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# Are Millennials really Different?5

## Are Millennials really Different?

3
(OP)
OK, we've heard it. And heard it. An heard it again--"millennials are different, they need different things from a workplace". A new study from Hay Research that looked at over 5 million employees finds it to be just another bullshit myth. Folks remain folks and the big difference between generations remains ... age. People in their 20's look at things differently from the way people in their 30's look at things. Always have. Always will.

Perceived generational differences are both nonsense and self-fulfilling prophecies (i.e., if you think someone needs to be treated differently, and you do, then they respond to the different treatment just like any generation would have). There is a story from Inc. Magazine about the study at A 5-Year Study Reveals the Truth About What Each Generation Wants in the Workplace (It's Not What You Think) The actual report can be downloaded at Hay Group Report

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

it's difficult (and misleading IMHO) to compare different generations at a snapshot in time. They'll be at different stages in their careers (or sequence of jobs if you prefer), achieved different things, aspire to different goals, and financially in different spaces, etc.

maybe more relevant is comparing how people have been treated at the same stage of their career. In the 80s new job starts were treated differently than new job starts today, and differently from new job starts in the 60s. The whole culture was different and so everybody's expectations were different. New starts today would not take kindly to being treated as new starts in the 80s, and no-one would (reasonably IMHO) expect them to. The same applies to mid career and later career people.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

As you alluded to; the only difference between generations is their current ages. It never changes and never will. It is a hubris that comes with experience and selective memory that makes people think they were any different.

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

(OP)
MotoLuber,
I think that that is the essence of the article. Also the self-fulfilling prophesy element. If we give in to the hype and treat these little darlings differently then they will grow to expect different treatment.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

The world is different. How can any expect the people to not be? I don't buy in to all the mumbo jumbo but anyone that has had parents laid off so a company can hit its quarterly numbers will of course of a more skeptical view of corporations.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

The current issue of Informed Infrastructure had two articles about millennials in the workplace; neither were very insightful IMHO.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

Genetics remain largely the same so although experiences vary our behavioral response does not vary too much over time. In the military I saw many instances of senior leadership counseling soldiers who got into exactly the same trouble 20 years after their leader did. Last evening I saw a 52 year old friend pull out his college skateboard to ride with my 28 year old wife. Thanks to a family of hoarders who saved letters, postcards, and old genealogy books I know that I share many interests with ancestors who lived more than a century ago, it seems naturally predictable that so many in the modern family went into the trades, industry, and engineering. Times change and new challenges occur but people don't IMHO.

Given recent history I for one am curious to see how millenials address many of the problems unsolved by previous generations. Technically I'm on the border of millennial and Gen X so am hopeful that many of these will be addressed in my lifetime however only time will tell.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

(OP)
Genetics do remain largely the same, and when I pose problems to recent graduates that were posed to me as a recent graduate, I get similar results. Engineers today are not noticeably smarter or dumber than the Boomers or their predecessors. I played bridge with a 92 year old lady this weekend who had a dirty joke for every pause in the play. She was a hoot. She claimed that the trappings of wealth today have different manufacturers and models than they did in 1944 when she was 20, but that the difference is absolutely superficial. I have to say that if I compare 1973 (when I was 20) to today the differences are hugely superficial. A good engineering grad in 1944, 1973 or 2017 would have been good in either of the other dates. A whinny, sniveling born-victim in 1944 or 1973 would have had a higher likelihood of being fired out of hand than the same brat in 2017, but not by much, and that difference is just because we've been told over and over and over and over that these kids are "delicate snowflakes", which I see as pure nonsense.

I just finished re-reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (I read it every few years) and I'm always impressed that the human reactions in 1928-1935 are identical to current reactions. People don't change.

Also, if you apply a characteristic to a race, you are a racist. If you apply a non-biological characteristic to a gender you are a misogynist. If you apply a characteristic to an ethnicity, you are a xenophobe. And so forth. We are all quick to condemn stereotypes based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual preference, but at the same time we all rush to apply stereotypes to Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Y. Those stereotypes are just as stupid to apply to a generation as to apply them to a race. An individual applies pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard), not a generation.

This is such a hot button for me because the professional societies that I belong to (SPE, NSPE, ASME, NACE) are all in the midst of the process of consuming themselves over the issue of "including millennials". The Society of Petroleum Engineers has put so much emphasis on "Early Career Development" that they have pushed everyone over 40 out of the local chapters and nearly pushed all of us out of the SPE. When I was chairman of local SPE chapter I made it a point to ensure that past chairmen were welcomed to the meetings and included in everything that they were willing to participate in. Two former chairmen went to a recent section meeting and the chairman "welcomed" us as "new members" because he had no clue what went on in the section before he joined 3 years earlier. I hear the same stories from sections of all of the societies I belong to all over the country. The focus on the new generation has pushed the last generation off the page.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

Millennials are special. Their parents have told them so since birth.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

I guess that was the only thing their parents had to offer: Link

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

Actually their outlook and behaviors appear to be very different from previous generations. For example,

•In 1975, 25% of men between 25 and 34 had incomes of less than $30,000 (adjusted for inflation) per year. By 2016, it was 41%. •The number of young women ages 25 to 34 in the workforce jumped more than 40% between 1975 and 2016. •Those young women saw their median income rise from$23,000 to $29,000 in the same time period, although men's remains$11,000 higher.
•Between 1975 and 2016, the number of young female "homemakers" dropped from 43% to 14%.
•1 in 3 young Americans lives with a parent or parents. Of those, 1 in 4 does not work or go to school.
•In 1975, far more young adults lived with a spouse than a parent. By 2016, more young adults lived with their parents than a husband or wife.
•41% of young families had a student debt in 2013, up from 17% in 1989 and the amount owed on those loans has almost tripled.
•Young adults are increasingly putting off children and marriage.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/04...

Maui

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

The numbers don't necessarily tell the full story, as they imply that the entire cohort is doing worse. There are a small fraction in computer science that are doing as well as, or better, their Boomer counterparts from the 1970s. Many of them are likely to be doing better than their own parents within 5 years of graduation.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

The world may have changed but the people havent, drop a younger version of boomers or other generations in today's world and they'd be doing much the same as today's youth. That being said, it is my firm belief that younger folks in the US do have it far worse than any other generation in recent history due to rampant political and societal greed over the past 40 years. While I believe the first can be changed through bold leadership and proper legislation I often wonder about the second as that involves giving up personal entitlements that even many generous folks today seem set against.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

"A new study from Hay Research that looked at over 5 million employees finds it to be just another bullshit myth."

I definitely agree with that. Whining about millennials just means you have become an old fart.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

I'm not sure what the article is telling us.

First, that it's all a myth...but the video on the webpage pretty much confirms the idea that Millennials are different. They need constant reassurance that they are doing well(seriously...quarterly raises?).

The writer also lost me with:
"In light of the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, due to white nationalist groups espousing their hate and separatist ideologies, future leaders who will excel the most in our organizations will embrace diversity; welcome differing opinions, ideas, and expressions; and create an open environment that promotes mutual understanding, where people come together for a greater good."

______________________________________________________________________________
This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

(OP)
I think what the whole article is saying (the part about Charlottesville kind of lost me too) is that people are people with similar basic abilities and weaknesses from generation to generation, but the social/political environment where they are operating does change. It is not so much that this generation is made up of delicate snowflakes as this generation has a large number of people who have been treated as delicate snowflakes and until they are disabused of their delicacy their first reaction to stimulus may be surprising to people of previous generations.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

Doesn't it go without saying that genetics is not a factor? Is anyone saying that? Whatever we are or aren't, it is most definitely a result of nurture, not nature. Culture shifts from decade to decade. The basic psychology and social structure of our species does not.

As a millennial, I only hope that one day I will be able to look at a younger generation and think, "Wow, they are better than we were." instead of carrying on the traditional "kids these days" mentality.

When the greatest generation (as it is known in the US) was in their twenties, what did the 40-60 crowd think of them at the time?

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

(OP)
I can't speak to that, but I'm pretty sure that the "greatest generation" was certain that us "baby boomers" were a bunch of idiots who would destroy the world before we were 30. They were wrong (but the U.S. is \$20 trillion in debt, so maybe they weren't all THAT wrong), we will be too.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

Not even sure what "millennial" means, but if is all those youngsters intent on their phones, they are different.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

#### Quote ("Wow, they are better than we were." )

Better in what sense?

Education? Social Justice? Innovation? etc.

I think a lot of younger people live by their emotions and passions rather than objective truth.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

I believe the article's point was that millenials aren't different which I tend to agree with. The overindulgence in smart phones example is often brought up yet the biggest offenders seem to be the older 50+ guys, and phones havent really changed people's habits or nature. My wife and I were waiting on food at a known slow but good eatery a few years ago and overheard a couple comments from an older man in the next booth about our phone use. My wife was still a full time college student studying on her phone and I was researching a problem for work on mine. The ironic part was that we were both agreeable and being mutually productive, and after grumbling to his embarrassed wife (half the restaurant heard him) he picked up a newspaper and ignored her attempts to talk to him.

As for what older generatiions thought about boomers, there's many recorded examples but one of the better was one of Ralph Teetor's speeches to the SAE in which he expressed concern that boomers werent growing up amongst the struggles of subsistence agriculture as previous generations had. He argued that being sheltered in subdivision life as had become common was bad for developing good work ethic. I'm sure there is more to the issue but its interesting nontheless to compare historical perspectives to see similarities and differences of opinion.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

One of the possible shifts is there are fewer people who grew up in the rural areas.

And in many of the still rural areas there is no cell phone service, or it is much slower.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

(OP)
cranky,
I don't know that that is true. The school I went to was very rural and has over twice as many students today as it had in 1971 when I graduated. I can't think of anyplace I've ever lived that rural populations were actually shrinking. Now if you were talking about percentages of the population, then it is true that a larger percentage of the population comes from urban and suburban place than rural places, but in terms of number of workers who came from rural locations the number is growing.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

When we talk about perception of things, I would tend to believe percentages are more of what is noticed. And this may be a local thing as percentages are different in different places.

Also as a reference, I don't think there as many young people bucking bails of hay. It's become more automated, as the bails have gotten bigger. So fewer rural kids are doing as much manual labor.
That's where I'm coming from.

More automation, fewer people who know what manual labor is. More people who want heated seats and automatic... and how it feels.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

Zdas,

I think there is a population decline or at best much slower growth in rural areas. The rural areas that are growing are becoming more urban or suburbs to urban areas and are not providing the same rural experience there once was. There are a lot fewer people working in agriculture. I grew up in a small farm town and the prospects for anyone that stayed were very low. Most who stayed, stayed to work on their family's farm. In the 1950's 20-25% of the population worked in agriculture in the U.S. Now, it is a little above 2% and it is only going to get worse with automation and the decline of family farms to large commercial operations. I think "rural" living for most is to live in the suburbs so that you are far enough out to do the outdoorsy things but close enough to find a decent job.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

(OP)
HamburgerHelper,
I don't disagree that the percentages of the urban/rural mix is shifting ever more in the direction of urban/suburban. I was just disagreeing with the idea that the absolute numbers of people in rural areas is decreasing. 20 years ago it was something like 80% urban/suburban (this breakdown is hard to dig out of the census data) and 20% for the rest (which includes people in small towns). Today it is closer to 85-15, but that shift is not a decline in the rural population, just a bigger increase in the urban/suburban population.

The farm kid thing is really hard to dig out of the data. 2% of the population work in "agriculture", but there are a huge number of 4-20 acre "farms" where one or more parents work in industry, and the farm tasks fall to the children. The property doesn't qualify as "agriculture", but the work is the same. I grew up on one of these non-farms. Between the kitchen garden, the pigs we raised to butcher, the hay field, the 2 acre sorgum field, and the (few) cattle we raised for market it was a pretty big job for 3 kids with parental help on the weekends, but it was never in the statistics as "agriculture".

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

Millennials are the first generation that has grown up with no stable technological history, i.e., everything that they are familiar with technology-wise is new and evolving. Their "good ole days" are literally only days long, compared with our "good ole days" that are more on the order of years or decades.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

According to census figures, rural population has almost been flat in the past century:
https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/...

The numbers tend to move around a bit; the bureau has been tweaking their definitions of "urban" over that last 4 decades.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

IRstuff - interesting about the "good ole days". The good ole days for my parents was three black & white channels on TV. The good ole days for me was flip phones. The scary thing is that technology continues to accelerate exponentially. My kids will have even less of a reference point to start with, and I will have even less of a clue about their reality and how to help them deal with it. For all the positive things technology brings, our culture is clearly in shock trying to adapt. High-speed internet and smart phones are like drugs for which the long term effects have never been tested. The common observation of millennials being different is (in part at least) a result of this rapid cultural change.

The real question here is... How much longer until the Butlerian Jihad?

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

This may or may not apply here, but I noted that in consumers reports that the newer washing machines, while using less water, take more time to clean clothes. The offshoot is manufacturers are now offering machines, or stands that contain a second or smaller washer.

At the same time I tend to carp about how much slower my newer computer is than my old one is, and it is not backwards capable of running older software.

So it appears there is a moving shift to slower, and more features, that younger people are likely to accept.

Yes, men went to the moon with less computing horsepower than my current calculator.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

"Yes, men went to the moon with less computing horsepower than my current calculator"

They went there with less computing power than your kindergarten calculator...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

(OP)
I've got a pretty fancy analog/digital watch that is on par with 1969 computing power available to NASA.

I worked on refueling two nuclear reactors in 1974 where the Gantt Chart project schedule (covered a very long wall of a large conference room) was drawn and maintained by draftsmen using pen and ink with manual drafting tools. I can't say it was any less effective than I can do today in Microsoft Project, but the people in charge were a lot less willing to change the schedule than we are today--wonder if we've really advanced? The project managers spent a lot more time understanding the steps and the interrelationships then than project managers tend to do today.

The slide rules and machine-language computers that made Gemini and Apollo possible were treated as tools to access numerical values for the equations of motion, combustion, strength of materials, and fluid dynamics. The hard part was the actual engineering, the numbers were just the result. Today we tend to treat the numbers as "engineering" an the arithmetic as a black box. Incredibly scary.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

So, here's another vote for millennials, etc., not being that different:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/fashion/danah-bo...

"The slide rules and machine-language computers that made Gemini and Apollo possible were treated as tools to access numerical values for the equations of motion, combustion, strength of materials, and fluid dynamics. The hard part was the actual engineering, the numbers were just the result. Today we tend to treat the numbers as "engineering" an the arithmetic as a black box. Incredibly scary."

We seem to have quickly forgotten that log tables of yore are essentially black boxes. This "today" notion is just a "good ole days" grouse; the instant we had programmable calculators, we made a bunch of black boxes to solve problems that might have take a hour or more to do by hand and reduced the time to solution to minutes or seconds. That "today" was 40 years ago. 35 years ago, "today" we made circuit analysis a black box, when programs such as SPICE and MSINC allowed us to use timeshare computing to crank circuit solutions for fairly complex circuits that would have taken days to analyze by hand. There were curmudgeonly engineers lamenting that those young "whippersnappers" treated circuit analysis like a black box and didn't understand the math and loop equations underlying all of that. This is the nature of progress, and we're standing on the shoulders of giants that stood on the shoulders of their giants. Does anyone really want to analyze anything more complicated than a simple Class A amplifier with Kirchhoff's equations and an SR-50 class scientific calculator. Can anyone realistically think that we could build any of the skyscrapers in Dubai using hand calculations?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

(OP)
IRstuff,
Good engineers have always and will always take steps to confirm that any tool will do the job that it is intended to do. When I picked up a pipeline model in 1984 (mainframe), I ran a bunch of cases to ensure that the model matched field conditions, and I made a couple of theoretical (simple) networks and calculated them by hand and applied that data to the model. If the model did not match reality to a pre-defined precision then I wouldn't use it. If it did match then I was happy to run networks that were far too complex to ever successfully run by hand. I do exactly the same thing today. The good engineers in this generation do the same thing. The bulk of engineers today (or when I started) take the model and put in their network and accept the output, even if it is nonsense. My oldest son is in an electronics class, and was designing a circuit for a class project. He used my approach to verify the modeling program that he was supposed to use, and it gave him a red flag on something that he knew was fine. After digging in he found that there was a glitch that didn't handle the input data properly if it wasn't in a certain (undocumented) sequence. He was careful to put his data in the "right" sequence and did well on the project. Others didn't and their outcome wasn't as good.

Good engineers understand the underlying assumptions behind the equations that they use and won't violate those assumptions. The run-of-the-mill engineers grab an equation and use it without ever thinking about the boundary conditions or the underlying assumptions. It has never been different.

I often scream about a "Modified Bernoulli" equation that is taught in (too) many engineering schools. Basically this concept takes the Bernoulli equation and adds a "head loss" term to apply it to pipelines. The Bernoulli Equation cannot be derived from first principles unless you add the assumption that friction and rotation are zero. You cannot prevent rotation in a pipeline, and without friction headloss is zero. Good engineers are offended by this (miuse of the very useful Bernoulli Equation. Tens of thousands of engineers use it every day in this bastardized form. That is not a generational thing. It is a basic competence thing.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

I don't know if anyone in would want to use the skyscrapers in Dubai as a benchmark. They only have to stand long enough to burn down.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

Yes, my point exactly. You said, "Today we tend to treat the numbers as "engineering" an the arithmetic as a black box. Incredibly scary." My point was that this is not a present day phenomenon.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

(OP)

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

We all get our parent's guilt built into us. I was a "latchkey kid". We were America's bastard children. Everyone hated us when we entered the workforce. But many of us grew up, and became the bosses of those whom we annoyed. Eventually, like all people, we matured, and developed a more seasoned world view. Now it's the Millenials' turn. They'll build their issues into their children, and a new cultural paradigm will emerge. Everyone will hate them, as they hated their parents before them. Nothing they do in the autumn season of their lives will ever be right, or good enough. But the world will still turn.

Remember, folks - the world we build is for the future, not for us. It doesn't matter if they're different, or they don't do it like we always have. Every generation changes. I'm a little surprised that smart people can't understand this concept. (that's coming from one of the dumbest guys in the room)

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

The only question facing Millennials is how much longer they have to watch 'boomers type with two fingers. Not long kids, not long.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

The only question facing Millennials is how much longer they have to watch 'boomers type with two fingers. Not long kids, not long.

Some of us younger folks type with two fingers as well. Although the last typing test I took, I managed almost 60 wpm corrected.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

The hungarian constitution was drafted up on an IPAD.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-03-04...

I suppose this begs the question, in a 100 years will a flashdrive or the IPAD itself be on display in a museum commemorating the creation of their constitution? I don't know. There is something inherently soulless to something that important to not be put physically to paper. Seeing the revision history in Word doesn't feel the same to seeing a document stuff written in the margins, scratched out, and physically signed.

It might not be long before keyboards are superseded for the most part. I have seen people type on ipads and phones as fast as I can with using the word predictor function.

### RE: Are Millennials really Different?

As long as I'm able to work, I've got a dual skill set. I can type 80 WPM, and I can Swipe at 100+ WPM. (why get arthritis in thumbs?) Generation X, over here. ;)

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