It's graduation time and once again we say, “Stand back all bosses!” A new 1)breed of American worker is attacking everything you hold 2)sacred: from giving orders, to your 3)starched white shirt and tie. They're called “Millennials.” There are about 80 million of them, born between 1980 and 1995, and they're rapidly taking over from the Baby Boomers who are now pushing 60.
The workplace has become a 4)psychological battlefield and the Millennials have the upper hand.
Just ask Marian Salzman, an ad agency executive who has been managing and tracking millennials since they entered the workforce. Salzman says today's manager must be half 5)shrink and half diplomat.
Salzman: You do have to speak to them a little bit like a 6)therapist on television might speak to a patient. You can't be harsh. You cannot tell them you're disappointed in them.
Mary Crane, who once whipped up 7)soufflés for the White House, now offers 8)crash courses for millennials.
Journalist: To what extent are you having to tell the boomers, the bosses, the 50-to-60-year-olds, “The people who got to change are you guys, not them?”
Crane: The boomers do need to hear the message, that they're gonna have to start focusing more on coaching rather than bossing. If this generation in particular, you just tell them, “You got to do this. You got to do this. You got to do this.” They truly will walk. And every major law firm, every major company knows, this is the future.
A future of sweet talking bosses. If this generation knows anything, it's that there are more jobs than young people to fill them.
Today more than half of college seniors move home after graduation. It's a safety net that allows many kids to quickly opt out of a job they don't like.
Jason Dorsey and Ryan Healy both make a living advising their fellow 20 some-things on how to cope with work. And while he admits his mother picked out his suit for this interview, his generation is not going to make the same mistakes their parents made.
Dorsey: We're not going to settle. Because we saw our parents settle. And we have options. That we can keep hopping jobs. No longer is it bad to have four jobs on your resume in a year. Whereas for our parents or even Gen X, that was terrible. But that's the new reality for us. And we're going to keep adapting and switching and trying new things until we figure out what it is.
And figuring it out takes time. Sociologists tell us most Americans believe adulthood begins at 26 or older and that having witnessed so many sacrifices by their parents to achieve middle class security has had a huge impact.
Dorsey: I remember my dad getting laid off and all these things growing up. And that's 'cause they sacrificed for the company. Well, the first 9)knee-jerk reaction from me is I sure don't want to do that. I'm going to be in it for me and I'm going to make it work.
For all the complaining, Dorsey and Healy believe their generation will transform the office into a much more efficient, flexible and yes, nicer place to be. But until then, a message to bosses everywhere: just don't forget the praise.