The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

February 5, 2013

My Message To The Millenials

By Jim Hessler

On a recent edition of The Boss Show, our guest Kim Arellano talked with us about the “demise” of the Baby Boomer generation. Sometime in 2014, there will be more MIllenials (those who “came of age” at the turn of the century or later) than Baby Boomers in the workforce. (To listen to the show:  or go to )  Talking with Kim got me thinking. What would I like the Millenial Generation to know about how I feel towards them?

  • I want you to be even more successful than I’ve been.  I take delight in your accomplishments.
  • Having said that, I have deep concern (and some guilt) about the world I’m turning over to your generation.  I hope against hope that we haven’t screwed it up beyond your ability to fix it. My generation has been shamefully selfish and stupid about things like climate change and social inequality. I don’t just worry about the seventh generation, I worry about my kids and my grandkids. My heart is full of fear and hope for all of you.
  • I get angry at you obsessing with data and small electronic screens instead of lifting up your eyes and looking at the incredible world around you. I implore you to leave your devices at home and roll around on the grass or climb a tree.
  • In line with this, I would like to see you focused on becoming a person rather than a “brand.” Keep in mind that the 10 people in your life who know you well and love you for exactly who you are, are far more important than the 500 “friends” who interact with your internet persona.
  • Your facility with technology intimidates me. Please be kind and patient as I ask stupid questions, and don’t judge me for sometimes choosing not to participate. Help me separate those things that truly make life better (like indoor plumbing) from those things that are just pleasant diversions.
  • You don’t want to hear this, but there really is no substitute for experience.  Go forth and fail. Run a business, raise children, travel, gain and lose weight, get a divorce, buy a house. I think I’ve learned 80% of everything I’ve ever learned from paying attention to the life I’ve lived. Live your life, pay attention, and then circle back with others to guide their way. There is so much that can’t be learned through Google searches.
  • I want you to question EVERYTHING. This world desperately needs you to challenge the conventional thinking and conventional behaviors that have gotten us – in good ways and bad – to where we’re at today. I believe it’s your courage to speak truth to power that will define your generation.
  • Please, please promise me that in 50 years there will be no such thing as reality television.

About the Author

Jim Hessler bootstrapped his way from retail work into a successful career as salesman, sales manager, Fortune 500 executive, and corporate turnaround engineer. Along the way, he developed The Leadership Platform, a proven model for training managers to become sustainably better leaders. It became the basis of his leadership primer, Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guild to Building Your Leadership Platform. Jim is the founder of Path Forward Leadership Development Services.

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