Are We Overly Critical of Millennials' Desire for Meaningful Work?

dream big
This is the second post in a short series of thoughts on Millennials. Read the first one here.

We usually applaud the desire to do good work and live a good life. When most generations dare to dream big, we call it "inspirational." But when Millennials dream big, we call it "entitlement."

Study after study confirms the same thing: overall, Millennials say they are more motivated by the desire to make a positive difference in the world and live a good life than previous generations have been. Maybe it's because we're naive. Maybe it's because we know that we can always move back into our parents' basements if we fail. 

Whatever the cause, our desire for meaningful work is what pushes a lot of us to chase after pie-in-the-sky dream careers and do whatever it takes to make them happen, even if that means navigating a malaise of low-paying jobs to get there.

No, we shouldn't encourage Millennials to complain and play the victim. Every generation has its own challenges and opportunities. Every age has its joys and its sorrows. Millennials are experiencing problems unlike any that came before us, but we also have advantages that no other generation has ever had.

But more importantly, we shouldn't disparage the Millennials desire to choose a lifetime meaningful work over a lifetime of meaningless drudgery. We should celebrate it. Encourage it. Nurture it.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

Speaking for my fellow Millennials, I say that the future belongs to us.

photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc