You’re sitting in a meeting when two influential colleagues hijack the conversation and turn it into a high stakes game of chicken with your project.
You’re not quite sure how you let it happen, but sheer terror emerges as you recognize overconfident people are loudly and speedily sharing semi-logical information. Yes, semi-logical: sh*t logic wrapped in a delicious layer of good logic.
If you let them continue, the phony information will spread like wildfire. If you interrupt, you’ll be a casualty of involuntary ego-cide, career death by egotistical recklessness. You don’t stop a tiger fight by sending Bambi in as a moderator.
I know an executive who makes his associates work 24/7. Oh, you know him, too? The arrogant, or ignorant, or insecure one who parallel-paths every workstream with the fast and loose inefficiency that makes you want to weep in your sleep?
But this story is not about him. This story is about you–the mid-level manager who gets sent in to do the dirty work whenever executive’s huevos are too full, and he doesn’t want to be seen as “the bad guy.”
Today you sit with a group of young, red-eyed associates. Your mandate is to yell. To teach these darling fledglings that blinking an eyelash on Saturday at midnight over a false deadline after enduring a grueling work week is unacceptable. In fact, no eyelash-batting shall be permitted. EVER. “Excellence demands unwavering focus.”
How do you approach it? What do you do?
Everyone remembers that scene in Meet the Parents when Ben Stiller makes a sweeping generalization about being able to milk anything with nipples, and Robert De Niro hilariously responds, “I have nipples, Greg, could you milk me?”*
That’s the thing about sweeping generalizations. They’re only true sometimes. Sure, I happen to be a breastfeeding mom, and yes, you can milk me. (Well, not you specifically.) But that’s beside the point.
The point is this: people who don’t know me are speaking on my behalf. They are sharing studies in which I did not participate. They claim to understand my values. All because I was a young adult in the year 2000.
Before I continue, I know what you are thinking. “Oh goody, another entitled millennial speaks up.” And to this, I can only respond, indulge me.
With the loot companies are spending on unlocking the secrets of my enigmatic soul, why not? Better you hear it from the horse’s mouth. Heck, maybe we can work something out. After all, I am somewhat of an expert in all things me, and you are a brilliant and open-minded business guru.
So, without further ado, here are 15 requests I’d like to make of all employers, bosses, and the working community at large: