You know what I think are two values that millennials have that are different from past generations? Experience and Opportunity.
I don’t think those two things are NOT important to previous generations, but they hold a very different place for millennials in the list of priorities when planning out your life.
Let me give you an example.
I see millennials living very intentionally so they can spend their money on travel – but traveling in a different way than in the past. Travel used to mean getting on a plane, train or car and arriving at some destination, staying in a hotel, and seeing all the touristy spots. Take a few pictures, and buy a few souvenirs, then go back to suburban life and a 9-5 job. But no more.
Now travel means going somewhere for weeks or months if you can – staying in an Air B&B, getting to know local people. Going where they go and experience the true culture. Mission trips, and destinations that are out of the way – not on the normal list of “go to” places.
And not only that, but a lot more millennials are quitting their traditional jobs and learning to free-lance so they can travel full time, and work from the road. When the statistics say more and more millennials are moving back in with their parents, I wonder if it’s because that’s the physical address they use as their “home address,” but they are actually constantly on the road.
I just read an article about this that someone posted on LinkedIn. It’s from the NY Post, and it tells the story of a young woman, Sarah Solomon, who at 25, was already tired of the 9-5 routine, and quit her job as a publicist so she could travel full time. She didn’t see a once-a-year two-week vacation as a way she wanted to live.
The article says she has scaled volcanoes in Guatemala and soaked up waterfalls and beaches around the world, including Indonesia. For now she is living in a rented house in Hawaii, and as long as she has wi-fi, she’s able to work when she needs to as freelancer in public relations. Actually kind of sounds like an appealing life, doesn’t it?
More and more I see this kind of life. Here in Nashville the economy is hot, so there are more jobs than there are people to fill them, and I’ve talked to tons of young people who have moved here, and were so confident they would get a job, they moved here first – then looked for work and a place to live. That’s something that your parents and grandparents would likely not have done – because security was a greater value than opportunity. What millennials see as adventure, experience, and opportunity, your parents see as scary, risky, and sometimes even would call irresponsible.
In the past – security was everything. Get a good steady job, and do what is required of you, so you can stay with that company until retirement. But now, according to a recent study, 42% of millennials plan on leaving their jobs in the next two years.
I just had a conversation with a young woman who is in a secure job with a growing healthcare company, but has decided to leave the job to go all in on a business venture with her cousin and some friends. It’s risky, but she said it will eventually pay off, plus she can live wherever she wants. Interestingly enough, her best friend also works in the same company, and was recently given a promotion because she urged her boss to give her more opportunity.
They personify these qualities. Experience. Opportunity.
Well I’m NOT a millennial, but I’m personally very motivated and energized by being around people who are willing to take risks to get what they want in life. My husband and I have made a few risky moves ourselves, like moving to Mexico with four kids, and I know our parents and a few others probably thought we were a little crazy to leave the secure life and venture out into the unknown, but we’re so glad we did. We have adventure and experience behind us, and continue to leap forward into opportunity.
I really like Jim Carrey’s speech he made a few years ago at the graduation at Maharishi University of Management, where he spoke about his father. He said his father wanted to be a comedian, but instead of taking that big risk, he took the secure route – a safe job as an accountant. But then, when Jim Carrey was 12 years old, his father was laid off from that safe job. He closed the speech saying that you might fail at something you don’t like, so why not risk failing at something you love?