“You can’t go a day without seeing an article about Millennials, but they’re always written by people who are older”, states Scott Murphy of Business NH Magazine in Manchester. “We wanted to write an article about Millennials from the standpoint of Millennials themselves”. Using Young Professional organizations from throughout NH as a source, Murphy, who at the age of 23 is a millennial himself, invited other twenty-somethings from various industries and geographic points in the state to take part in a Millennial Roundtable last month. “Our goal was to get both blue collar and white-collar young workers with differing life experiences to come together for locally brewed beer and conversation on the topic”.
The Lakes Region demographic was represented by Attorney Brett Allard of Laconia’s Wescott Law. Allard, 26, resides in Concord and is the youngest of the firm’s attorneys, joining the firm a year ago. Others on the nine-person panel came from businesses in Newport, Merrimack, Temple, Wilton, Rochester and Portsmouth. While an effort was made to get participants from the northern part of the state, none were able to make the commitment due largely to the distance.
Participants came from a wide variety of industries including banking, private education, political, architectural, research, entrepreneurial, legal and even included a brewer. “With so much diversity one would expect differing opinions and input”, Murphy states, “but despite the different geographical and industrial backgrounds, there was a lot of similarity in their experiences and viewpoints”.
All expressed frustration with the generalities expressed by older people that Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1997, are among other things, lazy and entitled. “We’re said to have grown up receiving trophies just for showing up, but we didn’t ask for those trophies”, states Murphy with a laugh. “As a matter of fact, they didn’t mean as much to us because we knew everyone got one”.
Millennials were raised with technology, and as a result, have new ideas on efficient ways to get a job done. They see less need for meetings just for the sake of having a meeting and instead gravitate to shared information using private internet groups, apps, and digital communication. Business NH Magazine Editor, Matt Mowry explains, “This is a generation that doesn’t want to be saddled with a stereotype. They want to work hard but they also want a voice”.
Allard agrees stating, “In my experience, Millennials don’t mind working long hours, but it doesn’t have to be a strict 9-5 at a desk in the company office. Mobile technology provides greater flexibility and allows us to answer work related calls and emails from anywhere at any time. I’m lucky to work in a place like Wescott Law where my value is determined by the volume and quality of my work.”
Other topics of the roundtable included excessive student loan debt, the need for affordable housing options, the availability of jobs, work-life balance and even the need for more of a nightlife in many parts of the state. While agreeing that there is still room for improvement, the group was largely optimistic about living and working in New Hampshire and none had any intention of leaving any time soon.