The following was written by Elizabeth McLeod, “a millennial and cum laude graduate of Boston University”:
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
That’s not good for either of us. Here’s what you need to know:
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 it to help you get a new Mercedes.
Well boo-fucking-hoo and don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. It must be horrible to know that you are a special snowflake who was “born to matter” and then realize you have somehow been cheated out of your destiny and are going to have to spend your days toiling at a “job” just like ordinary people.
No other generation in history has ever had to deal with shattered dreams and disillusionment. None of us had your totally awesome potential and unique specialness. If I was you I would drink heavily and feel sorry for myself.
PS: Lots of cheap meaningless “hook-up” sex with total strangers won’t leave you feeling fulfilled either.
(For a point-by-point rebuttal to this silliness check out Neal Dewing at The Federalist.)