Dear Boomers (in Healthcare)

There was one who thought he was above me, and he was above me until he had that thought.

Elbert Hubbard

Dear Boomers,

I have had an interesting 5 years dealing with doctors in healthcare, both in Malaysia and Australia (a short period). While I think no doctors will have any ill-intent, the method of communication has certainly felt otherwise. In this generation of leaders where the millennials will soon dominate, as you have in your time, I feel it is deeply important to understand how millennials work and communicate. In the context of my writing, I will also want to factor in many considerations, which you will soon realise, if you have not before.

Unfortunately Boomers, in all my dealings with you guys, there have never been a time where it was easy. I often feel the arguments all stem from just pure miscommunication and the lack of consideration and understanding given. I feel that a lot of presumptions and biased perception, experience of the past have led you, Boomers, to judge a person. Let me tell you why this is a bad mentality. Dear Boomers, we, millennials now live in a time of uncertainties. We live in a time where we have to deal with our mental health, the lack of understanding from third parties, the biased opinions where we are not good enough (because everyone thinks they are better), the amount of competition because let’s face it, you win or you lose, nobody will care about your mere existence and certainly the judgements we receive from you, Boomers. While I do think the society has not changed, I still think it is the same. But remember, how millennials were raised, we are far different from how our parents were raised. In a time of hardship, poverty, war and going through a period of massive achievements, Boomers can become very proud of what they can accomplish and therefore look down on everyone else who could not. They are not only prejudiced but they put the comparison above anything else, because Boomers think that if they can, everyone can. But it really is not the case. Do not be confused, this entire thought process only invites conflict and competitions.

Dear Boomers, understand this, all of you may have lived through a time of hardship, we did not. We acknowledge and we sympathise that you did; we are glad you did, without you, there isn’t an us in this picture. Your achievements have brought you joy, pride and prosperity. You’ve shared all that with us, leaving hardships behind us and ensuring a comfortable life for your children. Most parents would not let their children suffer, and therefore there is a saying where we are all born with silver-spoon, stuck-up brats and unappreciative bastards. But hey, you made it that way, own up to your plates! There will always be a conversation between millennials where we feel our Boomer parents or our Boomer superiors are absolutely condescending. That is because, they are! I feel that Boomers say a lot, but they don’t actually preach them. Do you expect an exemplary role to follow through with us? I bet you, not.

We, millennials face all different kinds of hardship. We are glad that poverty or war isn’t on our plates, but we now face more personal dangers like bullying, harassment etc. Remember this, our society has now progressed and advanced, we no longer expect an impending war to come whatsoever. We have now surpassed that period of time and therefore it will be unwise to think how weakly a millennial is now compared to their parents and their grandparents. This is a time where competitions is above everything, and it is a competition where we fight for name, glory and money. It is a time where if you’re no good at this, you’re no good at anything. At least, this is the mentality our Asian parents have imparted on us. Because if not, why do Asian parents send their kids for art classes, music classes, boxing classes, and all the tuitions because Asian parents fear their kids aren’t good enough, or that they think their kids are terrible at it. Sure your child may be bad at maths, but if you haven’t given the right motivation and encouragement, don’t blame the kid for doing it all wrong. Address your parenting and then address the needs of your child. Certainly, none of the Western kids have got Mandarin, Bahasa, English, Math, Science, History and Geography tuitions, all laid out within 5 nights a week. Weekends are perhaps reserved for classes like art and music. And don’t blame kids for not spending more time with you people! You put us all through these busy schedule.

Dear Boomers, we live in a time where our parents put us through all this because they want us to be better and that the lack of achievement is probably a shame to the family. We probably understand, maybe. But what is more surprising is probably the amount of wows and talks about your children’s achievement during a CNY gathering or during a coffee meet-up. You glorify your kids all for your own personal pride and personal intent. When your kid isn’t doing well, envy takes over and you torture your child.

Dear Boomers, we live in a time where I think most millennials will eventually learn of the importance of managing expectation. This is probably because our parents have imposed unjustifiable restrictions, unexplainable rules and unreachable goals. Millennials at this day and age have come to realise about time management and organisational management and all of which can only be managed if the expectation is properly dealt with.

Dear Boomers, while you think your word is gold, we think that everything needs to be justified and reasoned. We don’t believe in authoritarian. We believe in forging meaningful partnerships and collaboration. We believe that this is the time where working together makes a better impact. This is why in healthcare and in education, more and more learning spaces are coming up. We also now have a tremendous amount of co-working spaces that are available. That is because it isn’t just us millennials that believe in them, it’s also the Generation X and maybe the Boomers (to a certain extent), who also believe that no companies, societies or organisations can survive this world without friends and supporters. All the more reason why it makes it so difficult for millennials to survive. Not only do we now have to face competitions, we have to balance that with forging alliances with people who are themselves struggling. But we know that there is a vision that is long term and that if we work hard enough, we can all achieve that vision. And remember, above all that competition, our parents still think we haven’t spent enough time with them, tell me where have my time went, and tell me, did you not just tell us to do better?

So Boomers, you may have come from a time of hardship, we are now in a time of balancing our lives. Because when millennials function in the society, we tend to overwork ourselves (either this or our Boomer employers put all of our lives at risk), because we want to see an outcome that is satisfactory and appreciable. We are constantly being seen as inferior and we strive to work harder, to do better. While Boomers, you may have either fought the war or you ran for your life, we stayed to fight our own wars. We push ourselves to “deal with it”, because in reality, adulting is confronting, and that, for all millennials, is probably the hardest. Clouded by social media frenzies and the amount of mental health issues in our young population, the struggle is inevitably harder, not by your standards, but by each and everyone’s own standards. We are indeed living in a very lonely society, filled with competitions, judged by others, looked down, bullies; and yet we still try to survive in our own ways.

There is absolutely no shame in prioritising our mental health, mind you.

To all the Boomers in healthcare, thank you for your hardships. We understanding the bureaucracy and the hierarchical mishaps you have to go through, but we now need not live in that era. Change starts when you decide when it starts. But so long as you Boomers are in power, you know that no one can say otherwise. But remember, millennials have a very collected voice, very vocal and extremely powerful when come together. This is where I feel, our achievements are at its best when we all work together for a common vision.

To all the Boomers in healthcare, it is okay to not see or realise our vision, but here is my piece of advice, Look for a new perspective, actually learn and appreciate how things are done overseas. Then come back and tell me how things can be better here. It isn’t always the case where you are right, and we are wrong and that you know better, and we know nothing. Because all the millennials today can tell you that there will always be a better way. Here is the better way: gain a new perspective, have empathy and hear us out, and treat us with respect.

To all the doctors who once called us medical students: anencephaly, dumb or useless medical students, I challenge you to instead think of a better word to encourage and motivate us.

Cheers.

P.S. This probably should not represent all the millennials, but herewith my thoughts. I hope to not inflict any offence to anyone and that the concept of Boomers should not reflect everyone within that era.

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