Home Concepts Concepts of Leadership Community Engagement Setting the Stage for Theory S: II. The Social and Cultural Characteristics of Generational Age Groups

Setting the Stage for Theory S: II. The Social and Cultural Characteristics of Generational Age Groups

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Millennials were raised by Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who tried to be highly involved parents and do everything for their children. This resulted in a generation used to a heavily scheduled and pressured life. Their parents shuttling them from ballet to soccer to flute lessons resulted in the creation of the minivan and the idea of “soccer moms.” Shunning competition and the need for winners and losers in life, Boomers and Xers lobbied for something less judgmental for their Millennial children; they crusaded for the elimination of honor rolls at school and added awards for many types of accomplishments. That’s why Millennials are sometimes called the “Trophy Generation,” or “Trophy Kids,” terms that reflect the trend in competitive sports and many other aspects of life where “no one loses” and everyone gets a “Thanks for Participating” trophy (Endnote 29).

Millennials feel their greatest advantage is being born into a technological society.  They are the experts in social media and know how they work. Having had the Internet most of their lives, they are used to possessing knowledge at their fingertips at all times. Especially are they skilled at multitasking, and they can balance a mobile data terminal and a 12-lead electronic patient care device and still hold a conversation (Endnote 30).

Many employers consider Millennials the hottest workers since WW II’s Rosie the Riveter. They’re sociable, optimistic, realistic, talented, team-oriented, open-minded, tenacious, influential, technically savvy, and achievement-oriented. Because Millennials grew up with heavily scheduled lives, they are well-suited to such work environments. In the workplace they want a job that provides great personal fulfillment. They also look for employers who can help them to achieve their goals, and they want open and constant communication and positive reinforcement from their boss. Guidance is important in helping them to manage their time effectively, and to avoid getting overly stressed (a remnant of their childhood) (Endnote 31).

Millennials started their political awareness during the Clinton years. They are evenly dispersed across the political spectrum, believe no political party has all the answers, and flocked to Obama during the last presidential election. They are more likely than any other generation to hold liberal or progressive opinions across all economic, environmental, security, crime, education, and social issues. And they tend to have relatively positive and optimistic perceptions about the political process and their economic futures (Endnote 32).

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