As a proud Baby Boomer parent of two Millennials, I am pleased to offer my services as a workplace consultant. According to a report last week on CBS This Morning, consultants can earn up to $20,000 an hour advising companies on what makes Millennials tick. I automatically believe anything on CBSTM because it features mind-blowing news items, most of which I've already seen on Facebook and Twitter: monster gator on golf course, rogue gorilla at Cincinnati Zoo, cats surprised by cucumbers, updates on Trump's hairdo. These breaking news updates are sandwiched between ads for Boomers' preferred meds: boner pills, blood thinners, joint-pain meds, and so on.
Here's my first tip as a consultant, which I offer freely as a good will gesture: Millennials do not watch CBSTM. They are on their way to work in Portland or Denver, or they are sleeping in after the night shift at a trendy urban bistro. Lest you think that all Millennials are slackers, Derek Thompson at the Atlantic Mag Online says that there are 50 million Millennials in the U.S. workforce. I'm just guessing here but I'd say that half of them are in Denver. Last week, while visiting a friend, we ate dinner at a Thai place in Denver's trendy Tennyson Street District. We were by far the oldest people in the place. As we left, Millennials were swarming Tennyson's brewpubs and shops, ogling the new studio apartment buildings that are rising along Tennyson at an alarming rate.
As you can tell, I'm observant despite my fading eyesight. I have other tips based on my years as a parent of Millennials and as someone who worked alongside them during my declining years.
1. Don't ask Millennials technical questions.
Nothing says "I am an old fart" like asking a Millennial co-worker for help with a web site, Facebook, smartphone, etc. Your best approach is to feign helplessness due to an infirmity. An example: "Greetings Millennial co-worker. I just broke my spectacles and can't see a thing. Can you help me Photoshop this photo for our web site?"
They will only be too happy to oblige, as 97 percent of Millennials said they would assist an old lady trying to cross the street. Except on Tennyson. That's our hood, bitches!
2. Don't use the term, "Millennial."
Nothing pegs you as an again BB like the use of this cliched term. Better to say, "Hey there, Mr. Young Person" or "What is happening, Ms. Youth?" And don't ever say "Wazzup?" or "What's the haps, peeps?" You may as well have BEWARE: BABY BOOMER tattooed on your forehead.
3. On the other hand, Millennials like to use ancient expressions.
Using words coined by people long dead can be endearing. Some good words to use in casual conversations are shenanigans, reprobate, canoodling or bindlestiff. The last one refers to a hobo. Most Millennials have never actually seen a real hobo, although some look the part. I caution you here to avoid using terms (old or new) that could be construed as suggestive or sexist. Most Millennials respect other ethnicities and gender identities. I have been told by someone not on Fox News that at some liberal bastions of learning, use of the pronoun "he" could be offensive if that person does not self-identify as a male. The same goes for "she." This may explain why the Webster's Dictionary folks recently decided that "they" and "their" can now be used in the singular form.
Here are some examples:
Incorrect way to use pronouns:
He: Miss Millie, would you like to accompany me to the barn dance this evening?
She: I would be delighted, kind sir. Will our chums, all traditional couples, be at the dance?
He: They will each be driving his or her own automobiles.
She: We shall meet the hims and hers there.
Correct way to use pronouns:
They: Millie, would you like to accompany me to the barn dance this evening?
They: I would be delighted, kind human. Will our friends of various ethnicities and genders be going?
They: They shall be carpooling or taking their preferred form of wind- or solar-powered public transportation.
They: We will meet them there.
4. Millennials are very keen to find meaningful work.
Nothing bores a Millennial like grunt work. Come to think of it, nothing bores a Baby Boomer like grunt work. If you are the supervisor in charge of doling out grunt work, call it "meaningful" work, a task destined to change the world. Text or IM the details to your younger colleague as you leave work for an afternoon on the golf course or volunteering at the homeless shelter, depending on your political affiliation.
5. Millennials will happily throw you a retirement party.
Nothing brings glee to Millennials such as the statement "I will be retiring Aug. 1." They will throw you a retirement party featuring delicious coffee and treats from Millie's Midtown Cupcakery and Su Yee's Sushi Barn. One of them will direct and product a multimedia show featuring embarrassing photos from when you were young and not-so-young. Most, but not all, of your Millennial co-workers will wait until you've left the building to pilfer items from your desk or to stake a claim on your cubicle space. Don't be offended. As you did when you were young, they are just trying to get a leg up in this dog-eat-dog world. It's the circle of life.
P.S.: That will be $20,000 please. I prefer cash.