The World Economic Forum posted a great article last week stating that the last time our country had as many adults living with their parents, the year was 1880. As someone born in 1980, this struck me as pretty interesting stuff and it left me wondering how the largest, best educated and most affluent generation in our nation’s history, the millennial generation, is still sleeping under mom and dad’s roof?
This confirms something that I’ve been saying about my own generation for a while now: We need to realize that we aren’t our parents.
My parents were born at the back end of the baby boom generation. I watched them both work insanely hard when I was growing up. I remember celebrating Christmas when my mom wasn’t working, rather than on the actual holiday. I remember springs and falls of only seeing my dad for a few minutes in the morning because he spent his evenings after work either planting for harvesting the crops on our family farm until the job was done. Both of my parents exemplified a work ethic that was common of their generation. So much so that an entire industry of seminars, books, and audio programs popped up around this idea of work / life balance. Our parents worked so hard that they needed experts to tell them that they had to take time off.
It seems to me that my generation and the one that has followed us have taken all of the advice about life balance to heart but forgotten all about the work part. We all seem to come out of college thinking that we deserve the same life that our parents worked 20 years to acquire and we can’t have it, we’ll just stay home…with mom and dad.
I realize that this is speaking broadly of an entire generation but the numbers bear this out as 32% adults still live with one or more of their parents. Why? Because we’re not working hard enough!
Listen, one of the fundamental facts of life is that we aren’t paid for what we know; we’re paid for what we DO with what we know.
This means to get to work. Acquire the skill of applying all of the great education that our parents worked to give us. Develop the discipline of not quitting until the job is done, no matter how long it takes. These are the hallmarks of being an adult but many of us seem to have missed it.
I spend a lot of time talking about being taken seriously and developing the soft skills that help us stand out from our competition, but the first step to all of this is to show up. Realize that there is no such thing as a bad job because every job is another rung on the ladder to success and that nothing is beneath us.
We aren’t our parents but with the right amount of discipline and work, we could be.