Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ten Valedictorians and trophies for everyone: Why Millenials have a hard time sucking it up and moving on

When I was a kid I saw the movie Top Gun. There is a line in the film that has always stuck with me: There are no points for second place.

I think this is something that Boomers and Xers understand pretty well. That’s what we grew up with. Competition. There is only one winner.

In the workforce, that’s something you need to understand if you want to succeed. Otherwise, each time you aren’t the “winner” (the award winner, the one who is promoted, the one recognized at the meeting), it will eat at you. This is something Millenials struggle with.

A lot of writers misinterpret this fact. In fact, Millenials are often called narcissistic. I don’t think they’re narcissistic. I just think that they don’t always "get" that there is just one winner. They grew up their whole life all being “winners.” Everyone gets a trophy at the end of the season. And 10 people get to call themselves valedictorian.

I think the parents of Millenials did a good job of instilling self-esteem. However, they now need to learn that all results are not equal. And there are people who are better than you are. If you want to be the best, you need to be BETTER than everyone else – not just as good.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of something I said a while back. There was a story in the newspaper about the local City Commission. It was the first meeting of the year, when officers are elected. Some commissioners (without clout) were complaining that the same people get elected every year, it's just a popularity contest. The cloutless commissioners wanted to have the presidency occur on a rotating basis, so everyone got a chance to lead.

To which I commented, "No. This isn't the Special Olympics. Not everyone gets a trophy!" No offense to the disabled.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me a re-run episode I saw recently of Everybody Loves Raymond- it was a kiddie baseball game and it was hysterical as they were trying to explain to Ray's Dad that everybody bats, everybody runs and nobody loses. He was ready for some good ole fashioned competition. What are GenX parents afraid of if their kids lose a recreational baseball game or srike out? If they can't handle that at age 8, they for sure will not be able to handle losing a job to another candidate later in life. There is a lot of underestimation of kid's ability to cope. If that ability is not exercised when they are younger, it will not develop and be evident later in life--what is left is a generation of people without coping skills ...who never lose a game.