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The Problem with Indonesian Millennials

First of all, what is a millennial? The older generation simply calls the millennials the Internet Generation. But who are the millennials really? Below is a definition provided by urbandictionary.com which sums it up quite nicely:

Millennial is an identity given to a broadly and vaguely defined group of people. There are two wings of "Millennial" that are often at odds with each other: Generation Y (people born between 1981-1991) and Generation Z (born between 1991-2001). People of Generation Y often have characteristics similar to Generation X, which is why Generation Z will confuse Generation Y with Generation X and then claim to be the generation that represents "Millennial," when in fact, birth years for Millennial range from about 1981-2001, just as the birth-years for Baby Boomers ranged from 1946-1964.

This definition would make me the older generation millennial – Gen Y. Given that, I think I’m allowed to criticize my peers. So, here goes…

Bill Murphy Jr. wrote the article “17 Bad Habits That Can Make Millennials Look Really Unprofessional” for www.inc.com and I think he was being super polite by adding the word “look” there. The list includes ‘not really understanding entrepreneurship’, ‘refusing to pick up the telephone’, ‘lack of focus’, ‘expecting too many perks’, ‘acting too cool to care’, ‘being overly certain’, and some other disrespectful habits if I might say freely. You may check the full article here.

While in my honest and humble opinion, note that I’m a part of the generation, millennials in Indonesia are worse – much worse.

Millennials in a Third World Country

Ever heard people say that Indonesia is 10 years behind other countries? Well, maybe not exactly 10 years. But we get the idea, Indonesia is far behind. If you compare the technology that we have to German’s, it’s fair they laugh at us. If you look at the level of manner and education of the Japanese people, we would seem slightly uncivilized (I’m being very careful with the words I use already). However, technology has been making these gaps smaller. Smaller how? Smaller in a way that we know there are more happening outside our country, in the world. That it is easier to learn from other countries because we have the internet with its overflowing information. We are getting there.

The problem with us is that we tend to forget that we are not there yet. The social media is a good platform to share stories, information and ideas. There are so many advantages that come from using social media, it has opened many doors. But there is a huge downside to it that we do not realize. The millennials that are active users of social media are way too exposed to lifestyles that maybe so common in countries we call first and second world countries. We need to remember that we are living in a third world country and life here is different to the life Hollywood actors or many successful content creators are displaying on their social media accounts. This brings us to our next problem.

Indonesian Millennials Make Bad Employees

Why? Aren’t we super smart and resourceful? It’s not just about skills and millennials do not seem to get it. Quoting a few sources from “17 Bad Habits That Can Make Millennials Look Really Unprofessional”:


"Millennial candidates should forget what they see in the movies and read on social media, and focus on the career opportunity instead of the perks.”

--Lauren Bigelow, executive director, Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition


"I'm a Millennial, and my generation got gold stars for pretty much everything. Now we're in the working world where if you make a mistake and get called out for it, [it seems as if it's] almost a better idea to jump off a cliff than come into work tomorrow. Mistakes happen to everyone. ... They do not mean your career is over."

--Heather Taylor, Freelance Writer


"I have been hiring positions [and] the requirements [include] a real estate license and a three-month training period. ... No Millennial we've encountered wants to take their time to train through a process, [so] our most recent hire has been someone in the Baby Boomer generation."

--Steven Clarke, Steven Clarke Real Estate


Millennials are spoiled and self-absorbed, aren’t we? Even at work? Yes, especially at work. We think success comes easily because we have the skills and that working should be fun and we should be made as comfortable as possible while we work. Oh honey, it doesn’t usually work like that and to make it worse, this is Indonesia. We are getting better, but it’s still a long way. It is a process. So please be part of the process.

As someone who has been working at FULLSTOP Indonesia for a while, I see the problems, maybe even am part of the problems at times. Generation Z does need different approach and policies. The younger hires usually come off as more ignorant and prove that they are later on. It is tricky to work with the younger millennials but with the right approach we can mature their thinking. It does require more effort and we would think that they are the problem. They are. But they need to no longer be so that the working world is progressing and their skills don’t go to waste. As for the millennials, please meet your seniors in the middle. You know, like the song.