Millennials in the Workplace

millennials They can drive you to drink, you know. Millennials. They are bright, interesting and chock full of boundless energy. They are also self-absorbed, have unreal expectations of the world and the workplace, no idea how to dress or comport themselves in a professional atmosphere. They have wonderful ideas and ideals, unfortunately, they do not possess the skills required to put these ideas into place. They feel that every thought or idea must be put into action immediately because, well…they’ve been raised to believe they are just “THAT” special.

I have patience with them, by and large. I was young once too and I also had ideas and ideals. Mind you, my education did permit me to develop the skills to express them without using four-letter words and to actually explain said ideas using coherent sentences. You know, paragraph structure, grammar and spelling.

This has been a very trying week for my patience level with them, however. We had a young lady come in, a millennial, for a job interview. I came very close to losing my coffee through my nasal cavities. She was a lovely girl. Very pretty. Some attitude but don’t they all at that age? She was there for a job interview. This was not how she dressed.  She wore a very see-through white dress that could very well have been a blouse. I had a stripper friend, years ago; she wore similar outfits on stage. I know why she wore the outfit, she was under the impression that her job interview would be with a man. A nasty surprise when I told her she would actually be interviewed by a woman.

The type of clothing you wear to an interview speaks volumes, to me, anyway. Showing up in this sort of attire says to me that the individual is not at all secure in their ability and is not above using their bodies to cover up their ineptitude. It also says to me that they have no self-respect. Self-respect is an essential ingredient to a moral and ethical personality. This image she portrayed was unprofessional and not worthy of a job in an office environment. She may well have been qualified but this was lost due to her choice of attire. This girl would have been an office disaster.

Millennials seem to have no profanity filter.   I have spent the majority of my working and personal life around men. Many of them truck drivers with no real need to monitor their use of language. I have had male and female co-workers who could make them blush. Couple this with little to no respect for authority.  It should be noted that I do believe respect should be earned, HOWEVER, common office courtesy demands that when disagreeing with a manager or “higher-up”, you do not advertise your opinion to anyone within a 5 kilometer radius. A work place requires decorum. We all lose our temper but when it occurs on a daily basis, several times a day, coupled with profanity? There is a personality flaw that needs to be addressed.

Race, creed, religion and culture should never be discussed at work. It is not an area that needs to be discussed and has the very real potential to cause problems, create acrimony and a poisoned environment. Politics is another topic that should be avoided. These are all intensely personal areas that have no place in office interaction. There are enough topics to bandy about without sharing your views within the workplace. Save it for the pub or your Facebook.

Millennials have been led to believe that everything they say, everything they do, is above reproach because they are just so darn unique. In the corporate world, this is anathema. Your uniqueness simply doesn’t matter. Nobody cares if your wee feelings are hurt or your self-esteem has been bruised. You are behind that keyboard for one reason and one reason only; to do a job for which you receive compensation. Self-esteem maintenance, your world views, your opinion of procedure or management are not in your job description therefore has no valid reason to be introduced in the workplace. Do your job, if you see a way to improve a process, by all means share it. If you don’t like a process but have no valid alternative beyond four-letter words? Shut up.

This is the world of grown-ups. Many of whom have been there, have done that. You are, I’m afraid, not all that unique at all. You are simply one of approximately 7 000 000 000 human beings occupying the planet for a relatively short and definitive term. You are probably not Galileo, you are not Marie Curie or Stephen Hawking. Obviously, you are not Mother Theresa or Ghandi. You are one of us – the great ocean of peons, slogging away at life.

You have a choice, you can do your level best to raise your personal bar, to try and improve the lot of those who do without or you can be a self-centered, foul mouthed pain in the ass, with no future aside from joining the ranks of the unemployed because the rest of the world has no time for self-absorbed unprofessional brats with delusions of grandeur.

Opportunities abound, make sure you have the social skills to navigate your future. Common courtesy is still required out “there”. You have the technological savvy right now but tomorrow?  It will be outdated.  Improve and upgrade yourself.  Understand that your degree is based on theory, not practice. Theory is necessary but rarely translates to practical methods.

Understand technology. You need to fully comprehend the global impact of the internet. Those half-naked selfies WILL be seen by your Human Resource department. Your actions online will be dissected and used to judge you. Not fair? Did anyone, with an I.Q. over 2 (and it takes 3 to bark) tell you, with a straight face, that life and business if fair? If they did? They lied. Big time. Your life is an open operating system. You don’t have the luxury of privacy anymore, that’s the double-edged sword of technology. Absolutely, you can obtain answers in a nanosecond but conversely, when you Tweet your latest faux-pas? It is also available in a nanosecond.  (Refer to this:

Learn the guidelines of appropriate office behavior, at your desk, in a meeting or a conference call. Learn to keep your mouth shut unless what you have to say is actually constructive as opposed to a call for attention. Millennials can succeed, if only they were given or set out to learn, the skills required to function in a professional environment.

Go to the office, do your job to the best of your ability. Add to the office atmosphere, do not poison it. Allow people to speak of you in a positive light and you will have earned that self-esteem. Unlike your Mommy and your Daddy, unlike the deplorable school system you floated through, the world at large will judge you. Don’t give the world ammunition for negative judgment based on your willful ignorance of corporate and social protocol.

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