Understanding Millennials – We Want To Start As Vice President With The Opportunity To Move Up
In an Atlantic article from March 2014, millennials are defined as “those born in 1982 and approximately the 20 years thereafter.” This means that I am a millennial at age 31 and so is my 13 year old friend James on my worship team. We are known as The Next Great Generation. Exactly.
Millennials are growing up in the Facebook age. We can freely publish our ideas and we have the expectation that everyone should read them. Everyone should listen to us because we have a voice and a platform. No other generation has been able to send Tweets to inspire rebellion like the rebellion we have seen in Egypt not that long ago. For millennials, the world is small to us. Not the real world, mind you, the digital world.
From what I’ve seen and from my experience, millennials have a distrust for hard work and the begin-at-the-bottom work ethic. We have been to college, aced it and deserve a high paying job. The word we all hate to hear, but are searching for here is entitled.
This is not a post meant for derision. After all, I’m in this camp. No, this is quite the opposite. Millennials are also the ones poised to do the most for the world. Consider this, Bill and Melinda Gates are doing as much as they can to cure infectious disease in poverty stricken areas of the world. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to give away his fortune. It is yet to be seen what his money can and will do. He is a millennial.
As millennials, we have the greatest obligation that the world has ever known. It was set forward by Jesus, just over 2,000 years ago. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” – Mark 16:15. The stage has been set for we to do this better than anyone who has gone before us. Now we must.
First, always assume someone who is older than you has more experience and life-lived wisdom that you can acquire from them. Second, be willing to start at the bottom of your organization and move upward. This means that you won’t sit at home doing nothing while waiting for the phone to ring awaiting to be offered the vice president’s position at the bank. Begin in the mail room and thrive there. Be so good at that job and making friends that they cannot help but promote you. Be invaluable. Third, make this Bible verse become your lens through which you look at every opportunity: “When you are invited [to the table], take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests” – Luke 14:10.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10; Psalm 111:10). Fear, in this instance, is humility. We have a lot to offer, but we also have a lot to gain. Be a humble servant and watch as the Lord exalts you. That type of lifting is lasting.
Don’t rage against the darkness but turn up the light. If you are a baby-boomer, don’t look down on millennials as the problem. Most of you are their parents and imparted this behavior. Rather, do your best to invest in us. Millennials, look toward those who have gone ahead of you. They have so much to offer. If you find leaders ahead of you who are willing to talk to you: listen. We are generations of God’s chosen people. We are here to fit a purpose: preach the good news.
Share with millennials. Share with baby-boomers. Share with Gen-X’ers. We all have something to give, but we all need to receive.