DEAR DAD PART 1: Difficulties With Millennials At Work - Elizabeth Michelle
Welcome to the Dear Dad series, where we share the insights gained from a young millennial going to work with her father.
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DEAR DAD PART 1: Difficulties With Millennials At Work

DEAR DAD PART 1: Difficulties With Millennials At Work


Welcome to the Dear Dad series, where we share the insights gained from a young millennial going to work with her father. Through mistakes made, lessons learned and some mutual appreciation for each aging generation, we explore just how workforce age gaps can be approached, accepted and enjoyed. I am currently working in Psychology and pursuing my PhD with lots of experience working with millennials, I’ve experienced the problems and can help you deal with them.

‘Dear Dad, this isn’t working…Lusms xxx’

Let’s begin with a story:

Once upon a time in the early sixties a 5-year-old boy was working for the milkman for a shilling a day to help pay for the heating at home. Shivering in the early morning, he dreamed . . . .

As he grew older, determined that his children would have a better life, he did not manage much of an education, but fell in love and worked tirelessly to build a future for his children.

These hard-working and dedicated parents ensured, through close contact with the school, that the children were given a curriculum that was tailored to stimulate and challenge them to reach their potential. They were taught: you’re worth it, don’t let anyone get you down, you’re special and important. The message echoed at home, at school, and in the media. L’Oréal’s ‘Because you’re worth it’ said it all.

Memories of working for the milkman became distant and idealised as his children remained snugly wrapped up in their duvets in the early dawn. His 5-year-old enjoys a play-centred Reception class, with hot meals and after-school activities. The fresh milk arrives from the online shop, organic of course, because if we don’t look after ourselves (and the cows) – who will?


Sounds like a pretty typical modern day situation? So what happens next?

This 5-year old grew into an accomplished graduate, who went to work for her Dad. Conflict arises between her upbringing and workplace expectations, an issue that is seen at work all over the country.

At work: CEO (At home: Dad)

‘I worked from the bottom up to build this company. I expect respect and hard work, as I did.

Academic credentials are nice, but I was successful without them because I am determined, driven and focussed.’

At work: The grad (At home: Darling)

‘I have been put on the graduate training program for the next year. No real projects. Not great pay. Do they know how valuable I am? How much has been invested in me? OK I may need a bit of training, but a year? What can these old people without degrees teach me anyway? I shrugged… and then got told to improve my attitude. I have never been spoken to so rudely. So… I downloaded a recruitment App. I have a load of interviews next week. They will appreciate me. And then I resigned…’


Me: Dear Dad, This isn’t working. See you for

dinner, can you get me Sushi on the way home,

I don’t fancy what Mum has made. Lusms xxx

Dad: OK darling, proud of you for trying your

best, always good to learn from these

experiences. What type of sushi? Or shall I get

a range? x

What can we learn from this story?


Even with her resignation, her father praised her for trying. Millennials have been labelled the ‘Trophy Generation’ – everyone gets a medal on sports day, even if you lose the race. This story is no different.

So how does this impact the workplace?

Well on one hand, it is likely that you will have a confident, ‘feeling like a winner’ millennial turning up on their first day. This could easily be a positive attribute, allowing them to feel more relaxed, sociable and eager to get started.

However, in the long term, this could be a detrimental move for the young worker. Alsop looks at what happens when ‘The Trophy Kids Grow Up’. At work performance is everything and not everyone wins. This can be shocking and difficult to digest, one of the reasons a CEO shared with me that he keeps a box of tissues in his office drawer. Arriving with credentials up to their ears (yes credential inflation is now a thing) and trophies for effort (cute), suggesting that they need to be trained can be insulting (grrr).

To find out what happens next in my Dear Dad series, keep following my blog for further insights!


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