This first came up in an article I read about Millennials having to take on responsibilities for things like global warming – and it’s not our fault. The economy being in turmoil – and it’s not our fault.
But if the last Millennials were born ~1997, they are now 21 years old. They are voting, and drinking – a majority (the 1981-1992 set) can rent cars. They can run for every office in the land (ok, so only like 2-3 years worth could run for President this year, but we have another 2 years and then…. well someone born in 1985 would be eligible for President, that is well within the range of Millennial age). We are now a generation of adults.
We are responsible.
We might not have caused the collapse of infrastructure. We may not have de-funded our education system. We didn’t cause the crash of the housing market in 2007/2008…. but we are going to have to be responsible for cleaning it up.
Ok, so all that’s big level stuff – but this fault vs. responsibility has kept cropping up in all kinds of ways. My husband and I were talking about chores around the house: pumping water off the pool cover; trimming the hedges; changing the filters in the A/C units; throwing away the junk mail… neither of us are at fault for these things – but we are responsible.
Every parent I know is going to be blinking and saying “duh” at this one – but those dirty clothes piled up in your toddler’s room. Definitely, their fault; but you are the adult and responsible for them having something clean to wear tomorrow. Same with running out of milk or the last cookie or the toys being broken… parents are responsible and they are definitely not the one doing all these things!
At work I am running a project with a team of about 6 people. I ran into an issue earlier this week where I wasn’t at fault, but if this thing didn’t get done the whole project would be massively delayed. And at the end of the day; when my senior leadership listens to clients either praise or criticize the results of this project…. I am responsible. So I spent my evening at home sitting at my dining room table cleaning up someone else’s mess.
It has really helped me stay away from feeling like a victim. Yes, I was pissed that I had to spend my “free time” dealing with someone else’s mess; but, I also knew that in six months when my senior leaders hear from clients who are in love with this – they are going to give me the credit. I am responsible; and that means I have the power to change things.