I recently read the latest in a long line of articles about Millennials in the workforce. The problem with most articles on Millennials in the workforce is that 99% of them are written by their parents.
They want what most parents want for their children; they want them to succeed. They want them to be happy. They want them to look with their eyes and not with their mouths and think, goddamnit, before they speak.
Unfortunately that last bit, that’s the part that’s a little fuzzy. Because somehow “eyes open, mouth shut” seems to be a piece of advice aimed at anyone BUT Millennials in the workplace. Say what?
To paraphrase every article ever written on this topic: you don’t know anything about technology because you weren’t coding and texting in utero, you’re not very efficient because you only focus on one task at a time and Millennials are going to rule the world so you’d better give them everything they want and let them be in charge or you might get left behind when everyone goes to colonize Mars.
Now, I don't disagree that the workforce is changing, the way we learn is changing and what we learn is changing, I think it’s a new dawn, a new day and a new life and we should all be feeling pretty good right now. But instructing me to hand the car keys over to my 12-year old brother and telling me he will be fine driving because he knows how to use the radio makes no sense. There is no common sense anywhere near that idea. It’s as if common sense stood up, tilted its head at you and noped right out of the room when you said that.
Where did it go, I wonder? I do believe it went in search of the oft-forgotten, tragically overlooked, apathetic, lackadaisical latchkey generation. GenX. You know, the ones managing your kids. And common sense is not at all sure why you seem to keep saying we should lower our expectations around things like critical thinking and analysis and spelling. Common sense is puzzled with the “Aw shucks we don’t know the internet like YOU do, Millennials!” attitudes. In fact, common sense feels like quoting Marcus Aurelius at you, reminding you to “Never esteem anything as of advantage to thee that shall make thee break thy word or lose thy self-respect.” Because every time you suggest we give out quarterly attendance awards, you are very much in danger of the latter. But mostly common sense just wants to make sure GenX isn’t buying what you seem to be selling.
You know, GenX. The ones who who are actually quietly taking power now. The ones who earned it.
Let’s face it: Millennials are the siblings we could never convince our mothers to leave at the store because we didn’t want them at home. But please. Stop telling us we need to let them drive the car when they don’t even have their license, Lisa. Start telling them they need to fasten their seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.