I’m a Millennial: Don’t Call Me

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Generational names are what separate us from our parents. According to Inc., the millennial generation will make up more than 50 percent of the workforce by 2020 and that statistic could not be more true at mRELEVANCE!

Pew Research Center labels the generations as follows:

Generations Defined

Millennials have a bad reputation: we are self-absorbed, entitled and lazy, among other not-so-favorable stereotypes. However, let’s be honest, we have been molded by our parents and the preceding generations, Generation X and Baby Boomers, to believe that we, millennials, can do and become anything. We do not want to merely talk about it; we want to do it and be rewarded for our efforts, very similarly to our predecessors at our age. We are simply more vocal about it.

Then again, millennials are also described as “connected, open to change and confident,” according to Pew Research Center. The teens and 20-somethings who are entering adulthood at the start of the new millennium are a generation that has effortlessly kept up with the technological advances of the last 20 years, while Generation X and Baby Boomers trail behind or scramble to learn. We are motivated to learn new things. No, we do not always watch the news or pick up a physical newspaper, but when we scroll through our social media feed, we see a multitude of current events and articles that we, surprise, read voluntarily.

Pew also reports that millennials are:

  • More ethnically and racially diverse than other adults
  • Less religious
  • Less likely to have served in the military
  • On track to become the most educated generation in American history
  • Placing parenthood and marriage above career and financial success as a priority, yet millennials are getting married later in life than their predecessors.

One depiction that continually describes the millennial generation: we are always on our phones. (Yet, you never answer the phone. You just text! Adds Gen X editor Carol Morgan and mRELEVANCE managing partner.) In fact, Mobile Marketing Engine reports that 90 percent of all text messages are read within three minutes. Phone and device use has gotten so out of hand, that The Guardian reports that New Jersey, among other states, has introduced a “distracted walking” law. In an effort to lessen the number of pedestrian fatalities, the proposed law would fine pedestrians who use a wireless telephone or electronic communication device on a public roadway, up to $50 per infraction and/or 15 days’ imprisonment, a similar punishment to jaywalking infractions. Other states that have introduced, but failed to implement such laws, include Arkansas, Illinois, Nevada and New York.

Someone even devised a mealtime game: everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table, and the first person to check their phone before the bill comes has to buy everyone’s food! (Morgan adds, we should play this game at staff lunch outings.)

It used to be that mobile phone plans had a specified number of minutes and text messages allotted per month, but, now, plans set data limits while offering unlimited calls and texts for free.  Millennials are a generation that for the most part grew up with mobile phones and, according to OpenMarket, when given the choice between only being able to text or call on their mobile phones, 75 percent of millennials opt for texting over talking. Texts are “more convenient”, less disruptive and on their own schedule, not to mention the fact that 19 percent of us “never check voicemails”.

Keeping with the current trends, many companies have even adopted text communications for appointments, payments, deliveries and more, which is what millennials prefer.

There are plenty of reasons why millennials avoid answering phone calls that are not reflective of a lazy or self-absorbed attitude. Inc. explains, millennials avoid calls because we assume that what should be a five-minute phone call will be anything but, in addition to the fact that phone calls presume that the person you are calling should drop everything and honor your schedule. We prefer to text and follow that with a call if the person is available or we feel it is appropriate. We see this as a smarter, more effective way to communicate that is less distracting to the work place and our personal lives.

Having said that, it is important to be able to successfully work with millennials. Our team at mRELEVANCE is composed of Generation X and millennials, but to prove that we are a functional team within our age gaps, we all took Pew Research Center’s “How Millennial Are You?” quiz. Scores ranged from 69 percent (surprisingly from someone who technically falls into the millennial age range) and 97 percent (from someone technically within Generation X). Our group average was 87 percent millennial, meaning that we are a team functioning well across multi-generations.

So, my tip is, if you are communicating with a millennial or attempting to communicate with them, if feasible, text them, don’t call. Of course in a work environment, it is often necessary to email and that is absolutely fine. We prefer email to phone calls, too.

Stay tuned for our next “Millennial” installment featuring tips on how to successfully work with millennials. For more information about what mRELEVANCE can do for your business, visit www.MarketingRELEVANCE.com or fill out our contact form.

Millennials

This series of millennial posts is written by Mandy Holm, a millennial and account coordinator at mRELEVANCE.  Light edits and comments have been added by Carol Morgan, Gen X and managing partner.