It disappoints me when I hear members of my Generation X speak disparagingly of Millenials, referring to them as lazy, unmotivated snow flakes that will run our country into the ground as their generation ages into raising families and running our government and businesses. How quickly Gen Xers forgot that the same things were said about us by our Baby Boomer parents, yet we churned out the likes of Elon Musk, Larry Page and Sergey Brin (the latter two co-founders of Google). From my own childhood group of lacrosse playing, surfing, free spirits, we have a veterinarian, chiropractor, high ranking Bank of America attorney, celebrity fitness trainer, orthopedic surgeon, and three successful corporate executives. Take that Baby Boomers, we did just fine!
While it is true that Millennials tend to be job hoppers (according to the Harvard Business Review, 21% of Millennials have left their jobs for another in the past year – a number that is three times that of non-Millennials), it is not out of boredom, inability to handle stress, flakiness, or laziness. When we examine the data provided by Harvard Business Review studies on what motivates Millennials in the work place, they are clearly motivated by different factors than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers and interestingly, money is not a major motivating factor for them. Please see the chart below for complete list comparing generational employment motivation (from the Harvard Business Review).
We can clearly see that that Millenials are less money motivated and far more motivated by opportunity to learn and grow, good leadership, and opportunity for advancement. Clearly, if they do not see these things that they value in their job they have far greater compunction than previous generations to leave and find anther job more in line with their values. Curiously, interest in the type of work they do as a primary motivating factor puts them more in line with Baby Boomers than it does with Gen Xers who do not seem all that motivated to be interested in the type of work they do. It should actually not be very surprising in hindsight having known many Gen Xers that have remained in jobs they hated, bosses they detested or had toxic environments for years on end.
So, why do these traits make Millennials so well suited for veterinary medicine? Veterinarians and veterinary technicians are more than plenty qualified to have achieved admission for schooling to become much better paid human medicine equivalent MD’s and RN’s. The veterinary medical professionals that comprise our medical teams endured just as much education at the same expense as our human counterparts, yet chose a profession that pays significantly less. The we chose as we did is because the joy of our work healing and maintaining the health of animals is far more rewarding an experience for us personally. In short, our passion trumps our desire to make more money. When one loves what they do for a living they never really work a day in their life and Millenials embody that ideal.
The other reason veterinary medicine is well suited for Millennials is that the leadership and quality of management of veterinary medicine is evolving in a very positive way. Being owned in general by individuals who are by nature empathetic and idealistic, veterinary clinics as businesses in the past were very poorly run from a standpoint of both financial stability and human resources. With the advent of Veterinary Study Groups that create veterinary practice vehicles for proper budgeting, bench marking and implementing programs like Traction that define processes, standard operating procedures, and hold leaders as well as subordinates to be consistent and accountable to one another; the human resource culture and financial stability of veterinary clinics is heading increasingly into rarely heretofore seen levels.
In am grateful for the core group of Millenials that are part of the medical team of my veterinary clinic (some of whom are pictured in the featured image of this article). Most of them have been working in my clinic for years, all are punctual and work hard and diligently, truly care about the patients and our clients that love them, and as a result raise the bar of the level of veterinary medicine that we provide. We are all very excited to be adding our first Millennial doctor to the practice October 1, 2018.
So Baby Boomers and my fellow Gen Xers, stop belly aching about Millennials. Provided with good leadership, good training, and reasonable prospects for advancement in their careers, they will give you their all. It is a very good thing that careers are far more to Millenials than a means to earn a paycheck which is especially true in the field of veterinary medicine.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a globally recognized expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.