When the baby boomers quit protesting the Vietnam War, returned home from Woodstock, finished reading “Naked Lunch” by William S. Burroughs and put “Are You Experienced — The Jimi Hendrix Experience” back in its record sleeve, they settled down and started working. Many become successful.
And why not? The world revolved around the boomers who were the first truly entitled class. Boomers raised their kids, the millennials, to live purposeful lives. As parents, boomers love their millennials, but having a millennial as a boss … well, not so much.
Before I get started, here’s a quick note on The Gen Xers. As the forgotten and left-out middle children between the boomers and millennials, Gen Xers are indistinguishable in many ways. They are followers, not leaders. They are the types to stay in middle management and be happy about it. They jealously watch as the millennials waltz into the boss’ office with great ideas. (Millennials were told how great they were throughout their lives by their boomer parents, after all).
And aging boomer bosses actually listen to millennials. And if not, millennials are likely to start their own company or Silicon Valley empire.
But not all boomers and millennials are so remarkable. The boomers who do not rise to the top find often find themselves working for millennials at jobs that didn’t even exist in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s when the boomers were growing up. Here’s why boomers hate working for millennials:
1. Many millennials are just pretending
And the boomers see it. Many 20-somethings don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to running a business.
Take fictional Charlie from “Girls,” the show touted as the voice of the millennial generation. Charlie invented an app, “Forbid,” that prevents you from drunk dialing. OK good idea (I guess), but instead of just cashing in, he tries to run a company? Even though he has zero experience doing that? So what the heck does Charlie do all day? He wanders aimlessly trying to be witty with his staff who just stand around looking at each other’s MacBook Airs. And there are perennial parties, the next one Charlie says is to celebrate getting lots of “MAUs,” which he incorrectly explains as “monthly average users.” The term is “active.” Oh well, that biz will fail any day, anyway, which brings us to the second reason boomers hate working with millennials.
2. Millennials run companies into the ground
Many older folks, while they are inept at knowing the latest trends, do know when a company isn’t being run and managed right.
One huge Internet company that shall remain nameless here (but one that many people viewed as revolutionary in its early days) actually put out a music video to show how much fun everyone has in the office. The staff dances, wears hair band wigs, and just has oh so much fun. Yet the boomers who work under these partiers view these people as incompetent. And if you take the case of this one-time wunderkind firm as an example, its stock has plummeted to a fraction of its peak figure.
3. Boomers think millennials are immature and are easily distracted
As Jon Stewart would say, “Squirrel.” Millennials might come up great ideas, but sticking with them and running a business — no. Millennials can’t work longer than 10 minutes without social networking or texting. The boomers see millennials as ADD-afflicted beings who can’t focus on anything.
4. Millennials are entitled at work
Boomers were raised in a world where work and play didn’t mix. They worked at work, and they played after work. Not so with the millennials who don’t see why it matters to get work done first. They believe they should have personal time at work to shop and have fun. Boomers note that the same amount of work just doesn’t get done this way.
5. Boomers don’t like to brand themselves
Millennials are obsessed with how many likes they get, and they expect to build their brand through social media. They often expect boomers who work for them to follow suit. Millennials often require their staff and coworkers to build their own brand. Boomers who’d rather separate their work life from their private life reject this.