Saturday, April 25, 2009

Millennials: How Not to be a Survivor

With all the reality TV shows these days, I think they are missing an opportunity on one that highlights millennials (Gen Y) struggling to fit into the traditional business workplace. I’m confident that millennials are our future in business, but a little adaptation on both sides along the way is probably needed.

After a few articles on Millennials as entrepreneurs and managing them in startups, I have collected a list of “cultural mis-matches” most of which have actually been observed in the real world.

I offer a few of these here as an attempt to lighten your day, and also because I believe there are serious messages that we can learn from every bit of humor. Actually, these can apply to people of any age, but you might be a millennial if…
  1. You had to turn down three job offers before this one because they insisted that you had to be at work by 9am.

  2. You feel comfortable wearing your Abercrombie & Fitch moose logo t-shirt every day to work, except for dress-down Fridays.

  3. You are perturbed that the guy in the next cube keeps interrupting you with his questions, rather than just sending a text message.

  4. Your new boss is so hot, that when she mentioned the job comes with “benefits,” you signed on immediately.

  5. You suggest that the ultimate collaboration platform for the next project would be either Facebook or Twitter.

  6. When you pitched the great new “mashup” technology to the CEO, you couldn’t understand his strange comment about a train wreck.

  7. You think this company should stop its embarrassing focus on making money, and concentrate on things that create real meaning in the world.

  8. You are proud of your multi-tasking capabilities, to be able to listen to your iPod and text your friends, for maximum productivity during staff meetings.

  9. You are convinced that your company user-group meetings have something to do with drug rehab.

  10. You overheard some executives talking about the “dot-com bust”, which is a mystery since you can’t think of a woman named Dot who ever worked in this office.
If all these anecdotes all strike you as perfectly normal and reasonable behavior, then you also might be a millennial. Of course, every company culture is different. If you are a millennial or not, and you want to be a survivor in your business world, it pays to follow the leader.

But then, if you are the entrepreneur, you are the leader. Maybe that’s why I’m seeing a new surge of startups these days! Have fun.

Marty Zwilling



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great article. I operate a fleet of pedal cabs in downtown Denver. Most of my drivers are Millennials. I know exactly what you mean in each of these points. We train new operators of fleets across North America. We tell them that they have to learn to text if they want to communicate with their drivers.

    Thanks. You made me giggle.

  3. That's kinda mean. :-\

  4. Good one.

    In my part of the world, people think that the differences between Gen X and Gen Y as mere generation gap. While there are differences in thinking between generations and in fact these differences are driving force for human evolution. The human brain improves genetically in every generation and that is how, we, the human being evolved. (Courtesy: Brain Rules from John Medina, I tried to put in my own words but taken inputs from the book Brain Rules)

    While the human brain is undergoing evolution constantly, this particular difference between Gen X and Gen Y is meaningful (with technological/Internet revolution which Gen Ys are good at) and if it is not learned it affects any organization.

    As you rightly pointed out, in very few years Gen Ys are going to take over leadership/business. It will good if both Gen X and Gen Y learn and understand each other.

    I am expecting similar post on Gen X and how can they can make meaning to Gen Y and bring them on board.