Currently Reading: The M-Factor, How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace

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I am always interested in generational differences between my own generation, millennials, and others and how we can collaborate with each other. I am especially interested in how millennials are viewed in general. So when this book came across my radar I had to read it.

The M-factor shows how each generation, Traditionalist, Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials, function in the workplace and how each generation changed the workplace scene. The book explains this by putting it in correlation to the millennial generation and how we function. The breakdown of chapters are: Parenting, Entitlement, Meaning, Great Expectations, The Need for Speed, Social Networking, and Collaboration.

I won’t necessarily cover every section of the book but here are the main points I took away from it:

  • Parenting: the first thing that hit me about this was that I was surprised by my own generation. For millennials parenting is no longer finished when college is done, now it is continuing on into the workplace. They have more of an engrossed and buddy relationship view of their parents which we then take into the workplace, no longer see higher-ups as on pedestals but instead side by side. That I agreed with but then I saw this:

In our M-Factor survey, over 10 percent of Millennials said they would “feel comfortable having my parent(s) call the boss if there is a problem,”

Uh, what?! I didn’t even know that was a thing! I would never have my mom call my boss because I had a problem at work or, like in the book example, have my parent go over my work stuff like it was school work. That is so foreign to me.

The other part of this that was interesting was that Boomer and Xers are confused as to how Millennials got they way they are but don’t realize that they are the ones who raised them that way.

  • Entitlement: Now this is a big push button for me because I constantly see articles about how Millennials think they are so entitled and want the world handed to them on the silver spoon. Often I think we are misunderstood on this and what people view as entitlement is actually something else: no-nonsense.

We’ve grown up seeing our grandparents and parents struggling day-to-day in job they hate, working because they had to, and not being able to do things they’ve wanted to do until later in life. The general notion is to save up now and you can have your reward later. Well we, Millennials, saw what it means to do that and decided, that sucks. So we adjusted accordingly.

This book does a really good job of breaking down the way Millennials think and why that is misconstrued as entitlement to other generations. I could do a whole article on just that one word and I might later but I highly suggest this chapter above all the rest.

  • Meaning:

Sometimes it can feel like providing meaning for Millennials is an insurmountable task…But the costs of not paying attention to meaning are also considerable. Millennials are more than willing to leave a job if they don’t feel fulfilled. 

This is so true. Any time I start to feel bored in a job or no longer feel like my contribution even matters I start to look elsewhere. As Millennials we want to know that what we do has a purpose and meaning behind it, we want to know how our cog fits in the wheel. In that same instance we also want constant feedback. Not because we are insecure or don’t know what we are doing but because we want to be on the same page and know we aren’t wasting time with useless efforts.

We also want to know that our companies are taking a role in helping the community and the earth. Companies that are green and give back to the community are huge factors for us when choosing where to work.

  • Need for Speed: Because we are so used to a constant stream of information and new technologies, Millennials, are constantly moving at a fast speed and look for the better and faster way to do things, which causes clashes when met with the corporate world process.

Millennials… are entering a workplace where decisions work their way through a process so time-consuming it can feel like waiting for a dial-up connection on the internet.

I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to scream at the pace in which corporations make decisions. On one hand I understand that there is a process and that change is costly but on the other hand it takes so long, for sometimes even the littlest, decisions to be made that you wonder how the company continues to function. This is a very hard thing for us to get.

  • Collaboration

We are a very collaborative generation in that we share practically everything, and in some cases too much. We feel the need to stay connected to peers and to access higher-ups for mentoring. We prefer open spaces to cubicles and corner offices. We like to be able to voice our opinion but at the same time want to hear other’s opinions. When it comes to teamwork or work in general we have no problem admitting our faults and passing the job off to someone who is more qualified because we know they are better at it.

Other generations are sometimes baffled at this as they were taught differently. But we see it as a natural thing.

 

Over all I found this book to be a good read and easy to break down as well as insightful not only as to how previous generations viewed things but also my own. I also think this is a valuable book for anyone to read. That being said I would like to make a few points about it.

  1. They talk about the interview process and how the questions that previously worked don’t really work on Millennials and now some sites are posting interview questions on websites so interviewees know what to expect.  However sometimes I think the questions are so vague and the answers so wide that nobody wins. Perhaps we should look into scenario questions, as in “this happened so you do what”. I also think if it was more staged as conversation as opposed to an interrogation that would be better.
  2. There is constant emphasis in the book about how many Millennials don’t understand dress code, work etiquette, and haven’t had a first job before when entering the workplace after college. I question these notions. I can’t think of a single Millennial I know who didn’t “work” in so some form prior to leaving college. And the whole dress code and work etiquette thing is, I think, more a product of environment/upbringing and lack of knowledge but I don’t think it is abundant in my generation. I don’t know maybe I’m just bias.
  3. There is a sentence on pg 153 that says “But they are expected to be treated like a darling, not a doofus.” I don’t know why but that sentence completely rubbed me the wrong way and almost negated what I previously read. Up until then I felt that the authors were really getting the our generation but the word “darling” gave me sudden images that made me feel like we needed to be coddled and petted. I get what was trying to be said but I would have used another word.

So that is my review on The M-Factor. Hopefully it wasn’t too long. If you read it or have any thoughts about the subject please feel free to comment below!

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