Updated: May 5
The word “Millennials” has been used by the construction, building automation industry, and others in the past as an insult. Although I have not heard it in the past few years, it is not easy for me to forget the very popular rhetoric “Lazy Millennials that want everything handed to them without earning anything.” I, myself, am just within the Millennial age range and have been known to have many heated conversations about this unfair generalization.
BUT….Oh, how things have changed. Regardless of whether the opinions have changed the rhetoric most certainly has because we have learned something very important…We NEED young people. Not only do we need young people within our industry to continue on, but my guess they will be better at our jobs than any of us. They will help us over a major hurdle within this industry to answer the question as to why we are so slow to adopt new technology and digital ideals.
The digital transformation is very real within the building space but unfortunately very behind other industries. This is partially due to antiquated mindsets which only allowed us to move at a snail’s pace with regards to operating based on data, utilization of analytics, naming standardization, proprietary communication languages, etc. The Millennial generation, and even more so our younger counterparts, have already adopted these types of methodologies into their day-to-day lives. This adoption allows them to more readily understand the concepts that keep us in the past. If you need proof of this bold assertion, look at your smartphone and find any social media app and you will see where young people have already found the value in “tags” to help them filter through terabytes of like-minded leads of data to see the things that they want to see. When viewing that app, also assume that it was likely built by a small conglomerate of people using truly open-source software and computer programming languages because the tech industry has already shown them the value of open-source collaboration and builds. This also leads them to understand why universal nomenclatures, naming standards, and verbiage is so important.
Who would have thought that the detractors we heard in the past about the up-and-coming generations such as “you’re always on your phone” or “he/she just sits in the basement playing online all day” have actually prepared them to better handle the technology that we desperately need to integrate into this industry. That realization seems to have taken hold within this space as the rhetoric has changed from “millennials are lazy” to “come and work within this space because we need HELP!” Do not be surprised if, like me, others remember with disdain the way the building and construction space had looked at our past technological activities with disdain. Be careful about what you criticize because one day you may need the skills gained by the activity you once thought was worthless.
Just like the title states, we don’t deserve the superpower of the next generation but we surely need it.