Every time a new generation starts to enter adulthood, the older generations bitch and complain about how lazy they are. It happens every time. For the Millennials, this assessment may actually be accurate, and it may not be a bad thing.
A BBC article approaches the topic of Millennials in the workplace. At first read, it sounds like a typical Millennial article: bratty kids doing things on their own terms because they feel entitled to do whatever they want. Essentially, that is true, and it’s everything I hate about this generation. Then again, this refusal to submit to rules may benefit us all. Let me explain.
The first anecdote is pretty typical: a CEO needed something done that day. The young employee assigned to complete the task left early without turning anything in. Just before midnight, the slacker employee emailed the project from home.
That first story doesn’t help my case, but it will set me up. Listen, you cannot just leave the office and turn something in before midnight from home without telling anyone. The way this shitty kid took matter into his own hands was the wrong way. However, Millennials all over are doing something similar: demanding flexible hours, working at home, doing the job on their terms.
The article goes on to mention how Millennials are rejecting the standard 9-5 schedule, mandating that they be able to come and go as they please so long as the job is completed. They are also requesting detailed monthly feedback and that the CEO hear their suggestions. In other words, ME! ME! ME!
At face value, this plays right into the hands of the people—myself included—that cannot stand Millennials (and by definition, I’m a Millennial). However, when you take a moment to stop projecting and turn inwards, you will begin to see that what Millennials are demanding are the very same things adults have wanted out of a career for decades, perhaps centuries: freedom.
How many of you have always wanted to work from home knowing that anything you do at the office can be done elsewhere? How many times have we wanted to leave early on any given day to do something personal, whether it’s a doctor’s appointment or going to a ballgame, understanding that your work will still get finished regardless? How often do we feel like slaves or a number on a spreadsheet rather than individual human being with wants and needs at work?
Every single one of us wishes we could work on our own terms, but the mighty hand of corporations and those that run them have stifled any attempt to do so. For the first time in modern history (perhaps ever), an entire generation is saying “Fuck you” to The Man and pressuring companies to let them enjoy life while working. Some call this “entitlement,” but “entitlement” is often times confused with our envy of someone getting something we have always wanted.
Unfortunately, these demands are only being granted for the most talented workers, i.e. those that are not dispensable. This awesome lifestyle will only be available to those who are working well-paid, highly sought after jobs. Administrative assistants, retail clerks and other “disposable” employees will still be at the mercy of their employer. BUT in the future, Millennials will be the employers, and so far, I’m digging their managing style.
Don’t get me wrong: Millennials are still GIANT pussies, but it looks like they have the right idea on how to approach personal life vs. professional life.