Is it time to give our young people a break?

December 06, 2016 | Evelyn Chow

the me me me generation .png

It’s really interesting, of late, that I find my path crossing moore often than usual with that of the young people in our society. These are the millennials, and I hesitate to label them as such because I see many similiarities between them and the person that I was in my twenties; a generation of young workforce entrants who are gung-ho, passionate about what they do and excited about the opportunities and prospects available to them. I also got to know a number of young entrepreneurs who have founded really exciting start-ups.

Contrary to the popular view that millennials are lazy and entitled, a recent HBR article talks about research that uncovers insights into their psyche, and I was admittedly surprised that one of these key findings was that millennials are workaholics. Yes, it’s true – they do think about work too much. They seek self-fulfillment through their careers, and they too, are as excited as we once were or even more, about how they are able to contribute to our economy and society. 

In our second workshop on ‘Creating a Mutually Rewarding Experience for Mentors & Mentees’, jointly organised by WSG, e2i and AIPRO, we kept our focus on the key theme of mentoring and working with young people.

Check out some of our workshop photos! We had an enjoyable and fruitful time together. 


In the course of the preparation for the workshop, I came across (in my opinion), one of the best writtened aticles on the topic of working with millennials.

Going back to the question of how to work well with young people, it seems there are 6 key things to bear in mind.

  1. Research shows that praise, recognition and opportunities to lead new projects are more motivating than monetary rewards.
  2. Younger entrants value pre-service, formal training programmes over less structured on-the-job learning
  3. With the adept and expansive use of social media, they are familiar with self-marketing, networking, keeping abreast of latest developments/technology in the industry etc.
  4. They are motivated by diverse opportunities, a workplace that allows for proactivity and work flexibility
  5. They place significance emphasis on structured programme where employees understand the purpose and value of tasks given, and are able to align their personal goals with their work
  6. Learning conversations/dialogues and sharing of stories is also important

Lastly, I resonate with this parting thought in the same Time Magazine article “But a generation’s greatness isn’t determined by data; it’s determined by how they react to the challenges that befall them. And, just as important, by how we react to them. Whether you think millennials are the new greatest generation of optimistic entrepreneurs or a group of 80 million people about to implode in a dwarf star of tears when their expectations are unmet depends largely on how you view change. Me, I choose to believe in the children. God knows they do.”

Tags:   millennials

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