This week I received a link from one of my girlfriends of a Business Insider article entitled “Millennials Are Way Too Immature at the Office.” The article suggested the following as sure signs of an immature millennial:
1) You don’t pay attention to instructions
2) You look at rules as guidelines
3) You pout when you get in trouble
4) You don’t understand when things don’t go well
5) You have been told your attire is not professional more than once
6) You are constantly late
Promptly after receiving the link, my friend started on a mini tirade stating, “I’m at work….on a Sunday morning! And the intern is here, along with admin. Where are the analysts right now? I’m just saying…” She had been working with her team non-stop for the past week, preparing for a major corporate announcement. She sacrificed her social plans for the weekend and countless hours of sleep to get the work done, however, she felt that her millennial analysts were not as dedicated to the project as everyone else because they were not there.
I have witnessed rants and strongly worded statements from many of my professional girlfriends in the response to the lack of strong work ethic displayed by twenty-somethings. Many of them tell stories of how they would never dare to rebut a request from their boss in favor of something that would be more beneficial to them. They also speak on how these millennials have a heightened sense of entitlement and should be thankful that they are employed. Many of them have barked time and time again, “These young adults should be grateful they have a job. I know some unemployed 40-year-olds who would kill for this opportunity!”
At the last “Women in the Workplace” networking event, hosted by #TeamBeautiful, a panelist addressed the posed millennial conundrum in a very surprising way. This panelist, who is a high-level executive, stated that while working on an important project, her assistant asked for permission to take the next couple of days off to visit her sister who was about to give birth to her first child. The executive thought about it for a second and actually acquiesced to the request.
She stated that by being flexible and understanding of their outside lives, she believed her staff would be happier and always put their best foot forward in the workplace. I was taken aback to say the least because, number one, I would NEVER ask for time off to travel at the last minute if it was not an emergency and number two, this executive’s response was not in the least bit what I would have expected.
Maybe we are entering a period of time in employment history where both employees and employers are beginning to realize just how important it is to balance work/life expectations and desires. On the other hand, maybe the newly hired twenty-somethings are just entitled little brats who have a warped sense about what hard work really is. It is one thing to inhabit many of the negative qualities listed in the Business Insider article, however, voicing your personal desires and expectations, though not historically common and accepted, may not be such a bad thing. Or is it?
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row, KinderJam, LLC and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.
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