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Millennials: The View from When They Are 50 (Surprise Ending)

  • February 25, 2010

From the YouTube video archives I just came across the “U @ 50 Challenge” launched in August 2007 by the AARP (American Association of  Retired Persons). It gave young adults the chance to submit short videos on the subject of what they expect their lives to be like at age 50. The goal of the U@50 Challenge was to encourage intergenerational dialogue and give AARP menbers insight into their views.

I was struck by the submission entitled “Lost Generation” by Jonathan Reed, a student at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Half way through the 2 minute video there is an unexpected twist. Check it out and come back.


As I argue in  The Inclusion Paradox,in the chapter on Millennials entitled, “The Millennials: Why This Generation Will Challenge the Workforce Like No Other,” the emerging generation of Millennials serve up their X’er and Boomer bosses with new challenges, including how to reward young talent that seems to care more about work/life flexibility and the environment than high salaries and prestigious titles.  Their worldview has many Boomer managers judging them negatively as not being committed to quality work, not having a strong work ethic, and not being willing to pay their dues. When judgments like this fly it is usually an indication that a clash of worldviews is at play. Like in the video, not all is as it seems. And in that we all lose.

How may your company be misinterpreting the Millennials in your midst? How can you help reposition how they are viewed? Are you or your company ready to rethink tried, but no longer true, strategies for attraction, engagement, and retention?

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