GenerationXpert post on Millenial whining in the workplace

I knew reading this post would only serve to irritate me but I read it anyway. It wasn’t GenerationXpert that irritated me. We’re both Xers and that seems to keep us rather sympatico.

It was rather the articles/posts that she links to. I suppose there is not escaping the whiny blathering of some Millennials (in addition to Boomers.) The shit of it is the Millennial chatter is only going to increase in volume and frequency, as that generation swells and ages, bloating like corpse left to rot in the sweltering heat (ew!). And while I’d like to believe that the Boomer blathering will gradually diminish, somehow I don’t really believe it. GenX is being surrounded.

Still, what really offends me is not that these Millennials have issues with GenXer in the work place (they wouldn’t be Millennials if they did NOT have issues of one kind or another and did NOT verbalize that at every freakin’ opportunity — chatter chatter chatter) as the lame way they make their arguments.

Check the lead in on this article about GenX vs Gen Y (the authors terminology; I find Gen Y to a pretty soggy label, worst than most, I mean) :

We all have stories about a loss of our identity to a Gen X’er.

Beginning with such a generalization is enough to dismiss the remainder of the article out of hand. But I figured I’d read on anyway. Of course, I was rewarded with this whining line of reasoning:

Whether they squashed our ideas, sabotaged our projects, or just simply bad-mouthed us for no apparent reason, they can always find something to deter us from success. This is not true of all Gen X’ers, just like not all of us are lazy, spoiled brats. Not all Gen X’ers feel threatened by us; there’s getting to be less & less every day. However our motivation and tech knowledge seem to make many of them squirm. We are their replacements; we are a threat to their job. No longer is the workforce built around “working your way up the ladder.” It is based on who can provide the best ideas, knowledge or sales volume. When it comes down to it, who is more valuable to company’s functionality and profitability?

Sounds to me like someone can’t take criticism. Of course not; we’re talking about a generation that was applauded for pooping in the potty until they left for college. Hell, they probably got trophies and ribbons for it, not to mention the weekly email or text from mom and dad, once they were at college, complimenting them on a weeks worth of sussfull BMs — that’s mommy’s good little pooper!

But it was so nice of the author concede that not all GenXers are cynical jerks. Thanks. We appreciate that. Sincerely. It means so much coming from an award-winning pottier.

I don’t actually know of any GenXers who feel threatened by Millennials. That is a notion that lives the folklore of Millennials minds. We are plenty comfortable with technology. In fact, we invented much of it that you utilize so regularly — facebook, Myspace, Google, etc. And just because you can facebook, twitter and operation your iPhone all at the same time does not mean you deserve the GenXer’s job in the Technical Support department. Get over yourselves already — a wasted lament on the bulk of Millennials, I know, but still it needed to be said.

Millennials might just want to consider, just consider the possibility that just because their mommies and daddies think their idea are good does not mean they really are. Just put it in the background there, is all I’m saying. Something to think about. Also, they might want to give just tiny bit of credence to the experience that GenXer have on them. It does, it turns out, count for something.

Of course, Millennials, virtually lacking in experience at this stage in the game, value other things:

However, as Gen Y’ers, we love to rock the boat – stir everything up a little. It helps us get the ideas flowing. When we see an opportunity, we go for it.

Wow. I thought Generation X was supposed to be the sound bite generation. What the fuck does any of that mean, anyway?

The author admits that “Of course it backfires many times…”

Really? I’m shocked.

She further states that: “…we are not afraid to go straight to the top with our opinions and ideas, and that is what makes us indispensable assets to many companies.”

I’ve heard this is true, but I’d venture to guess it was what makes them annoying and obnoxious to many companies. Perhaps she didn’t get to that word in her word-a-day calander that she got from her Boomer rents on the last anniversary of her kindergarten soccer trophy award, which was given to her just for showing up and running around in circles on the field. Yipee!

“Change is what our country was founded on, and change is what we love,” the author writes.

Really. I thought it was freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. She’s thinking of Obama’s campaign slogan. And needs to be reminded that change for change’s sake is bullshit, something GenX is very good as detecting. Like this load here:

We have a knack for seeing opportunities where others don’t, and if we don’t see any, we make them. This is what infuriates some Gen X’ers. They feel they have put in their time, paid their dues, and should live out their remaining time reaping the benefits of their hard work. I’m not going to deny that many of them deserve this privilege. My parents were incredibly hard workers and deserve some residual reward, but they expect me to take the same approach that they did.

First, your sense of over-inflated self-esteem is showing. Might want to tamp that down before you– fuck it, you’re not listening.

Generation X isn’t so much infuriated by Millennials as we are annoyed. Don’t listen to us if you don’t want to. That’s fine. But if that’s you tact, then you can fuck off with your ideas as well!

Of course, it is so nice of this author to concede that many of Generation X deserve what we have worked for. Now it is fucking official. Bite us. Hard. And with relish. Or mustard. You can pick the condiment. We don’t care.

But clearly there is no stopping this overly enthusiastic Millennial, ramped up on her own sense of self-worth:

When I see what I want, I go for it. If I see an awesome opportunity, I take advantage of it. And I have very little patience for those who try to stand in my way. The result: I sometimes crash and burn because of my intense enthusiasm, but sometimes I create amazing things that no one else was able to do.

Note: no example of an awesome opportunity taken advantage of is described. Why not? It would only take a sentence or two. Not to mention I assume were talking about the average corporate, cube land, Dilbert-esque office experience here, in which case there is no such things as an “awesome opportunity.” It’s just not possible.

The crashing and burning is entertaining, though. So keep right on charging that bull, baby. You’re gonna make it after all!

In any case, the author doesn’t get Gen X. When she states that Gen X is loyal to the company, she’s wrong. We’re loyal to ourselves and our families, our friends too (real friends, not the 700 people you’ve “friended” on facebook). Fuck the company! Any company.  We’ve long since lost any naive belief that any company is worth pledging total loyal allegiance to. We show up. We do our jobs, and do them as well as we can, so we can support our families and our lives. But of course portraying us as otherwise fits neatly into the author’s little fiction here.

I really loved this argument:

How about the job where the project manager was terrible at communication or the place where the bookkeeper was disorganized? Remember how that messed up your ability to work effectively?

It’s always somebody else’s fault isn’t it. One can only hope (beyond hope perhaps, but hey, if Obama, a GenXer, can win The White House then all of Generation X can hope for something) that Millennials will not prove to be a generation refusing to take responsibility for their mistakes while grubbing for the limelight and credit, even when they don’t deserve it. But I ain’t holding my breath.

The articles wraps up thusly:

Enter, The Freelancer.

Rather than hiring someone for a permanent position or risking the failure of someone who is not well-qualified, the company can hire a freelancer for a certain project or period of time. You can get a freelancer for almost any position – project manager, consultant, designer, office work, etc. Freelancers often work on several “jobs” at one time depending upon the requirements of each job. You can hire them once or repeatedly. Gen Y’ers are often great freelancers, because we like change so much, and we have high-level skills in a small number of areas, whereas Gen X’ers sometimes have a slightly lower level of skills, but their knowledge base is much broader.

This is why, in theory, Gen Y and Gen X work well together. It´s when you add in resistance to change or an attitude of superiority that the mixture gets a little sour. If we can learn to understand and respect the Gen X’ers patterns, and they ours, maybe the workplace would mean profit for our efforts and not punishment. Change will undoubtedly happen in time, but anything we can do to smooth the road on the way there will benefit all involved.

Yeah, Generation X called this being a temp. And it sucked. No job security. No benefits. Still, we were good at it. What choice did we have? But apparently not as good as Millennials will be, or so they think. The thing is most temp work, or freelance work if you want to call it that, is shlep work and not very interesting or rewarding. That’s just the nature of it. Why would you hire someone you don’t know and can’t be sure is as super-qualified as she think she is to take charge of something really worthwhile and important? You want someone you know, you can trust, with a track record that you’ve witnessed. Forget the freelancer who can up and jump to another company a month down the road. Go with the loyal employee that you’re invest in and that is invested in the company.

FYI: Gen X isn’t resistant to change. We’re just skeptical of change for change sake. It’s a waste of time, money and resources, and companies can’t really afford any of that, especially in this economy, just to validate the fragile egos of  over eager Millennials.

Also, don’t kid yourself Millennials, many Gen Xer are not interested in working well with you. We’re interested in you doing your job as detailed in the job description presented to you when you agreed to take the fucking job. Do it. Do it well. And stop annoying everyone with the legend of yourself as uber-corporate super star. We get it. We do. You have no shame. But while you’re grandstanding we’re doing the nitty gritty work that needs to be done to get the job done. You’d know that if you stopped chattering long enough to realize what it really going on around you.

Thus endeth the lesson.

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Another article about GenX in the work place

According to this Business Week article corporate America needs to change the way it does business going forward because what worked with Boomers will not necessarily play with Generation X.

This article came about as a response to a previous report entitled “Ten Reasons Gen Xers Are Unhappy at Work,” which was originally posted on HarvardBusiness.org. I think I blogged about it but am of course too lazy to go back and find that particular post.

Anyhoo… this new article is putting corporations on notice:

Don’t expect that the same approaches that worked well with a boomer workforce will work equally well with Xers. And don’t assume that Xers will come to value the same things boomers did “when they grow up.” Xers are grown up—and they don’t think like boomers.

And we sure as shit don’t want to be treated like them. It just won’t work.

The sound bite thesis of the article is: “Boomers like to win; Xers like to have options.”

Makes sense to me. Even though I currently have a job that would seem rather limiting in it’s options, but then I am not a career-minded GenXer. My job is a job, not a career. If I have a career at all, it is my writing, what I do after I am done working for the day.

I do disagree with the author assertion that Generation X cares about money more than Boomers:

Remember that Xers care about money—a lot. They are probably more money-oriented than boomers, who might be pleased with a promotion (which is equated with “winning”), even if additional financial remuneration is slight or nonexistent. An Xer would almost never find that acceptable.

It isn’t that I don’t care about money. I do. But it is not my main concern, but then my wife makes good scratch, so… My job does not pay much but the health benefits are good, and it offers flexibility so that I can be the one to be available for my daughter. For example, if she gets sick at school because I am so close I can easily and quickly get her. Also, it isn’t a problem for me to leave work on a moments notice.

Also, I’m not so sure I buy the assertion that a Boomer would be happy to take a “promotion” without a pay raise. However, I would not want more responsibility without more money.

I’ll be interested in the book about Generation X that article’s author is working on.

Boomer lacks humor

Got an email in my in box this morning from GenerationXpert regarding her getting the smack-down from a rather humorless Boomer in response to her comment/reply to an eager, ambitious but probably slightly  naive Millennial. Check it.  What a prick — the Boomer, I mean, no the Millennial kid.

Still, I think we’ve come to expect this from Boomers, especially those in the business world. Of course, that doesn’t make any less obnoxious. Man, can’t wait for some of these fuckers to retire.

As for the Millennial corporate Power Ranger’s claim that Millennials are going to give the corporate world a much needed make-over. The dude sounds very much like another Millennial I heard about recently. A kid (see, I’m 40 now, aka a geezer so I can call someone in their 20s a kid) still in college, majoring in marketing, whose career plan is thus: after graduation get a job as Director of Marketing for a casino and then open his own casino. Um, excuse me, but where in that plan is take a bottom rung job and eat shit for, oh, say, a few years in order to, um, actually learn something, so that you can actually know what the fuck you’re doing before you try to take over the casino world. Anyhoo…sounds like someon has watched the Ocean movies one too many times.

And for the record, what GenerationXpert said was funny.

Gen X and Millennials in the workplace

A college friend hipped me to this article from the Harvard Business Review, which, despite me distaste for business in general, and reviews in particular (I don’t even know what that means but I’ve always liked that turn of phrase. Anyhoo…), was rather interesting. It’s about the contentious relationship between GenXers and the corporate world, and how the author sees this as a bad sign because the corporate world needs us GenXers. Well, imagine that. Corporate America needs Generation X. The only problem, according to the article, is that Generation X is not all the thrilled with the corporate world. No news there. But combine that with a report I heard on NPR this morning about a survey of recent and/or soon to be college graduates thatclaimed that about 70% (not sure on the exact number but it was pretty high) of the young people wanted to start their own business rather than work for a big company, and the corporate system may really have a problem on its hands. At least until all the Boomers shrivel up and turn to dust in the wind, which still might not be for awhile. But by that time Generation X and the Millennials may have determined an alternate business paradigm or whatever. Could such a thing be possible? And if so, what would it look like? Perhaps we’ll evolve to a more niche, independent yet loosely interdependent way of conducting business. One that affords more freedom but also more opportunity, even if it will likely be a bit more unstable. It’s worth contemplating in any case.

Of course, I do not blame Millennials for wanting to avoid the corporate slave state. You can’t trust these fucking self-serving entities. They’ll use you like frat boys use drunk freshamn sorority pledges for the Girls Gone Wild cameras, until you’re no longer of use to them, and then they’ll find a way to usher you out the door, preferably with as little severance and other benefits as possible. Not to mention the whole corporate culture is a mind-suck, time-suck, creativity-fucking-drain, I don’t give a shit what they claim! I mean, really about the only benefit is the fast internet connection.

The problem is, not everyone can run their own successful business. And though the idea of a business community structured as a loosely knit conglomeration of independent contractors utilizing each others’ skills and offering mutual support blah blah blah seems nice and all, it’s probably very highly unlikely. But, dammit! We can dream, can’t we?

Still, despite my cynical GenXer proclivities, I am hopeful that Generation X and the Millennial generation will ultimately work better together than the Boomers and Generation X. Hell, just look at Judd Aptow and his legion of Millennial funny boy actors. Sure, us GenXers will seem cranky and bitter, like Dr. Cox seems to JD on SCRUBS, but also like Perry we really do care and want to help our younger cohorts along their intended paths, we just have a particular style of teaching and mentoring, which I think can best be described as using a spoonful of sugar to get down a shovel-full of dirt. It’s not pleasant but it works, and it makes an lasting impression.