Dear Millennial Co-Worker,
As you enter the workforce and start your first “big boy or big girl” jobs, I thought it is my duty to share with you a few things us 40-year-old “old timers” may be thinking about you. In all fairness, they may be stereotypes, but until you prove us wrong, this might just be what we think. Believe it or not, we were young and fresh once and we understand what it is like to try to find your place in this big world.
As you will soon find out, working in an office is a very interesting thing. There are a wide range of people you will encounter in just about every workplace. Old and young; Dumb and smart; Self-sufficient and helpless; Funny and well…lame as shit. You get the idea. Every office is the same and over time, you learn to just deal with all the different types of people and embrace all of their unique baggage.
My generation (now…BIG sigh…in or near our forties) has finally reached the point in our careers where we are the ones considering prospective employees and trying to be your mentors. We are the ones now with all the experience and knowledge of how “things work around here.” Seems like only yesterday it was us starting our first jobs and completely terrified of what we were about to embark on. Back when we didn’t know shit about real life, work, corporate culture, work ethic…well, anything really. Now, as “seniors” we sit across the table from kids who don’t know life before the Internet and cell phones, we are often confused, frustrated, and quite frankly, amused by some of your behavior.
To that end, I offer this list of six things, that as forty-somethings, we are thinking about you young, inexperienced twenty-somethings.
- “You live for selfies and social media.” We are not exactly sure what Tinder, Snap Chat, Spotify, and Grinder really are, but honestly, we would love to know….if for no other reason than trying to figure out what our own kids are in to! It would be great if you could bring your knowledge of cool new technology to our old-ass workplace. Who knows, perhaps we can find something of value in it.
- “WTF are you wearing?” Your clothes can say “I’m a douchebag,” “I’m a skank,” or “I’ve actually been inside an office building.” The choice is yours. Choose wisely.
- “Are we really co-workers?” Yes, we are. Old timers have to accept that even though we’ve lived a lot more life than you have. Just because we are older and know more, doesn’t mean you won’t have good ideas. We remember life before cell phones, the internet, and social media. We know what it means to be fired, to get married, to have and raise children. Despite the fact that we have more life experience than you, we still think you could be a valuable part of our team. We admit it, honestly, we need you. You know stuff we don’t. Like it or not, are the future of this company.
- “You need constant praise.” I know, I know. You did a good job. We just don’t want to constantly tell you. It’s work, you’re expected to do a good job. There are no participation trophies here.
- “All you do is watch bad TV, take dick pics, and party, right?” It may be a stereotype, but it’s nothing against you personally. There just seem to be so many things that distract you young people from dedicated work, general productivity, and success. Truthfully, we don’t really understand what you are constantly doing with your phone out (I’m damn sure you are not reading the news). Therefore, we assume you spend your work day pretending to be productive while you’re actually updating your social media statuses and taking selfies all day. That’s what you are doing, right?
- “You know what’s cool.” We know we are no match for the cutting-edge knowledge of someone two decades younger. We know that you will judge us for our mom jeans, our mom haircuts, and our taste in music is SO lame. We would love for you to think we are cool in the same way you’d love for us to think you’re smart and capable. So bond with your elders by sharing your knowledge of pop culture and telling us how funny we are. We eat that shit up.
There you have it. Now I am sure you young kids have your very own list of things you think about us geriatrics, and really, I’d love to hear it someday. But for now, it’s you and me, kids. We have to find a way to communicate and succeed at work. We’ve both got a lot of years left working together, and I promise, one day you will be in this very same position. So, old or young…let’s just kick ass. Mmmmmmm….k?
Your old ass cube-mate