Posted on 3/14/2018

Why I love our millennials

Pavan Muzumdar

As someone of not immediately discernable ethnicity, I am often privy to candid conversations in closed homogenous groups, members of whom think I am either “one of them” or at the least not “one of the others.” I get to hear intimate and personal opinions about race and culture not readily proclaimed in mixed company or on the public stage. 

But, while it is generally verboten socially, to criticize other races and cultures in polite company, that doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to pointing out the faults of members of a particular age group. I’ll even go as far as saying that it’s fashionable to do so. I am talking about the onslaught of disdain heaped on millennials as lazy, incompetent, attention-seeking and approval hungry from vocal and opinionated members of my age group and those before me. At its best it’s memes about how Mikey is still living in the basement of his parents, and at worst a pernicious attack on the work ethic and productivity of a substantial portion of our workforce.

As one who has the privilege of working with some of the hardest working millennials at multiple companies, I thought it was time to set the record straight. The way I see it, not only are some of these claims false, but they contribute to a narrative that is harmful to society and our ability to steward our future. Not to mention it’s really irritating. 

So, let’s take some of the popular myths about millennials and blow them out of the water:

1. Millennials are lazy

So not true! In my experience millennials are some of the hardest working individuals. Automation Alley wouldn’t have gone through the radical transformation that it has over the last couple of years if it weren’t for the hard work and relentless focus of our millennial team members. 

2. Millennials are constantly looking for approval

This perception is most likely from a lack of social awareness of the perceiver rather than a trait of the perceived. Feeling like you are part of a bigger purpose is a core human need. Millennials tend to be more vocal in their expression of this need – as they should – and may come off as asking for approval. It’s probably more likely that their leaders haven’t quite provided the clarity of mission or vision. This creates mission obscurity in the minds of millennials who want to know if they are on the right track and come off as approval seekers.

3. Millennials have the attention span of insects

In my experience working with millennials, their familiarity with technology makes them  multitaskers. Even so, the attention to detail that I have seen from our millennial workforce across multiple businesses is enough to convince me that this urban legend needs to fade away. 

4. Millennials don’t follow the rules

At Automation Alley, we use a leadership system called icube™. It is designed to maximize teamwork and profit in any business. icube™ requires members to embody a set of behaviors that improve team learning, collaboration and productivity. Among them is the use of business information systems and following process. I am happy to say that our millennials are the most ardent followers and stewards of these rules, that some of our more senior members sometimes have difficulty with because of entrenched behaviors.

Every generation complains about the next. It happened when I was growing up and I see it happening around me now. But just because it happened before, doesn’t mean it should continue. Millennials are younger than us and hence won’t have the life experience that someone in their forties or fifties has, however that doesn’t make them any less capable. So, if you don’t appreciate your millennials, send them our way. We have work to be done!

About the Author

Pavan Muzumdar | Automation Alley

Pavan Muzumdar is the Chief Operating Officer of Automation Alley. His book Venture Perfect: The Leadership System to Maximize Teamwork and Profit in Your Business is now available. It outlines the icube™ system the encapsulates the principles of the books in this article into a system that leaders can use to maximize teamwork and profit in their companies.


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