Back in the day I walked to work. In the snow. And it was uphill both ways.

Snowstorm.jpg“Millennials just don’t want to work. And if you do find a good one, they want to start out at $80,000 a year. They just want to sit in their parent’s basement until that magically happens.”

I was at a company meeting last week where the average age in the room – and this is a total guess – was probably mid to late fifties. I engaged in conversations with many independent agency owners (because that’s what I do, I talk too much) and there was a common theme in every conversation: the struggle is real when it comes to finding good employees. I, like many of the other agents I spoke to at this meeting, come from a relatively small area. People aren’t lining up at our doors waving resumes and chanting ‘we love insurance’. But what stood out in all of these conversations was the comment I mentioned earlier.

“Millennials just don’t want to work. And if you do find a good one, they want to start out at $80,000 a year. They just want to sit in their parent’s basement until that magically happens.”

Either this guy thought I was the exception or he thought I was a lot older than I actually am. I’m hoping it was the first thought…

Older generations will be the first to tell you they walked to work, uphill both ways and in the snow. They were the first in the office and the last to leave. While this is all truly admirable, the times have changed and will continue to change. Millennials work hard, but in different ways.

We aren’t lazy. Work-life balance is a big deal. And lucky for us, growing up in a tech-savvy generation allows for us to work more efficiently. Where it used to take hours to hand write applications, a few minutes and clicks and BAM – policy is issued. We have direct access to more information and people than ever before. Social media takes word of mouth to the next level. That’s obviously only the tip of the iceberg, but the point is – we have the capability of being incredibly productive in less time. You can’t hold that against us. You should use that to your advantage. Millennials can be one of your greatest assets.Which brings me to my next point:

If we are going a good job, tell us. And be genuine about it. Feeling valued is just as important as compensation. Constructive criticism is necessary, but don’t give us the “you’re doing a great job but…” unless you have to. Sometimes “you’re doing a great job” is all we need. I know with me, personally, hearing positive feedback gets me motivated. It makes me want to strive for more and work harder. We all need wisdom and guidance. I thrive on talking with older generations and learning what they didn’t different. What made them successful. But there’s a difference in telling us stories that will benefit and uplift us versus telling us how hard you had it. Value us. We will get pumped. We will work harder. Your business will grow. Everyone wins.

Millennials are the future. They’re your retirement plan. Work together with us. Teach us. Trust us. And remember, if you work against us, it’ll probably end up on social media somewhere…

3 thoughts on “Back in the day I walked to work. In the snow. And it was uphill both ways.

  1. Ash- I love this discussion. As a parent to a millennial, and a friend to many millennials, I take great pride in working with you, trusting you and teaching you. I’m stuck in the middle of the generation who walked to work in the snow, up hill, both ways and the millennials who value their cell phone more than any other item they possess. My generation saw the birth of the internet and are caught between figuring out if its still cool to have a FB page or if we should abandon it for a snap chat account. I see in my own millennial the strong desire to balance work and play to the point where each is equally fulfilling. I struggle with teaching him to struggle and fight and work harder than all others. At some point we need to find the middle ground, him and I, with my expectations and his and work together to make sure he is successful in life. I would offer a bit of advice to those who are in search for that same balance, arm yourself with as many tools as you can, gain as much knowledge as you can, work as hard as you can and learn from us as often as you can. Then go play and have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post! Was in a similar situation – at the table with 20+ professionals who have been leading the industry for decades – expressing their concern about millennials. We need to build a bridge- as they get ready to pass on the torch and we prepare to take this industry by storm. We’ve got this!


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