I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of hearing about the Millennials and what they will or won’t do to shape the future and impact our lives.
But ignoring them is not a good idea because those of us from older generations are going to occupy that same future for a while, anyway, before we walk off into the vanishing point or Florida, whichever comes first.
Of course, individuals within a generation are different from one another but researchers tell us those born within a 20 to 30 year period tend to share a certain personality, character, temperament and outlook on life that was forged by experiencing the same history, cultural changes and technological advancements.
Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. We joke that these children came into the world holding an electronic device and that is why we call a grandchild when our computers go haywire or can’t figure out how to program our cell phones. Millennials are named as such because they are coming of age and into power in the new Millennia.
While every anthropologist and social scientist has a slightly different list of things Millennials are and are not, there are some consistencies.
For example, Millennials are supposed to be more liberal in their attitudes. That is bad news for local Republicans whose dominance in the Chagrin Valley has been shrinking over the past few election cycles.
The good news for Republicans of the Chagrin Valley is that fewer Millennials are engaged politically and see the country and the world in a more wholistic fashion. This could bode ill for the wall builders and immigrant jailers.
Pew Research Center has done a lot of work on this generation and has summarized Millennials in three words. Confident, Connected and open to Change.
Forbes, the American business magazine, says the Millennial worker just wants to have fun meaning they demand a balance between their work and personal lives.
They also desire an open and collaborative workplace and balk at doing things “the way we’ve always done them.” Whether all this collaborating and openness puts an end to workplace politics remains to be seen.
For all of the above reasons, and since Millennials are just now coming into their own, this bunch of people is going to be interesting to watch.
And this will be especially true in the microcosm of small towns like Chagrin Falls where their influence will be more visible and palpably felt.
The expert sociologists say the Millennials have a strong sense of community and enjoy problem solving as a group. Perfect for small towns like Chagrin Falls.
Does this mean a future mayor and village council will finally solve the parking problem by collaborating on how to fund and build a much-needed parking structure in downtown Chagrin Falls?
Many economists believe those people at the younger end of the Millennial generation will not be as well off financially as their older cohorts.
Does this mean Millennials will not have the where-with-all to demolish Chagrin Falls’ old houses to create empty lots on which to build McMansions?
Will the Millennials’ demands for balanced time between work and leisure make it difficult for Chagrin Falls shopkeepers to attract workers and schedule around their balanced free time?
And with their desire to have meaningful work, will Chagrin Falls’ retail and restaurant employment be enough to challenge forward thinking Millennials.
Will this cause shops to close? Will restaurants fail or become kitchens for the Door Dash, Grub Hub industry? Should that happen, will there be need for a parking garage in downtown Chagrin Falls?
Welcome, Millennials! And a request or two. Be better caretakers of the planet than we were and on your way in, please hold the door open for those of us on our way out.