Maybe the Millennials Are on To Something

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Southwest 391804

I read an article in USA today that the millennial generation value a happy workplace over pay. I've never been a big fan of "naming" a whole generation of folk and expecting them all to act alike.  I'm sure I have some things in common with my Boomer Buddies, but I'd be willing to bet we have more differences than similarities.  This article stated that Millennials 25-35 years old would be willing to give up an average of $7,600 per year in pay for a better sitation at work.  The two biggest things they seek are a better work/life balance and more career development.  Granted, this is the generation that was raised to push a button and make things happen.  I doubt whether many of them ever manually had to change a TV channel or open a garage door. 

The article did give me pause, though.  Our generation was raised by parents who insisted we go find the job and stick with it.  Many of our parents spent 30 years at one thing.  At the end, they left and went into retirement, some of them finding that they had no idea what to do with the next 30 years. There was no such thing as a second career.

Our generation tried the same thing, only some of us were derailed when we found the corporate structure really didn't care about our lives in any way other than what we could give them.  Many of us, or our spouses, were shoved out the door in the name of profit and stock price.  The recent downturn left many in their 50's and 60's without work and being very carefully rejected because of age to new opportunities. 

The Millennial kids saw this.  They witnessed the parent lose the job they had given their all to. They had seen their parents miss important things in their lives and they are now vowing not to do the same. 

My hope is that this generation is successful in looking out for themselves, gaining better skills and running their lives in a way that allows them to be less dependent on an entitiy that leaves them floundering in mid life. 

I think the Millennials may be on to something.


Comments (55)

Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

Many complain about this generation, but i see much promise. The Millennials certainly are more active in their community than my generation. Can't wait to see what they accomplish!

Aug 15, 2016 10:46 PM
Ron Barnes
Associate Broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties - Jasper, GA
"Most agents claim they're #1 - I THINK YOU'RE #1!

Well said. My daughter and her husband both have jobs where the environment is based on production rather than perception. You can drink at lunch to celebrate a big sale (not required but not forbidden). Our generation really got the shaft on loyalty, but we compensated for that by laziness.

Aug 15, 2016 10:48 PM
Monte Wall
Keller Williams Premier Realty - Katy, TX
Keller Williams Premier Realty - Katy, Texas

Very thought provoking post Jeanne.  And I do admire the younger crowd to choose life balance and happiness over money.  However, on the flip side, they also have high levels of debt and little savings.  So are they willing to cut the expenses when they cut the income?  I hope so, but I fear they don't.

Aug 15, 2016 11:35 PM
Marte Cliff

My thought exactly Monte Wall Are they willing to give up the toys, entertainment, and nice homes - or are they still looking to Mom and Dad to chip in? 

I expect there are some of each. 

Aug 21, 2016 08:38 AM
Sheldon Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Tulsa, OK
Your Realtor For Life!

Millienial here... I couldn't agree more. I don't know if it's because of my age but I think having a balance with life/work is important.

Aug 16, 2016 12:56 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Interesting perspective on generations. There is something to be learned from each generation and the changes in technology that caused so many changes in life, living and lifestyles. 

Aug 16, 2016 12:57 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

It has been said , "JOBS have no future , only people do !!! "

Aug 16, 2016 01:20 AM
Deb McNeill
Flying M Team Small World Realty Fort Worth, Tx - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Interesting. My oldest son, age 31, just took a $5000/year pay cut to change jobs. the old job was stressful, lots of travel, and diminishing chances for advancement. The new job--less stressful, home every night, learning new and stable skills.

But because of this decision, he and his wife must put off buying their first home.

Aug 16, 2016 01:25 AM
Marte Cliff

Deb McNeill Your kids should be commended for being willing to sacrifice now for a better tomorrow. 

Aug 21, 2016 08:40 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Jeanne - working with the three generations in the workplace I have seen that they all want different things.  That is good because we can made common ground.  The millennials are the most talented but they don't like rules that are outdated and have no purpose.  They also want mentoring and feeling they are making a difference.  If a terrible job pays a little more they won't bite.

Aug 16, 2016 02:31 AM
Cody Carmen
Adhi Schools, LLC - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Market Analysis--Educational Content, Adhi Schools

I appreciated this article as a Millenial. I see plenty of things my generation does "wrong". But any student of history can call out the mistakes of the previous generations too. I do think work life balance is important. I know a lot of recent college grad Millenials that willingly take on high hour jobs in investment banking or the like so they can pay their dues and earn the work/life balance in a few years. I know others that want things handed to them. But it is important for real estate professionals to understand what drives their clients. Millenials are the next large generation of buyers and they will make their purchasing decisions based more on lifestyle demands than previous generations have. 

I also think it is important that you highlighted that not everyone fits the trend of their generation. Agents need to have knowledge about people without over-generalizing and making mistakes. 

Aug 16, 2016 03:13 AM
David Alan Baker | Laveen & South Phoenix Realtor
Keller Williams Realty Phoenix - Laveen, AZ
Your local Expert

Maybe, they are on to something.  I like the idea of enjoying work place, it leads to better quality of life, regardless of extra money.

Aug 16, 2016 04:28 AM
Anna Bidot
Windermere Lake Tapps - Lake Tapps, WA
Realtor serving the south puget sound region

I am newer to the Real Estate world.  I came from a successful health care career in ER and ICU.  However with that came long 12+ hour graveyard shifts, a toxic work environment, and politics that dictate the care you are allowed to give, for profit sake, rather than what you can give a patient, leaving me a bitter wife and a bitter mom when I came home.  I walked away from a great steady paycheck and into a real estate office where you pretty much wake up every morning unemployed. My office is full of people I love to be around and they support my goals.  This is post is spot on. Life is not about living to get up and go to work every day but about working to enjoy enjoy living your life.  The hard part is finding a way to do this.

Aug 16, 2016 05:04 AM
Jason Potrzeba
Webster Bank - Providence, RI
Mortgage Banking Officer

Agreed. The millennial's could change corporate mindset just because of the size of this group and companies may want to attract the best talent. If they cater to this desire for a better work / life balance , companies may be rewarded with a better more productive staff. If things do not change I the near future, perhaps a short while longer corporate mindset will change as these Millennials begin to fill the role of corporate decision makers and change things right at the top...

Aug 16, 2016 06:37 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Heck . . . I wanted that back in my early years, but that's not how it was set up.  Nice to see things can change.  

Aug 16, 2016 06:55 AM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


True the  millennial generation does value a better work situation than their parents who works for the same company for years.  They are less materiastic than their parents and that is good.  

Aug 16, 2016 08:50 AM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

So many provoking comments, yet, why can't millennials have both? The view from the bottom should inspire and motivate upward mobility, so, is it because of millennials limited view of life caused by their liberal education or their parents liberal economic and political perspectives? 

According to recent economic statistics, more than 30% of millennials are living with their parents and couldn't independently survive economically. Another survey also forecasts that millennials don't consider owning a home as a goal because of the initial cost of ownership. 

Unfortunately. many are simply waiting to inherit their home and are willing to wait until that event occurs. This should be disturbing to our society, so, instead of seeking upward mobility to achieve economic and personal success, they will accept the status quo. 

So, finally, will the over achievers be demonized because they decided to work hard, sacrifice and become prosperous while their peers choose to earn less and expect less from their lifestyle? Hopefully, this trend will reverse itself before it's an accepted lifestyle.


Aug 16, 2016 01:42 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

So interesting to read what 'the millieneals' want--and sorry for the spelling error!  I do thing there are some similariites across their generation as a whole, and find it's true they want more job satisfaction, more work/life balance and don't care as much about 'things' .

Aug 17, 2016 10:36 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Sad - and still true Jeanne Gregory is that many companies forget the experience they are getting rid of when they lay off senior employees!

Aug 17, 2016 04:14 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

You got that right!  Having 3 millenial daughters I can attest to the differences.  They each aspire to be in a good working environment that works for them, not the other way around.  GREAT post!

Aug 18, 2016 02:56 AM
Mary Weiss
Zillow Group Mortgages - Seattle, WA
Trainer & Content Manager

This describes perfectly a situation I encountered a few years ago. I turned down a fancy position working in the finance department directly under the CFO of a local but prominent company. Reason why? They wanted me to sign a three-year contract - and during these three years, I'd be helping to "restructure" their entire finance division. In other words, I was guaranteed a role while watching as others got laid off and with little to no time off.  I passed and ended up working at Market Leader, which obviously lead me to where I am now. I still don't make nearly as much money as I would have at that other company, but I love having my time off, and that matters more to me.  As we millennials are so used to hearing/saying: "YOLO: You only live once!" 

Aug 18, 2016 03:30 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Unfortunately we always "see" the people who give others in their group a bad name - whether that's career or age based. 

We just fired a millenial this week because he had the attitude that he could show up for work when he felt like it. He was late 3 times in a week and a half, and then didn't show up at all! Instead, he came by and left a note that he'd be at work the next day.

The note part was interesting - he drove up to the job early in the afternoon, but didn't get out of the car and go speak to my husband. Then he came to the house, but didn't knock on the door, so I didn't know he'd been here until I went outside and found the note. 

When you're part of a crew, showing up "whenever" doesn't cut it - but this young man didn't seem to understand that. 

Aug 21, 2016 08:47 AM