Quest Collaborative Law

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The web presence of Quest Collaborative Law and attorney Christopher L. Seaton, Esq.  All sorts of fun lies herein.  

On Fisk and an Open Letter to Millennials

So confession to make:  As much as I hate it, I am right on the cusp of the generation known as "millennials."  I can't stand the term, and I can't stand identification with a generation perceived by my elders and betters as completely lacking in respect, bereft of basic communication or social skills, and profound senses of entitlement.  

Millennials are here to stay, though, and their attitudes are shaping the world of the workforce for better or worse.  They have become such a force for change in the workplace, baffling to many.  This generation of "adults" has reached a point where entire seminars are devoted to dealing with  millennials in the workplace, and people are buying into it.  

LinkedIn, ever the bastion of wonderous content and tripe, recently posted an "Open Letter From Millennials" to those in management positions.  I'd like to take a moment and address said letter, point by point.  I figure it's the good I can do humanity since I'm not Italian and can't rant about Columbus Day with the panache of a Marc Randazza.  

An Open Letter to Management:

You hired us thinking this one might be different; this one might be in it for the long haul. We’re six months in, giving everything we have, then suddenly, we drop a bomb on you. We’re quitting.

 Oh, goodie.  Next in line for the position the special snowflake had, HR? 

We know the stereotypes. Millennials never settle down. We’re drowning in debt for useless degrees. We refuse to put our phone away. We are addicted to lattes even at the expense of our water bill. Our bosses are not wrong about these perceptions. But, pointing to our sometimes irresponsible spending and fear of interpersonal commitment isn’t going to solve your problem.

It's not a question of pointing out your own problems.  That's something you can deal with on your own time.  If I choose to point out those flaws that cause you to have a black eye with other generations, it's an attempt to help you improve yourself.  That's something many of us with rational thought patterns call "attempts at self-improvement" or "constructive criticism." 

You still need us. We’re the ones who’ve mastered social media, who have the energy of a thousand suns, and who will knock back 5-dollar macchiatos until the job is done perfectly.

No.  No, we really don't need you.  Talk to me about energy when you actually come into the office not hung over from one of your late nights at the bar or club.  And your five dollar macchiato habit is part of the spending problem you refuse to acknowledge.  You can buy a $5 bag of Kona Coffee at Food City and brew your own all day long.  

I’ve worked in corporate America, administrative offices, advertising agencies, and restaurants. I’ve had bosses ranging from 24 to 64. I’ve had bosses I loved, and bosses I didn’t. I’ve seen my peers quit, and I’ve quit a few times myself. Here’s what’s really behind your millennials’ resignation letter:

Oh look, it wants to speak for its entire generation based on personal experiences and anecdotal evidence.  Again, where was that thing we talked about called "constructive criticism?" Maybe the next lesson needs to be about a word called "humility."  Anyway, this is YOUR influencer article, so do tell. 

1. You tolerate low-performance

It’s downright debilitating to a high achiever. I’m working my heart out and every time I look up Donna-Do-Nothing is contemplating how long is too long to take for lunch. I start wondering why leadership tolerates this.

Is that the standard here? No thanks.

Fact: Poor performers have a chilling effect on everyone.

hat "Donna Do-Nothing" you're talking about may be one of the most indispensable employees we have, and has proven herself far more times than you have.  Just because you're busting your ass on a project doesn't mean that others aren't as well or aren't working on projects with equal or greater importance than yours.  And poor performers may have a chilling effect on people, so feel free to stop bitching about other employees' turnout and focus on your own.  

2. ROI is not enough for me.

I spent Sunday thinking about how I can make a difference to our customers. Now it’s Monday morning, what do I hear? Stock price. Billing. ROI. Suddenly, my Monday power playlist seems useless. I’m sitting in a conference room listening to you drag on about cash flow.

I was making more money bartending in college than I am at this entry-level job. You say I’ll get a raise in a year if the company hits a certain number? So what? I need something to care about today. Talk to me about how we make a difference, not your ROI report.

Fact: Organizations with a purpose bigger than money have a growth rate triple that of their competitors.

If this "Fact" nonsense is going to be a large part of what you ramble on about, let me give you a FACT.  The purpose of a business is to make money and be profitable.  If you have a product that you're selling, you need to make sure that you're doing stuff that will sell the product so everyone makes money and the business is more profitable.  Making a difference can come after we've managed to pay the light bill for the month and can show our investors the money they put into what we do is worth it.  Your noble aspirations are nice, but making a difference for people won't mean much if you're not getting the paycheck.  And if you made more money bartending in college, go back.  Make sure you didn't burn any bridges when you left, though. 

3. Culture is more than free Panera.

Don’t confuse culture with collateral. Yes, I am a cash-strapped millennial who really appreciates free lunch. But I don’t wake up at 6AM every day to play foosball in the break room. I’m not inspired to be more innovative over a Bacon Turkey Bravo.

I need to be surrounded by people who are on fire for what we’re doing. I need a manager who is motivated to push boundaries and think differently. Working in a cool office is really awesome. So is free lunch. But a purposeful culture is more important.

Fact: A culture of purpose drives exponential sales growth

Where in the blue hell did you find an office that gives you free Panera and foosball tables in the break room? Never mind that, though.  If you're more concerned about purpose, we'll take the Panera and the foosball tables away.  That'll help our bottom line, and you'll get to focus on your purpose.  

4. It’s ok to get personal

Treat me like a number? I’ll return the favor. This job will quickly become nothing more than my rent payment. I’ll start living for Friday and counting down the minutes until 5. After a few months of that, I’ll probably have a drunken epiphany and realize I want more out of my life than this.

Then I’ll prove your assumptions right. 8 months in, I’ll quit and leave. Or worse, I’ll quit and stay, just like Donna-Do-Nothing.

Welcome to the working world, peaches.  Whether you like this or not, I'm going to give you a very important life lesson here: Thanks to all the demands for "equality" your generation made, you ARE a number whether you like it or not.  You see, us boss types look at all employees, even that "Donna Do-Nothing" you keep complaining about, as either assets or liabilities.  The more you do to prove yourself, and gain our trust and respect, the more you'll be seen as an asset.  That's when we call our relationship "personal."  You stay a liability by treating the job like a rent payment, counting down until Friday at 5, and then decide to leave later? Fortunately, there's more of you (and others not of your allegedly "essential" generation) where you came from in the application file. 

That’s not good for either of us. Here’s what you need to know:

How nice of you to fill up most of this tripe dressing yourself up and me down, then closing out with some suggested "advice."  But go on. 

I was raised to believe I could change the world. I’m desperate for you to show me that the work we do here matters, even just a little bit. I’ll make copies, I’ll fetch coffee, I’ll do the grunt work. But I’m not doing to help you get a new Mercedes.

I’ll give you everything I’ve got, but I need to know it makes a difference to something bigger than your bottom line.

Harsh truth: You were raised to believe you could change the world by parents who gave you everything you ever needed and wanted, told you that you were the best thing since sliced bread, and made sure your "participation" trophies were nicely polished and arranged on your shelf as soon as you brought them home.  Harsh truth part two: the work you're doing right now is "grunt work" because you haven't proven yourself worthy yet for the bigger tasks with the chance to give you that "purpose" you so desperately crave.  Prove yourself consistent with getting my coffee and making sure the plants in my office have water, and I'll give you the tasks that give you the chance to showcase your purpose later when I know I can trust you with the small stuff.  

And the whole bit about you getting me a new Mercedes and helping our bottom line?  
Yeah, that's kind of why you have a job in the first place.  See the whole "Asset and Liability" discussion above if you still haven't grasped that concept. 


A Millennial

Good talk.  Now get back to work. 

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