I was one of the many who read a post this week on Medium from a young woman named Talia Jane.   Ms. Jane penned an open letter to her employer outlining her dismay at being underpaid, overworked, and uncertain how she was ever going to move forward in her professional life.  The same day that her post appeared, she was fired.  She then added an addendum asking for donations online from readers.

Not surprisingly, this set of a flurry of vitriol in the comment forums and across social media.  Most responders painted Ms. Jane as the poster-child for an entitled, spoiled, and lazy generation of young people that we’ve come to call millennials.  Many responders, like screenwriter Stefanie Williams, responded online by relaying their own stories of struggle in their early professional lives and urged Ms. Jane to essentially ‘shut up and get to work.’

I won’t defend Ms. Jane who does come off as entitled, spoiled, and lazy in her letter.  And I won’t defend Ms. Williams who comes off like my grandfather and his stories of trudging uphill both ways to school as a kid in the dead of winter with nothing but a baked potato in his pocket for warmth.

All I kept thinking about as I read the discussions online is how grateful I am for the amazing group of millennials who work at Advera Health Analytics.  They show up early, work late, take on as much responsibility as we can possible heap on them while still doing the ‘scut work’ that needs to get done, take great pride in their work, and are gracious and involving team players.  They work in all areas of our business from technology and data analytics to client services and sales.  Some have been with us from the get-go and some are newer members of the team, but they all bring an amazing array of talents and capabilities to their jobs.  There is nothing entitled, spoiled, or lazy about them.

Twenty years ago I started my professional life as a member of Generation X.  Back then, we were branded as “slackers.”  I’m not quite sure what the difference is between being a slacker and being entitled, but I know that the gross generalization of both generations is way overblown.  Are some millennials entitled and lazy?  I’m sure they are, just as I remember some members of Gen X being slackers.  But there are many more people in each generation who work incredibly hard and are valuable contributors to their chosen profession and to society as a whole.

We’ve spent the last couple of months buried in the process of rolling out the biggest data and functionality upgrade to our enterprise platform since our launch two years ago.  None of that work would have been possible without all of the members of our team – including the millennials - and the contributions that they make to the company every day.

If you want to learn more about what our team has been building to help increase patient safety and reduce healthcare costs, please contact us.

Brian Overstreet

Written by Brian Overstreet