Baby Boomer Business Owner: Help! Millennials are taking over my office! They’re Snapchatting everywhere! What do I do?
Millennial: First off, calm down. Close out of Facebook and let’s talk. Yes, we Millennials are heavy users of social media but did you know a lot of us use it to develop business for OUR company. Do you know how many of our clients and prospects are on Twitter, Facebook, and yes, even Snapchat?
Baby Boomer: OK, OK. But my problem with your generation extends beyond just social channels–I mean, look at what you’re wearing! You’re wearing jeans, boots, the sleeves of your shirt are rolled up. I’ve dressed the same—PROFESSIONALLY—every day at this job for the past 35 years!
Millennial: Again, calm down. I just got back from an appointment with one of our many manufacturing clients. If I walk into their facility in a suit and tie to take a tour and meet with their floor workers, I’d be laughed out of there. And tomorrow, I’ll be meeting with a law firm downtown and will be wearing a suit. See, the thing about us Millennials is we’re flexible and have no trouble adapting to any given situation and … Wait … Did you say you’ve been working here for the past 35 years?
Baby Boomer: Yep! Do you not see yourself working here for the next 20 or 30 years?
Millennial: Honestly, I don’t know where I’ll be in five years, let alone 20. Can we talk about ways I can grow and develop into a leadership role that allows me to be here until I’m 60 years old?
Baby Boomer: See, that’s another thing with you Millennials. You want the leadership role, but you’re not willing to put in the hard work needed to get there. Are you all really that entitled and lazy?
Millennial: Would you prefer I come in everyday without any ambition or drive? Just guessing here but that might be why so many of my Millennial colleagues both here at OUR company and others are so disengaged. Disengagement is not laziness.
Baby Boomer: So it’s an entitlement thing? You all think you deserve a leadership position right away?
Millennial: Not at all. If we have lazy and entitled employees here, that’s a workplace culture problem–not a Millennial one. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in wanting to know how one can grow into a leadership position long-term at your company. Some would call that being proactive. You say I’m entitled; I say I’m hungry. I’m not demanding a promotion right now, but this is my career we’re talking about here. What I want to know is how I can earn the role I see myself in one day.
Baby Boomer: That’s fair. But how do we do that?
Millennial: Can we find some time each week to sit down and chat?
Baby Boomer: That’s the last thing I want, another Millennial gunning for my job and wanting to meet with me constantly so I can pat you on the back, hold your hand, and tell you you’re doing a great job. You know, not everyone should get a trophy!
Millennial: Hold on. Have you ever considered–as a Baby Boomer who has forgotten more about our industry than I might ever learn–that we Millennials might be that desperate for a mentor of some kind before you retire?
If I’m lucky enough to be in your position one day, I’d be flattered if a younger employee wanted to pick my brain. I can promise you it’s not a threat when I ask about your day-to-day work and seek your advice on things that pop up in mine.
Baby Boomer: I guess I never thought about it like that.
Millennial: I can guarantee you I do not speak for all Millennials with what we’re talking about today but it’s important to me that you know we’re not all alike and of one mindset.
Some of us are just as motivated, driven, inspired, and -- believe it or not – committed as you are now and were when you were our age.
Business Owner: Whew, well that makes me feel better. I’m glad we had this talk.
Millennial: Me too, want to head to Happy Hour?
Baby Boomer: What’s that? (Just kidding!)