Understanding the Millenials

Understanding the Millenials

Nov 04, 2015

“You should teach!” That’s what the Acting Dean of the Ateneo John Gokongwei School of Management said to Marvin and me last Friday during the Culminating Night of The School of Management Week of said university. We were there to watch our son host the show. Whenever I talk to teachers (whether full-time or part-time), they always say that it is a rewarding profession, not in the material sense but in a deeper way. There are well-loved teachers and there are not-so-loved teachers. And I guess the difference basically lies in the ability of the educator to motivate the student. 

To motivate the young, it’s important to understand them. They have been recipients of not so flattering labels. Let’s see some of the tags usually attributed to the Millenials (born in 1980 – 2000).

  1. The Instant Gratification The Millennials are Digital Natives; as such, they have been exposed to fast-changing technology where efficiency is supreme. They can find out about anything and everything through the internet, no need to go to the library or check encyclopedia. An offshoot of this efficiency is getting used to instant gratification and consequently, impatience. In a conference conducted by Maybank ATR Kim Eng I attended a couple of months ago, I was surprised to find out that the average length of stay in a job for millenials is only 1.6 years!
  1. The Distracted While doing their homework or office work, they have so many other tabs open and their cellphone alerts them if there’s any new message, email, tweet, IG, FB post that comes in. Sometimes even while driving they are compelled to check those notifications. Some of them check their phones 50 times a day! 
  1. The Entitled After decades of using strict authoritarian parenting, there was a switch to indulgent parenting where almost every whim was granted with very little behavioral expectations from the child. In the 1980s when divorce/separation rates started to increase significantly, there was an over-compensating reaction from parents to make sure that their children will not suffer from lack of self-esteem or attention. They were made to feel the center of the universe, with every milestone and non-milestone event documented by their paparazzi-like parents, awards and excessive praises showered upon even the smallest achievements. Of course, when they grew up, they continued the work of their paparazzi parents by posting their own selfies and whines several times in a day on their social media channels.

Are all of the above true? Let’s take a closer look at each one of them.

The Instant Gratification is not a monopoly of the millenials. A lot of us born before 1980 have also become impatient. However, what we probably don’t share with them is their length of stay in an office – 1.6 years. But there could be an explanation to this. In the same conference, they presented that millenials are not loyal to the company they work for, but are loyal to the experience. Once they see that they are not getting the learning and experience they initially signed up for, they say goodbye in order not to waste time.

Their being distracted is what they want to call multi-tasking. J  Last Friday when I gave a talk at the ADMU on the culminating day of their School of Management Week, I was happy to see the intense energy of the students as they supported and cheered for their respective organizations. We didn’t have a lot of those orgs yet during our time. My sons, all three of them, joined multiple organizations and events, a far cry from what my husband and I did three decades ago. Again, because of the value that millenials put on experiences, they are willing to squeeze in additional hours of org work into their schedule, as they battle with the QPI (Qualitative Point Index) requirements, the same set we had to meet back then. We all know now that the best way to learn is not through a one-way teacher to student transmission of knowledge but through actual experiences. The only danger that I see here really is exhaustion and lack of quality sleep. I’ve given up arguing with the boys on the amount of sleep that they should be getting when they entered college.

In the same conference about millenials, I began to see a new and positive dimension of their being an Entitled Generation. I heard a few of them talk about their start-up businesses and advocacies. One was with Teach for the Philippines, a non-stock, non-profit organization that works to provide all Filipino children with an inclusive, relevant, and excellent education enlisting top graduates to teach for two years in public schools. Another one does back-end functions for start-ups so the latter could focus on their businesses. Still, another one works with a company that funds start-ups with potential to become worldwide.

These millenials spoke about their work with great enthusiasm, confidence and purpose. They spoke about what kind of world they want to help build. Then I tried to recall what I was doing when I was their age. I was focused on my own work in a financial institution, probably more interested on how to be promoted because that was our yardstick for achievement. Then I also recalled my conversations with my own millenial sons. They too, somehow know what the purpose of their current endeavor is to their lifelong dream and how it will help improve our world. They know that what they should be pursuing is their point of intersection (where their greatest strength and passion hits a greatest need). And they’re doing this because they know that they can contribute to society, because they are all entitled to a better world! To me, that’s the greatest sense of entitlement that everyone should have, and work hard for. 




  1. I will speak at the Knowledge Community, Inc. on How to Raise and Nurture Children to have High FQ on November 19, 2015 at the Crown Plaza Hotel.
  2. I will speak at the 6th PANA (Philippine Association of National Advertisers) Foundation IMC Youth Congress on November 27, 2015 at the Philippine Trade Training Center, Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. cor. Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.

Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon. Her new book is the Filipino version of the latter entitled Ang Muling Pagsasalaysay ng Ang Pinakamayamang Tao sa Babilonya. Click this link to read samples of the books. Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her at Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom, and Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom.


ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos from college.usatoday.com, bloomberg.com, reshellsmith.com put together to help deliver the message.

This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.