I'm often told by headhunters that Baby Boomers are harder workers and more dedicated than Millennials, which frustrates them because corporations often have notions that Baby Boomers can't take the pressure and stress. I was talking to my brother over Thanksgiving. He like many our age can only find work as a contractor (with periods of unemployment when you are let go with no notice), however, the permanent workers in his company are mostly Millennials.
His observation is that most of them care little about deadlines or whether the firm is successful. Most spend their days in a cubicle with headphones on listening to music rather than associate with other co workers. Moreover, any spare minute is usually dedicated to hunting for a new job not trying to gleam insight about the their present company or department. Since he is a contractor they tend to confine in him and their attitude is I really don't give a s@@t about this place. My own experiences have been similar when Millennials have spoken to me.
My brother believes the Millennials based upon their observation of the workplace have it right and after thought I would agree with him.
Many Baby Boomers, me included, were the product of parents that enjoyed and greatly benefited from social mobility. In the 60s, 70s and even into the 80s a college degree, hard work, loyalty and dedication meant a really good career with an eventual profitable retirement. Of course that's all changed now. We now have come to live in a world of endless corporate downsizing, very limited promotions, and the expectations to stay employed we need to change employers every 2-3 years. A young person entering the workforce today is told they should expect to work for 12-15 employers over their lifetime.
Millennials have seen a very different experience than we Baby Boomers did when we were younger. They've seen older adults laid off never again able to recreate what they once have. They see a college degree no longer has much cache, in fact it gets you a job that 20 years ago required only a high school degree. They see their wages staying flat with no promotional opportunities while the C level walks away with never ending double digit increases. Most of their time is spent in a constant state of job hunting, embellishing their resume, and going through the nerve grating experience of "networking", which they soon come to realize is more hype than substance as far as results.
Naturally they've become cynical and detached. Since they have no plans to be with their current employer two years down the road what do they care if the enterprise files for bankruptcy in three years. They know that seniority is no longer a valued asset but a liability. They assume that when they hit their 50s like the adults around them they will be canned, spending their remanding days desperately looking for a job that can pay the bills.
Moreover, they have to consider that the gig economy, stringing together multiple part time jobs and working temporary/contract will be their ultimate future. Can you really blame them for doing the minimum at best, having not a care about their company's financial performance and ready to leave at the drop of a dime if the company down the street will pay slightly more?