You’ve heard all the woeful tales of how twentysomethings are worthless, lazy, and shiftless and those are their best qualities. You know that’s nonsense, don’t you? It’s Boomers who can’t face their own mortality, much less expendability, who dis the twentysomethings. Here are some of the latter’s positive contribution to the workplace.
They refuse to play politics. They don’t really care who thinks what unless it has an impact on the outcome they’re working for. Is there a soul out there who’d say office politics is a good thing rather than an obstacle to getting the job done? Yes. The Boomers do now, and always have, loved the push and shove of politics. They love the back stabbing and back biting as long as knife and tongue are sharp. With the Millennials determined to duck, it’s made office politics less important and much less fun.
Boomers who don’t give clear directions and feedback lose. It has also vanquished the hint. Remember when people knew they were doomed when a boss said, “I’m afraid things might not work out?” Say that to a Millennial and you’ll get no reaction at all. Who cares and what does it have to do with me?
It’s unfashionable to be emotionally involved with your job unless you own the business. Were the Boomers really as gung-ho to make the organization great or did they just pretend? Is it as much fun to be CEO of anything when you know your twentysomethings don’t admire, much less want to emulate, your success? This extends to middle management as well. When the boss got promoted his subordinates said, “Poor you. You’re gonna be overworked even more!”
When the job is finished you leave. Boomers owe any extra unworked hours to their younger colleagues who resolutely refuse to “understand” the importance of face time. Leaving before the boss does is the boss’s problem with poor time management, not political suicide. Having worked endless unpaid, or poorly paid, internships it’s time to enjoy the money you make now.
The organization is pancake flat. Maybe the incompetent in the next cube isn’t a shrewd political operative, just an outgoing incompetent. What’s to admire because he’s two levels above you? He should have been fired years ago. Many organizations that did employee satisfaction surveys have given them up because they can’t present the truly terrible results to top management. A friend in HR described the savagery exhibited by Millennials toward a particular boss — well liked by the CEO. Whatever the Millennials thought HR was way to smart to pass their evaluation on to the CEO. However, the manager was demoted because his “turnover was too high.” A Boomer would have feared exposure if she criticized a well-liked, if ineffective, manager.
Look for more changes in SOP as Millennials arrive in greater numbers and Boomers fade or change careers. However, as long as one Boomer remains office politics will not disappear.
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