Disclaimer: I have previously blogged on the topic of millennials and expressed my support for generational evolution.
After reading a column in General Surgery News in which the work ethic of the “youngsters” was again denigrated, my friend Justin Dimick commented on Twitter:
“Why does no one blog when they “catch” a millennial doing something right?”
His point is a valid one- while all of us seem to make plenty of comments about “these kids today…”, we seldom talk about the great things we see them doing. Rather than being moved by curiosity about people who were raised in a very different time and place than those of us born before 1970, we ascribe laziness and bad intent to them. Never mind that laziness and bad intent can be found anywhere if that’s what you are seeking.
So, what have I seen millennials doing right in the last couple of weeks?
- I’ve seen them doing many, many things (some of which appear to be small things, relatively speaking) with great love.
- I’ve seen them challenging themselves in ways that make them a bit uncomfortable, be that trying something new in the professional arena or declaring, “I am a runner!” when that’s an identity they’ve never considered before.
- I’ve seen them being incredibly curious and creative. Y’all know this is how progress is made at a societal level, right?
- I’ve seen them giving generously of time and/ or money to causes they are passionate about.
- I’ve seen them teach and learn in ways that are regarding and collaborative.
Yes, I know that none of those are a terribly specific example of things I’ve seen Millennials doing right recently, but the general themes help to highlight the point that I want to make…the 20 and early 30 somethings are the future of our planet, the future of our profession, and in many ways our own future. They are, just like those of us for whom 40 is well in the rearview mirror, people. They- and we- are all basically good, and we all have the occasional “off”day because we are human. We- and they- want to help make the world around us better.
I suppose some want to take a single incident and use it to generalize about a group in a negative way, and that is certainly their prerogative. As for me, I’ll keep looking for the light, looking for the good things that our millennial colleagues, and the rest of us, are out there doing. That’s my prerogative- that, and closing the 2015 blog posts with music from my senior year of college. Ah, the 80s…good times.