Marriott Alumni Magazine

Fall 2016

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The phrase "kids these days" is almost never followed with something positive. The older generation often sees more vices than virtues in the younger generation. But of course, reality is not quite that simple. Here are some stereotypes and facts about the millennial generation. Stereotype: Millennials are doomed. Reality: According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student debt, poverty, and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth than their parents and grandparents had at the same age. Yet more than 80 percent of millennials say they are optimistic about their financial futures. Stereotype: Millennials just want to move back home. Reality: Indeed, young adults remaining or returning home is increasingly common in the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, between 2010 and 2015 the number of young adults living with parents rose from 24 to 26 percent—despite an improving job market. Stereotype: Millennials expect constant praise. Reality: A comprehensive survey of 13,150 PwC employees from across the world showed that millennials do value praise—41 percent prefer to be rewarded or recognized for their work at least monthly, but so did 30 percent of non-millennials. Millennials in the survey said they wanted a work environment that emphasizes teamwork, transparency, and a sense of community. Stereotype: Millennials aren't willing to pay their dues. Reality: Millennials place the highest value on flexibility—64 percent in the PwC survey said they would like to occasionally work from home, and 66 percent wanted to shift their work hours. The PwC report explained, "Millennials do not believe that productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at the office, but by the output of work performed. They view work as a 'thing' and not a 'place.'" They're not alone, though—18 percent of employees across generations would be willing to give up pay or delay promotions in exchange for fewer work hours. Stereotype: Millennials are not as hardworking as older generations. Reality: Research by Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, shows that a person's level of grit—a combination of passion and perseverance—rises with age. Does that mean cultural forces have made millennials inherently less gritty and virtuous? No, says Duckworth—it's simply a reflection of the maturity principle. Longitudinal studies offer hopeful evidence that we do, after all, learn, grow, and become better people as we age. So the only thing "wrong" with millennials, says Duckworth, is that "they just haven't grown up—yet." Allow her space. It may be tempting to try to "fix" the situation by offering point- by-point rebuttals to Caroline's concerns or pointing out ways she could live more righteously. If she is clear that she doesn't want to be a part of the Church, don't send conference talks and scriptures, cautions Hanks. "It's like telling your family you're cutting out sugar from your diet, and then they hand you your favorite candy," she says. "That damages the relationship." See the good. First, consider how this experience could benefit Caroline. In his book Navigating Mormon Faith Crisis, Thomas Wirthlin McConkie proposes, "What if we understood faith crisis as part of a natural cycle of spiritual growth, a breaking open to make room for new life and new faith?" Second, consider how this experience could deepen your relationship with Caroline. "Your relationship doesn't need to depend on shared spiritual beliefs," Hanks says. "There are so many other ways to relate with people." Love her. Whether Caroline returns to church or not, it's essential to show love and preserve the relationship—which means you shouldn't shun her or make her feel less included. "There are no eternal families without relationships first," Hanks says. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church, points out, "In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth." ABOUT THE AUTHOR Holly Munson is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism and lives in Philadelphia with her family. MILLENNIAL STEREOTYPES

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