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Episode #1 Transcript:
Am I Too Millennial?

Jessica Grossman (00:00.046)
whether you're a millennial leader, you're a Gen X leader, managing millennial leaders, you're a boomer trying to figure out how do you uplift and support these young generation of leaders and how you mentor them to be the best selves, we're here, we're gonna get this done today on the podcast.

Jessica Grossman (00:23.822)
Hey, guys fam, it's your go -to leadership team coach and host, Jessie here, and I'm ready to shake things up. If you're also tired of outdated forms of authority and ready to rebel against the mediocrity of leadership we see today, you might have just found your spot. So join me in unleashing this next generation of leaders by embracing being just a bit too millennial. Let's redefine this thing together.

Jessica Grossman (00:58.83)
We're here, we made it. Welcome to this first episode of Two Millennial. I'm thrilled you've decided to join with us. I'm your host, Jessi, and I'm ready to get started on this journey to discovering what it means to be a millennial leader today. So to kick this podcast off, we're gonna start by exploring some of the fun stereotypes and the general traits of millennials. But so today, it'll just be me.

We're setting and building that foundation of knowledge before our wonderful guests come on the show and teach us what we need to become a better leader.

So why is this conversation important? Why do we care about being a millennial and moving into leadership positions? Well, it all started with some rather confusing feedback that honestly left a very sour taste in my mouth. At my last corporate gig, I was pitching facilitating a manager session and guess the feedback that I got. Apparently I was too millennial to do it. So yes, I mean, I'm a millennial. I can't change when I was born, but...

not exactly young anymore, like as an almost 37 year old with two children, am I still perceived as that entitled newbie who believes I should be granted things due to my existence while also craving constant validation for every little thing I do? I mean, I'll answer that question, I said yes, but, so make sure you leave that positive review for me. I mean, is this baggage gonna follow us forever? And even more importantly, what does this mean as we step?

into leadership positions, become politicians, become parents. So let's start by just jumping into the content first, starting with the impact of generations. So when we use the term generation, we're using it commonly to explain that we're born around a similar time and experienced similar cultural influences during our upbringing. And we use these names because it's just, in reality, it's more succinct to use labels like millennials rather than always trying to define people by their.

Jessica Grossman (03:02.766)
birth year, like for example, you know, quote, people born in the 1980s and early 1990s. That gets, that gets annoying after a while. So the reason generation is important is because the era of one's birth and those cultural shifts over time really do significant how we act, some of our attitudes towards the world, the values we hold as we go through the world and even our personality traits. And according to some of the research that I did, this actually can impact us.

more than familial upbringing, which I think is just a really interesting thing to consider, of how much being born in a generation does impact our personality. So what causes generational differences? The first thing to think about is culture, right? And when we talk about culture, we're not just talking about the historical events that happen that shape our world and our perception, but it's really the group dynamics that emerge from that. It's the narratives, it's the societal narratives that we're seeing. Because at the end of the day,

we're really all interconnected. We might think that our personal choice leads us to make certain decisions or have certain mental frameworks, but at the end of the day, we're all interconnected and therefore the dynamics of a group and how we react to a historical event impacts us. Second, generational disparities are really driven also by technological advancements. And this profoundly alters the first thing I talked about, which is culture. So just to clarify for everyone out there,

When I say technology, we're not just talking about smartphones and computers, right? We're talking about things that go back into like the olden days. For example, something as simple as cooking over a fire versus cooking on a stove top. You can imagine that technological advancement has a particular impact on women, right? As we use stove tops, making food becomes just a more efficient process, which frees up time, particularly for women, which can impact the dynamics of family.

One thing to consider though, if you're like, hey, I don't feel like I belong to the millennial generation or some of these trends don't really, like I'm not attuned to these trends. One of the things to think about is even if you dislike the trend, you're counter to it, you're an advocate for change of the trend, the trend is still impacting you. So think about it this way. If all your friends and everyone is on Instagram, but you're not because you dislike it, you think it's bad for your mental health, which you're probably right,

Jessica Grossman (05:27.31)
The fact that everyone else is on it is still going to impact you in your way of living. These technological advancements, especially as we talk about this in the West, has created two big trends. The first is a rise towards individualism. The U .S. is already the most individualistic country, and this means we tend to emphasize personal choice and freedom over collective identity. And this is due to particularly technology makes it so that we don't.

really feel like we need to work together to survive. And this place is a greater emphasis on that idea of personal fulfillment, self -determination. But there's a downside to individualism. And Anne Helen Peterson actually just a couple of days ago, a week ago, came out with a article on the dark, I think it's called the Dark Heart of Individualism. And she's a cultural critic.

And it really discusses a lot of the problems with individualism and talks about how it endures in large part because it was built on a foundation of white supremacy. So things to consider when we talk about individualism and in a Western space and being millennials, a really interesting thing outcome in kind of subtly trickle in later. The other thing that technological advancement has made happen within a US -centric environment is this idea of a

slow life strategy and it really means what it says, right? Life has essentially slowed down as technology, things as like modern medical care means that we live longer. We have birth control now means that we have less kids and the kids are more wanted and the kids stay alive. So there's this cultural shift towards this idea of the slower life. This phenomenon really reflects a societal trend of extended youth and

older adulthood and you'll subtly see or maybe not so subtly see these come into the rest of the topics that we'll talk about today. And here's my quick disclaimer on these topics and the research I've done. It is mostly US centric. The research I just shared above and is actually cited from a book by Jean M. Twang and she is an American psychologist known for her research on generational trends. And it's from this book that's called Generations, the real differences between Gen Z,

Jessica Grossman (07:53.23)
millennials, Gen X, boomers in silence and what they mean for America's future. That's a mouthful, but you can see, right? The research is really US centric. Today's podcast will be really US centric. And even in her book, she shares that the population in 2020 was about, you know, the millennial population is 20 .5 % of the US population. And that 63 .7 % of that is white. And so this made me like,

Think about a little bit more about the traits we're about to hear about and how it's coming from a very white context due to if we're thinking about the average traits, right? And more than average of millennials are white. How does that impact the data that we're thinking about today? Like, can you be entitled even when you're not from a nonprivileged background? These are the questions that were going through my head when I was reading the data and thinking about the episode. So a few of those questions were on the same page. Before we jump into the

actual research traits of millennials, let's have a little bit of fun and spill the tea on my favorite millennial stereotypes. So first up, we've got disruptive self -interested because it's only important to shake things up when it benefits our own life. Then there's this whole trophy kids or deal in saga, which I've never quite understood because I'm pretty sure as a child, a rejected anything that wasn't a first place trophy. So,

Maybe just me thing, but I mean, this has really left us labeled as impatient, disengaged, narcissistic, and anxious, which all applied to me as well. So we can go ahead and thank our parents for their helicopter parenting ways, which really set us up for something. For something. Then next, we were apparently called a bunch of needy, high maintenance, fragile snowflakes, but hey, life.

It's because life is just so much easier now than ever. When we're addicted and triggered by everything on our phone. I mean, even smiling faces of friends creates a deep sense of FOMO and isolation for me. And finally, we're in the age of job hopping because why commit to anything longer than a Netflix binge session? So we would take a step back, right? These stereotypes don't quite align with being a capable

Jessica Grossman (10:17.998)
steady, entrusted leader. So what happens when us, these young, entitled trophy kids aren't young anymore? Haven't received a trophy since we won our fantasy football league around six years ago, which we stopped trying recently because we're all too tired and exhausted from the kids that we're raising using gentle parenting techniques where we tell ourselves healthy, not happy as we struggle to support our kids during wild tantrums.

Now that we've wrapped our heads around the stereotypes we're working with, what are the current actual researched millennial traits? So I'm going to just list through these and fly through some of these and then we'll circle back to the ones that I'm the most interested in. So the first one is entitlement, but like in parentheses, for some. So then this is really a result of an apparent trend within a generation, meaning that

Apparently the older millennials are more narcissistic than the younger millennials. The second trait are that we're digital natives. The third is that we're highly educated. We're actually the most educated cohort in American history and consequentially this means that millennials have actually started their careers later, which has delayed major life milestones. We're also high learners, right? And this is kind of counter to, I think, what we're told.

because despite these delays, we're still financially outperforming our predecessors with households headed by millennials earning more than those of previous generations. And this actually holds true for black and Hispanic Americans and especially women. So women are really making up some of this gap. Another trait is that we are delaying committed relationships. We're less religious. We're liberal Democrats and libertarians. So really kind of,

on both sides of that political spectrum. We as adults were actually politically participatory. So a lot of people saw us as an apathetic generation, but actually as adults were very politically participative. We're racially conscious. We were happy as teens, but now we're depressed as adults. Just really interesting. So remember these traits are from Jean Twain's book, Generations. So if you're really interested, go back and read it.

Jessica Grossman (12:37.486)
So the question I always asked is, I was called too millennial. So if I look at these traits, were they right? Am I too millennial? And I will say, I scored a bit of a 10 on it. There's some nuances to these, but I would say I'm kind of a 10 on 10 on these. So I guess if the glove fits. So let's unpack a couple of these traits and understand them a bit deeper. So I...

Dub this section, the impact of millennials childhood on their self -esteem and adulting. And we're going to just start with childhood. Now millennials were raised in a pretty unique era as boomer parents opted for a more hands -on approach to parenting. And our childhoods really became a whirlwind of constant supervision and structured activities, soccer practice, theater rehearsals, the whole shebang.

And I mean, I can tell I'm a millennial for going to play the game. Tell me you're a millennial without telling me you're a millennial. Let's just say that my family started jokingly calling soccer our religion due to the fact that it practically took up our entire Sundays and to the very dismay of my mother, most of my life until adulthood. So a lot of this was because parents were really determined to provide their kids with a different experience from their own. They felt as though.

They were extremely separated from their parents. Maybe the parents were rigid or cold. And so they wanted to have a warmer relationship with their children. And as a result, it became the age of quote, parenting. Before this age, parenting was not a verb. It was just like parents. Like that was it. There was no ing. So a very impactful movement towards really thinking about parenting in a more intentional way.

This symbolizes, like this movement from parents to parenting symbolizes a culture of high expectations, social competition, and extreme cops. And I can even feel those things in my body as someone who's growing up, those three things. But again, also according to Twang, it really wasn't our parents' fault. Like we can't blame our parents for this one. It was also society. Society began emphasizing concepts like trying to boost self-esteem.

Jessica Grossman (14:56.974)
and schools alike rolled out programs aimed at fostering positive self-image. It was a beautiful well-intentioned gesture from society and from our schools. And they really thought in their head, they're like, what could go wrong with showering your children with praise, telling them they were special, giving them trophies for showing up. Look, look how happy this made our kids, right? They didn't, there was no foresight in how might this impact these young kids as adults. Here's the catch.

with parents trying to lift their kids both in spirit and social status without the need for actual achievement. It's kinda like grade inflation becomes the norm, right? If we could get our kids to believe they were a students, hopefully at some point as an adult, they become a students. But let's take a closer look at the actual implications of that.

kind of mindset. As research by Twang and others suggest, this approach actually had unintended consequences. It makes kids work less hard while actually expecting more. It inadvertently fed into a culture of narcissism characterized by an overinflated ego. And additionally, this type of feedback leads itself to a more fixed mindset, which is the belief that abilities and intelligence are innate and unchangeable. I don't know if you all know this, but there's a groundbreaking book,

That was published in 2006. It's conducted by Carol Dweck and she sheds light on a phenomenon where of this thing called fixed mindset versus growth mindset and a fixed mindset as she found leads to individuals avoiding challenges, giving up easily in the face of setbacks. Well, on the contrary, a growth mindset, which is the belief that your abilities can be developed through dedication and effort actually is the thing that fosters learning and resilience and ultimately achievement. So.

It's not a surprise when we think about these two mindsets, how empty praise and focusing on kids being special without the actual focus on the achievement itself might encourage more of a fixed mindset in kids than a growth mindset. Additionally, we've also come to learn something else in today's research, which is it's actually not self-esteem that's important, but rather self-efficacy, which is a term coined by Albert Bandura that

Jessica Grossman (17:18.67)
truly actually fosters resilience. So if you wanna enable resilience, you foster self-efficacy. And self-efficacy is the belief that we can accomplish a task. What are the things that actually build self-efficacy? The first is recognizing someone's effort, right? This reminds me a lot of that growth mindset principle. We build self-efficacy by praising people for their effort, recognizing the effort. The second is actually,

completing them. And then the last is that social support along the way. So you can see building self-efficacy is the actual instrument to building resilience, stands in stark contrast to the empty praise that we get as young kids. So how did this impact us as adults? Remember those high expectations I mentioned before? Well, let's just say our adult lives did not live up to them. Oh, the roots of wakenings of adulthood.

Thinking about this from a professional standpoint, millennials entered college and the workforce with rather high levels of self -esteem that some might describe as downright narcissism, which surprised and most likely irked and annoyed most of their bosses and people that managed them. According to Twang in her book Generations, quote, by the early 2010s, seven out of 10, seven out of 10.

Millennials believed they would be in the top 20 % performance in their jobs. Think about that. And write, quote, a mathematical impossibility, but a psychological reality for a generation raised to think highly of themselves. End quote. Right, this shows that inflated expectation. And when that inflated expectation entered the workforce in 2008 and was hit with a recession, pop goes your optimistic bubble. Now,

this first generation that's having to deal with the clickbait of media presence. Millennials now adopted a narrative that both talked about their economic struggles of the recession coming out of college into a poor economic environment alongside a high sense of entitlement in the workforce, which is, let's be honest, that's quite a dynamic story. Now moving to how this impacted them from a personal standpoint, being an adult, I think was just,

Jessica Grossman (19:42.222)
less appealing to this generation. I mean, I think about my own experience, I'm way more comfortable writing and recording this podcast than loading and unloading the dishwasher, which I'm not allowed to do in my house because I don't do it very well. Right. I mean, even closing the food bag so that the food doesn't get stale, that's a lot of work. So I think this shows what was born from this was another ing word. I think the ing's are

all coming out called adulting. Remember, our parents totally coddled us, never making us do chores because your job is to be a soccer star and to get good straight A's and so you don't have time to do any housework because you're too important in the family. You have too much to do all the time. It's a lot of work. If you're working out, if you're doing homework, wait, okay, now I'm just rambling about my son. Anyways, this harsh reality check upon entering adulthood introduced us,

to the wonderful world of adulting. I have two kids and let me tell you, adulting is really hard for me. In fact, most days I wake up and I think to myself, I prefer to not be an adult today. And through, you know, reflecting on my own distaste for mundane tasks, adulting really shows the struggles millennials encounter in navigating annoying adult responsibilities, right? It highlights this mismatch between our perceptions of ourselves and the actual demands of the real world.

which has been exacerbated by social pressures, economic challenges, and of course, social media. This is a real winner for millennials here. Which brings us to another millennial mental health paradox. While millennials were notably happy as teenagers, rates of depression has surged as millennials have transitioned into adulthood. I mean, I was definitely not a happy teen, but I'm glad statistically other people were.

I mean, maybe that's the key that set me up for adulthood is just being a very discontent teenage. But to be clear, like adulting is not the only thing that causes millennial depression, right? It's a very small part of this. I think a bigger major aspect of the worsening mental state for millennials is more of the politicalization of daily life alongside this influence of social media. And this, what the, how this has done is it's intensified our triggers.

Jessica Grossman (22:02.894)
In the workplace, I'm also seeing this play out in a really interesting way. I'm seeing it in this idea of this us versus them dynamic, which has become a staple in my consulting reports. And this is not just talking about political parties. That's not the us versus them. That's always coming through in the workplace. It's also these generational divides, which you can see are really, are really big. We have different ways of communicating and ways of.

working. I'm also seeing it show up in location, whether that's even in our location in the US or across the country with a more global approach to work. And what I'm seeing is this is making collaboration and culture building really challenging, really tricky. Additionally, right, going back to some of the other traits that I pointed out, the decline in traditional sources of social support. So one of the biggest contributors to resilience is social support.

So things like marriage, religious affiliation, so are causing, I think, a decrease in mental health and wellbeing because again, social support, really importance to wellbeing, spirituality, really high indicator of wellbeing. I couldn't sign off this podcast without deep diving into one of the bigger millennial traits, the fact that we're digital natives. And we're dubbed this because we came of age during the internet revolution, right? We remember what it's like kind of before.

the internet would dial up and really slow login and now we're very effective. We effortlessly navigate the digital landscape and prefer really the tap tap of a keyboard over the ring ring of a telephone. I know I truly panic at the sight of a phone call from basically well anyone, so don't call me. And this mastery of social media from Instagram to Twitter, I mean, definitely not me, but maybe others.

We've used this to really connect with friends, to launch businesses, and even spark social movements. I mean, for me, my big social movements is trying to get 10 mothers to get together for happy hour before we pick up our kids. I mean, there's no way I can do that by calling people. But another thing this has done is that it's really blurred the lines between work and our personal life, right? We're just like, we're always on. It's so easy to answer an email.

Jessica Grossman (24:22.734)
the communication lines of when do we send a text versus Slack is really challenging. So no wonder as a generation, we crave the idea of work -life balance because it's really hard to get it. And the fact that we also crave the flexibility, you have a job that allows us to do stuff on our own terms because you're just always on, it's really hard to get off. And this is not a good look for wellbeing that requires reset, rest, and bound. According to Nathan Bennett in his academic article,

readying millennials for the C -suite, a key to future organizational performance. We're going to get real for a moment. Although millennials are highly socially networked, we're not, apparently we're not socially savvy. I mean, I thought I was, but now I'm starting to question that. And one thing that it's very hard for people to learn from Google apparently is soft skills. Like AI is great for teaching us a lot of things, but apparently not having a conversation.

The article actually suggests that quote, they are great at using their phones, but not great at using their voice. End quote. All right. We feel more comfortable DMing and sending a text, not having actual conversations. And I think this is shown through a world of ghosting and quiet quitting as being real things. So how are we navigating then the things that are critical for us as leaders? Things like.

having hard conversations, giving feedback, setting clear boundaries and expectations. Those are critical as leadership skills. So how are we doing with those? I'm gonna say anecdotally, anecdotally from my own experience, not very well at all. This is something I hear time and time again from organizations is that their leaders have a really hard time having necessary and critical conversations. And this is even especially true.

with rising Gen Zers who actually need a bit more clarity in how to do work. They have less modeling, they need more structure, they need more expectation set. And us as millennials are not very good at apparently using our voice for this type of conversation. Of course, we're good at using our voice to get our opinions heard, but not actually having conversation. But we'll save that one for another podcast. So to close up this first episode, in 2020,

Jessica Grossman (26:40.11)
an academic literature review by Galdums and Gihan. I probably totally didn't say their name right, but they explained that as of 2019, 50 million workers in the US were millennials, the largest generational workforce. And millennials account for 3 million more Gen Xers, just so you all understand the scale. So it's time for a reality check. We millennials have stepped into our prime years of adulthood. So it's...

that we get a reassessment because we are not the fresh -faced rookies demanding a seat at the table anymore. Nope, we're the ones in the corner office grumbling about the ways of working of the newest crop of Gen Z employees. But hold on tight because the workplace is in for a wild ride. The slow life strategy has made boomers stay in leadership positions longer, right? It's kept that transition prolonged.

but I think change is more on the horizon than we think because as Gen Z enters this workforce, millennials hit their 40s and Gen Xers inch closer to their 50s. These dynamics are rapidly changing. And guess who's stepping into those leadership roles? You guessed it, Gen Xers and us millennials. Twang actually suggests that Boomers are set to retire completely by 2030. So those reigns are being passed to me.

In that article around the C -suite, they ask, quote, are millennials ready to lead? The answer I would say no, but to be fair, nobody is. It's like parenting. Nobody is prepared to parent until they become one. The question really is, what are we doing to teach and support our leaders in today's world? End quote. So watch out world. Two Millennials Movement is here and ready to prepare you to be

best leader you can be. And that's a wrap for today's episode of To Millennial. If you found yourself nodding along, you know the drill. Smash that subscribe button wherever you're tuning in. And if you want a daily dose of leadership wisdom with a sidekick of quirky parent jokes, catch me on Instagram at Coach Jessy Grossman. But hey, if you're serious about leveling up yourself, your team, head over to zlncoaching .com.

Jessica Grossman (29:02.638)
where we have great tools, resources, and case studies that will help you unlock your potential and enhance your team's resilience and performance. Because here's the truth, when we don't invest time in building our own leadership skills and the skills of those around us, problems fester. We feel disconnected and it's just so hard to get work done. So if you need an executive coach, a sounding board, an offsite facilitator, a team consultant, get in touch. Thanks for hanging out with me on Two Millennial.

Until next time, stay curious, stay bold, and keep growing.

to our inogra -folk, inogra -cal, inogra -cal, oh my gosh, I can't even start the podcast off right, the inogra, inaugural, inaugural, welcome, I'm not gonna use that word, yeah, definitely not gonna use that word

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