Trou­ble with mil­len­ni­als

Young adults strug­gling with real life

Whitsunday Times - - LIFE FAMILY LIFE - SHANNON MOLLOY

FORGET lazy, self-cen­tred or cocky – the truth about most mil­len­ni­als is they’re ab­so­lutely hope­less when it comes to ba­sic life and work­place skills, ex­perts say. Re­search shows young adults are com­fort­able putting them­selves ‘out there’ on­line, but all that time glued to screens has raised a gen­er­a­tion in­ca­pable of small talk, crit­i­cal think­ing and prob­lem-solv­ing. And that’s not to men­tion their stag­ger­ing in­abil­ity to cook, draft a per­sonal bud­get or change a tyre. “There’s been a very steep de­cline in in­ter­per­sonal skills and it means that re­gard­less of their school re­sults, young peo­ple are go­ing to strug­gle to get a job,” educator Michaela Launerts said. Launerts has writ­ten the book #Girl­code, which she de­scribes as a guide to in­ter­act­ing prop­erly on this side of a screen. “It teaches peo­ple how to pre­vent po­ten­tial dis­as­ters in their pro­fes­sional and per­sonal lives that may oc­cur be­cause of the con­se­quences of their on­line and (on­line-in­flu­enced) be­hav­iour.” Topics can­vassed in­clude the ba­sics, like shak­ing hands, to more ad­vanced ar­eas such as how to con­vey pos­i­tive body lan­guage, groom­ing, the art of con­ver­sa­tion, din­ner eti­quette and man­ag­ing in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ships. The blame for many of these per­sonal in­ad­e­qua­cies lies with

THEY’RE SO USED TO BE­ING ABLE TO FILTER THEM­SELVES BE­FORE THEY POST SOME­THING ON­LINE THAT THEY GET STUCK IN A KIND OF REAL-LIFE STAGE FRIGHT. EDUCATOR MICHAELA LAUNERTS

the in­ter­net, she be­lieves. A num­ber of other so­ci­ol­o­gists agree. Tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances has made ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion re­dun­dant in many parts of life – or­der­ing a pizza, tak­ing part in a uni­ver­sity class, plan­ning a hol­i­day and even gym per­sonal train­ing can all be done via an app. What this means is young peo­ple aren’t used to speak­ing to some­one in per­son or on the phone, and the thought of do­ing so ter­ri­fies them. A sur­vey of Amer­i­can mil­len­ni­als by One Poll found 65% don’t feel com­fort­able en­gag­ing with some­one face-to­face, and 80% pre­fer con­vers­ing dig­i­tally. As a re­sult they’re less likely to un­der­stand how they’re per­ceived by oth­ers in real life. They strug­gle to strike up a con­ver­sa­tion and can’t nav­i­gate tricky prob­lems like work­place con­flict. Their time man­age­ment is shock­ing and they de­sire se­nior roles they can’t pos­si­bly hope to hold down. “They’re so used to be­ing able to filter them­selves be­fore they post some­thing on­line that they get stuck in a kind of real-life stage fright,” Launerts said. “I’ve spo­ken to teenage girls who are more fright­ened of eat­ing in pub­lic than putting a provoca­tive pic­ture of them­selves on­line. That’s so fright­en­ing to me.” Rachel We­in­stein, a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist who founded The Adult­ing School in the US, said mil­len­ni­als floun­der when it comes to per­sonal fi­nances, meal plan­ning, time man­age­ment and gen­eral home-based tasks. “Due to bud­get cuts and re­struc­tur­ing, schools have changed cur­ricu­lum and cut cour­ses like (home eco­nom­ics) and con­sumer sci­ence,” she said. “Fam­i­lies are busy in this fast-paced so­ci­ety and there’s less time to fo­cus on house­hold chores, where kids would be learn­ing those skills.”

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

SKILLS SHORTAGE: Young adults are com­fort­able putting them­selves ‘out there’ on­line, but all that time glued to screens has raised a gen­er­a­tion in­ca­pable of small talk, crit­i­cal think­ing and prob­lem-solv­ing.

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