Allan Chernoff’s article, Bosses Listening to Millenial Workers, reads like something viewed through the window of a time machine. Millenials, those born after 1980, are supposedly powerful hotshots whose demands for outrageous perks and luxuries are being met by executives. These executives are having to understand that millenials “work to live” and do not “live to work.” The final sentence of the bizarre article: “The millenial style of working can yield success, if the boss is willing to throw out the old rule book.”
Three years into the Great Recession and this tripe got published? As a millenial, the picture I see every day is much less rosy: Many millenials are underappreciated and at the beck and call of anyone who can pay any wage. We are overeducated and underpaid, victims of excess supply and weakened demand. To stand out from our bloated field of competitors we must strive for perfection. Demanding perks and luxuries? Heck, we’re taking unpaid internships and offering to do extra work just to get a miniscule boost on our hundreds of fellow job applicants.
With too many fellow college grads lobbying for too few jobs, the vast, vast majority of us cannot afford to behave anything like the spoiled twentysomethings in Chernoff’s blast-from-the-past article. Chernoff’s sources paint millenials as lazy workers who show up late, want to dress casual, and are quick to voice dissent and complain, often online. In reality, most millenials feel we have to behave, and dress, perfectly, lest we be booted in favor of any of our thousands of unemployed fellows, all of whom would eagerly replace us with their own college pedigrees and tailored resumes.
Business executives, not millenials, hold the power. While a few young tech gurus may be able to dictate terms, the rest of us rabble have to deal with callous, lazy, and disrespectful supervisors, executives, and hiring managers. They can treat us poorly and they know it.
But the real issue comes not from the article itself, but from the comments below, where readers can voice their own opinions on the subject. It is there that the divide becomes clear:
Older workers are unhappy with the economy and feel that millenials are spoiled slackers. Millenials are unhappy with the economy and feel that they are anything but spoiled slackers. Bitterness abounds, and old and young snipe at each other through pointed comments and responses.
It is rather distressing that many commenters fully accepted the article and voiced agreement that twentysomethings are horrible employees – bolstering and expanding rumors and stereotypes that make it harder for millenials like myself to make headway in this horrid economy.
It is rather distressing that many commenters fully accepted stereotypes that older workers are stuck in obsolete, inefficient ways and cling to a sense of entitlement based solely on age and tenure, not performance.
According to commenter mrsims:
“I thought this was a poor article and don’t agree with the CEO’s views, but what is really interesting from these posts is the inter-generational anger and lack of respect that I see. It actually is really disconcerting.”
We should all take a step back and try to figure out how to help each other, and the economy as a whole, rather than bicker.