Trouble with millennials
Young adults struggling with real life
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.”
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.