Are Millenials More or Less Resilient Than the Rest of Us? Part 1 of 2

I feel like I can’t throw a stone these days without hitting a media piece on the struggles of how Millenials and the rest of the world interact (and I can’t throw very far!)


Full disclosure – I’m a Generation Xer right on the cusp of Generation Y. I’ve been hearing this kind of cross-generation griping since I was a teenager, about my own generation and now the generation behind me. My gut tells me that every single generation deals with this same kind of alienation – I definitely recall a lot of “I don’t’ know how to talk to/motivate/work with Generation X!” as well.


I don’t know if we’re all talking about the Millennials because they really are so strange and different from the rest of the generations, or if we’re talking about them because everybody else is talking about them, so it seems like a topic so hot that it must be true. But it got me thinking about whether or not Millenials might, in fact, have a few differences that impact the way they bounce back in the world. In other words, Millennials might just have a different resilience factor.


For Part 1 of this 2-part post, I’m going to look at why Millenials might need some resilience-boosting in their personal lives. You see, many Millenials had a different relationship with their families versus previous generations. The Great Generation was often cared for by close-knit, extended family. Many Boomers report having been free to run around the neighborhood, watched by the community at large. Generation X experienced the rise of the latchkey kid.


Then Generation Y comes along, and “helicopter parenting” becomes a thing. Having your parents “all up in your business,” as they would say, changes a person. Parents of Millenials have clamped down on certain freedoms that previous generations took for granted, because the world seems less safe than it used to be. So Millenials have grown up with an idea that your closest family is always right there, hovering. It makes them approach personal relationships in a different way, either EMBRACING that closeness, or possibly REJECTING it.


Another difference in Millenial resilience is the fact that Millenials have also grown up in the age of the Internet. Everything about their lives is out there for the world to see, like a giant hacked diary, and they not only don’t care, they embrace it. Gen Xers and the generations above are wary of the openness that social media brings, but Millenials don’t seem to care about the permanence of the information they distribute on the Internet. If politicians can bounce back from having all of their dirty laundry aired, the Millenials seem to say, why does it matter if a future employer sees a picture of me on Spring Break?


This attitude speaks to a certain kind of resilience in the Millenial generation. They believe they can make a comeback from anything, and they are closely interconnected with their families and their friends.


In their personal lives, Millenials show a special kind of resilience thanks to the way they’ve interacted with the world. But when it comes to professional resilience, Millenials may not enjoy the same benefits. Stay tuned for Part 2 to learn how Millenials might miss the boat on worklplace resilience.