Are Millennials the Lost Generation?


I received an infographic from a Millennial the other day.  The headline asked if Millennials are the lost generation.  It outlined that Millennials are the generation with the highest joblessness and debt out of school.

I reflected about the headline for a bit.  I wondered if she was making an analogy to the Lost Generation that was coined by Gertrude Stein and made popular by Ernest Hemingway.  The generation after World War 1 that had emerged from another senseless war where horses attacked tanks.  I doubt it.  Many Millennials have razor thin knowledge of history I have found although 4 out of 10 have tattoos.

I ask them about Marshall McLuhan and their faces are blank.  Marshall predicted the global village that they live in.  Ask my millennial friend Samed Yadegari who works for Ogilvy in Dubai. I met him when I spoke at UCI. He didn’t work in Dubai then.  He had received a degree in computer science in three years.   My college roommate’s sons live in Shanghai.

I ask Millennials about Ricky Nelson when we are sitting at a coffee shop in Laguna Beach where he used to hang with his parents. They say I have never heard of him.  Ricky Nelson offered the career advice that many Millennials live by.  He sang “You can’t please everybody so you’ve got to please yourself.” Indeed.  When your interior drum is banging youth can accomplish great things.

It plays into the fact Millennials are highly entrepreneurial. Just ask my millennial friend Juan Sebastian Vasquez in LA.  He works with URBAN Teens eXploring Technology.  They teach coding to inspire young men of color in the 7th to 11th grade to become tech leaders.  Ever looked for a Java developer these days?

The infographic also documented that Millennials are more educated than any other generation as 54% have finished college.  But there is all kinds of education.

I often recruit Millennials for positions in the marketing world and other fields. I see a lot of disparity. Some of my young friends are clearly destined to be lost.

I got a resume along with a cover letter mentioning their English degree and a passion for advertising.  Maybe that passion should have translated into one advertising course a year over four years which would have made my friend more marketable.

I got another resume from a person who worked as a server. I have walked in those shoes. What he lacked in experience he would make up with hard work.  You don’t want to discriminate yourself on hard work these days.  That will make you part of the proletariat and you don’t want to be offering that in the New Normal.

I often meet other Millennials who have graduated with four year degrees in advertising or marketing or PR or whatever.  They are active on social media.  They have hundreds of LinkedIn connections. Some don’t want to work.  They want to get funding for an app they are developing.

It’s not only about the luck of the draw and what generation you are part off.  It is what you do within your generation and that begins with you. Everyone including me started there.

Connect with Hank on LinkedIn, Twitter, & Facebook:


Read: Don’t Let Your Business Cards Weaken Your Personal Brand

The Slash Generation.

Watch this Video on Why Young People Shouldn’t try to Get a Job.


3 thoughts on “Are Millennials the Lost Generation?

  1. chucksink

    Hank, This is near and dear to me as I now teach Business Communications as adjunct professor at Plymouth State University . I take it your point is that there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the prevailing attitudes of Millennials yet you can’t but everyone in a box. Many do shine!

    I would like to publish this or link to it in my next newsletter. If you have a moment, take a look at this piece inspired by my students:

    Thanks as always for your thoughtfulness and generosity of content.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s