It seems like not a single day goes by without another article lambasting the Millennial Generation (a.k.a. Generation Y) as a group of lazy, immature, self-centered, ne’er do wells. A quick internet search for “Millennial Characteristics” turns a number of unflattering articles detailing the laundry list negative traits supposedly embodied by an entire generation. LiveScience.com, a theoretically unbiased information source on the topic, even put together an article on the subject. When it came down to providing an overview of Millennial characteristics provided four solid paragraphs filled to the brim with negatives, and just three lonely sentences describing the positives.
It all comes across as rather disheartening.
But is it actually the truth? Disregarding the fact that trying to pigeonhole and entire group of people with a few adjectives is patently absurd (depending on what age range you use there is probably somewhere in the vicinity of about 80-90 million Millennials running around out there), the outlook can’t really be all that bleak. There has to be something Generation Y can hang their hats on, and perhaps that something is small business entrepreneurship.
According to Jerry Jao, CEO of Retention Science, perhaps one area where Millennials are ideally suited to excel is entrepreneurship. In an article on Forbes.com he discusses what Millennials can teach us about business, and points out that they are responsible for some of the most innovative startups and technologies today. They’re a generation that embraces change and is capable of making things happen with very few resources. Considering how important that particular characteristic is in the current small business climate, that makes for an environment wherein the Millennial way of thinking becomes very valuable.
According to PewResearch, Millennials also have a propensity to be confident, well connected, and open to change. As we start to rebuild our shattered economy, those characteristics are going to become increasingly more important. Perhaps the generation that is much maligned by the aging Baby Boomers is the very group of people perfectly suited to breathe life back into the small business sector. There is no doubt that Millennials will soon be in the drives seat in this country, it will be interesting to see where they take us.