I’ve personally never like being clumped into the class of millennials. We are known as spoiled selfie kids with terrible work ethic. And I hate that, because I believe our generation is called to greatness. Being raised in the Midwest I am no stranger to hard labor. As a 1987 baby I am barely on the cusp of being a millennial…yet I still am one.
But being grouped with this generation can bring about some fresh perspectives on things. Like the obsession our culture has with running, it’s simply fascinating.
My family has taken up running and I am so proud of them. But my philosophy is that I will only run if something is chasing me. When I take away all the pandemonium with running, at its core I see a desperate need leaking from inside of us.
There is the Spartan Race, the Iron Man, the Turkey Trot, and on and on. Running has become so popular that we now have pop culture themes like the Zombie Run, the Color Run, and the Inflatable Run to excite and entertain those who simply hate running.
So, I ask myself, why do we run? At its core I believe millennials have been conditioned in life to excel. It starts when we are young, we pass first grade then are rewarded by gaining entrance to second. In high school we compete to be the best in our class or for class president. Compete, compete, compete. It’s been ingrained into our psyche.
Then, the wake up call hits, as we entered the working world and realized this beast called, “ The Corporate Ladder.” And it’s clear that climbing it isn’t as quick or easy as we hoped. After one year in a company you may not even be close to reaching the second rung.
This gap between our American competitive, success oriented upbringing versus reality can be draining and disheartening. That’s why millennials have taken up running, the ladder of success is easier to grasp, more within our control, and the success is quick. First a 5k, then a 10k then a half marathon. New races and greater distances are an easy way to see our progress in life.
This failure to quickly excel in the workplace is why millennials don’t keep a job for more than a year. This is where I am guilty. I am 28 and have been working since I was 22. Yet I have never reached a 2 year anniversary with a single company. But, what is interesting is that whenever I left a job; it was because the next job was a huge step up in pay or prestige. Therefore creating my own system of instant gratification and success that may have taken years at one company.
So what am I saying? Is running bad? No, other than shin splints. I actually admire those who run, those who have grabbed their ladder by the rungs and see tangible progress in their life.
But I do think we need to open the conversation of how millennials, or any generation, have become the way we are recognized today. It’s easy to say that we cant hold down a job and that we don’t work well in the corporate America system. But there is always a deeper reason. Search for it.