside the signal of any type of communication or the enjoyment of a meal without the need to share the food was the everyday life we knew.  The only thing on the restaurant table was a napkin, silverware, plates, glassware, condiments and conversation.  I know this is hard to believe, but we didn’t have phones to put next to us waiting to react to the next update.  Here is an exercise:  Take a few hours, a day or even two days to go without your phone.  I would suggest a week, but pushing too hard too soon could become dangerous.  Plan an escape to a cabin, without phone or internet and get in touch with the energy of nature and life.
  • Measure the value of your actions – What does that mean?  It is a profound statement and one that could have you rethink all things.  Take a two day period and record all the time you spend on everything.  A study released three months ago indicated that grade school children check social media 120 times per day.  I remember being ten and I am pretty sure my life wasn’t that important.  In fact, still isn’t.  You can record in fifteen minute increments to make it easier.  Look at home much time you look2are on Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc…  Once you have done that, put a grade value based on value added.  For example:  If you volunteered as a homeless shelter for two hours, your value added to the better good of society would be an A or A+.  If you commented on Instagram about how cute outfits are for two hours, your grade would be F.  If your overall grade is less than a B- than we need to make some adjustments.
    • Sample:  Facebook status update review (looking at pictures of nephew) – 7 Hours – Grade D+
    • Sample:  Completed a five year business plan (Focused on future growth) – 20 Hours – Grade A+
    • Sample:  SnapChat of me singing One Direction in front of my mirror and sending it to 20 friends – 30 Minutes – Grade: D (Some creative effort)
    • Writing a letter to friend who is sad – 45 minutes – Grade: A
  • ADHD is not an excuse.  It is a great way to get pills, but not an excuse.  Too many of you have it.  Starts to make the rest of us a little suspicious.  Focus!!! Focus!!!  When you take on work responsibility, put your reputation on the line.  Think about how your actions affect others around you.
  • Start a journal.  Write something meaningful once a day.  Whether it is 10 minutes or an hour, write something.  Create something of substance (song, poem, story, personal letter).  This may help you get in touch with your spiritual side.  Yes, you all have one.
  • Look up.  This one is the simplest one and perhaps the most difficult.  Relationships are the most wonderful gift we have in this world.  They give us trust and love and let us know that there are others out there to help us when we are in a time of need.  They aren’t on your IPhone or Galaxy.  I assure you of that.
  • Gaming is not the next Olympic Phenomenon – Finally, no matter how hard you pray, Playstation and XBox will never be an Olympic sport so you can stop training so hard.

When you are making decisions that affect others in your workplace or your personal life, think about everyone around you.  We share this planet together.  It was built on hard work and if we want to maintain it for generations to come, we need to continue to work hard and together.


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