By: Austin Teel
“I think someone needs to explore the subject of the workforce crisis posed by the millennial generation. These kids are so unmotivated, undisciplined, illiterate and distracted, it poses a danger to the financial security of this country and workforce security as more of these kids move into adult jobs.”
The above quote comes from an article I recently read, claiming that Millennials are ruining our country. There’s one part that specifically sticks out to me-the alleged danger Millennials pose to the financial security of this country. Let me propose a question:
Does a life filled with “financial security” run hand-in-hand with a life filled with happiness?
No. Does a life filled with “financial security” make certain obstacles in life more avoidable? Yes. But, does it ensure happiness? Not at all. “You don’t strive to be wealthy one day?” “You don’t care how much money you make?” These are questions I’m often asked, especially by individuals over the age of 40, when I have conversations that involve my goals.
My answer three years ago would have been, “Obviously I care about how much money I make. I want to have a six-figure salary by the time I’m 28 and I’ll work my tail off to make that happen.” I was brainwashed by society to believe that my salary was going to define me. My answer now would be “Obviously I care about how much money I make, but it does not define me. My goal is to spend my entire life doing something I love. It’s that simple.” While attending the University of Iowa, I took a Social Entrepreneurship class that flipped my life upside-down. On one of my first days of class, our professor asked us to analyze one question throughout the semester:
“What does it mean to know why you live?”
When Millennials look at a question like this, we often look toward our elders because they’ve simply been around longer. Our parents and grandparents surely must have figured out why they are living after 50+ years, right? Yet, we often see the opposite. We don’t see passion in what they’re doing to make a living. We don’t see pep in their step when they wake up every morning to go to work; we often see them dreading work. We see them working every day just so they can pay the bills. We see them making a living, but are they enjoying it?
Did they expect us to find what we saw appealing? Millennials are not unmotivated and undisciplined. We are more driven than ever… but it isn’t by money! We’re driven by noble purpose. Noble purpose is the concept of having a positive impact on the world, rather than a negative one. It makes your life meaningful. Everyone has a purpose and that’s what is beautiful about life. Your purpose can be anything you want it to be and yes, it certainly can change over time. It should be something that evolves with your passions. It should be somewhat specific, yet broad enough to encircle everything you do.
In closing, I ask Baby Boomers one simple question: Are Millennials unmotivated or are we just motivated by something you took for granted?