Every generation has its defining characteristics and unfortunately for millennials, quite a few of them are not too flattering, if measured by baby boomer or earlier generations' standards. Since Gen Y, which is another name that millennials go by, comprises the largest component of the workforce in 2015, their habits, good or bad, will have a profound effect on workplace policies, lifestyles and even on the country's economy.
Here are some bad habits of millennials that can hinder their success in their career advancements and personal lives. Do any of them apply to you?
1. They take the work-life balance principle to the extreme.
A sound mix of working and relaxing leads to more satisfaction in life, good physical and mental health and a general sense of well-being. As a result, a person is less stressed and more motivated, leading to better quality and quantity of output and better relationships with other people.
But millennials place too much emphasis on the "life" part of the work-life balance, taking frequent vacations and forgoing bigger income in favor of flexible work hours and having time to pursue interests outside of work. Yet, they expect to earn enough money to spend on their travels and leisure activities.
But the reality is, the amount of money earned is directly proportional to the effort expended. Giving "me time" too much priority hinders earning potential and financial achievement.
2. They don't have savings yet rack up credit card debts.
Millennials - people born in the period of the early '80s to 2000s - are not too concerned about their future and are not setting aside savings for retirement. Almost 70% of individuals belonging to this age group have less than $5,000 in their savings account and more than half of them do not pay their credit cards in full or are late in payments.
Financial literacy is one problem besetting these young adults but they are not even aware of it. For them, "making it" means having enough money to indulge in the luxuries of travelling, be the first to own the latest gadget, eat out several times a week and spend for other life experiences. The more important issues of being debt-free and saving up for a comfortable retirement plan are deferred. If these habits remain unchecked, the economy could be ruined decades from now.
Millennials need a lesson on financial management. They can start by tracking expenses on their credit cards, having a long-term financial plan and setting aside funds for emergency and retirement purposes.
3. They have a sense of entitlement.
The American Psychiatric Association defines sense of entitlement as "unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations." It further adds that this trait is characteristic of people with narcissistic personality disorder. The question now is, are all millennials narcissists? If it's any consolation, the selfishness continuum (because a sense of entitlement is, to a large extent, simply being selfish,) runs from feeling mildly to extremely entitled, so the disorder may be present in most normal young people.
The Gen Yers feel that the world owes them, that they are special and unique and therefore should be treated better and given more than their due. One theory for this mindset is that the parenting style of the 1980s emphasized raising a child's self-esteem. So moms and dads were constantly praising their children to the extent that these kids became self-centered and narcissistic. Today, parents and psychologists know better. Intelligence and talent by themselves do not bring success. Millennials must cultivate the traits of industriousness, dedication and hard work to achieve their goals. They should also learn to develop appreciation, gratitude and compassion towards others.
4. They expect instant gratification.
The young today grew up on technology; hence, the need for instant gratification is felt more strongly than those born before the age of smartphones and the internet. Merchants too are capitalizing on the "faster is better" belief. Thus, internet service providers compete to give their customers the fastest connection, Amazon offers same-day delivery, apps allow people to buy movie tickets or reserve for dinner in a restaurant instead of standing in line. All these are available at a higher price, though. The virtue of patience has become obsolete and irrelevant in this connected age.
How does the desire for urgency interfere with success? Multitasking is one consequence. The current generation of youth believes that doing multiple tasks simultaneously using the several technologies available will enable them to accomplish more in less time. New research has found that the brain can focus on only one thing at a time. By multitasking, productivity decreases and the quality of output is negatively affected. Other negative effects are lessened retention of information and shorter attention span.
Examples of giving in to instant gratification that lead to financial ruin are borrowing from a bank to buy a brand-new car when one can't afford the monthly payments, getting credit cards maxed out and even entering into illegal get-rich schemes. Millennials need to re-learn the virtue of patience and realize that waiting will bring more business or professional success and help them achieve better physical and mental health.