3 taboo questions millennials are asking, leaving hiring managers shocked

Originally published: LinkedIn (article link) 
Featured: LinkedIn's Human Resources, India, Millennials forums 
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Subject Matter: Millennials 
Style: Expository, light sarcasm 
Author: Swati Jena (Founder, GhostWritersWorld)

The cut-off date of the “millennial generation” varies from as early as 1976 right up to 1980, and even as late as anyone born in the 1990s and thereafter. These variations come due to different scholarly and research bodies describing the demographics differently. Specifics apart, for the purpose of this article, let me create two groups of the Early Millennials and the Later Millennials. The former are people already into the workforce for several years, and the latter who are just passing out of college or have been working for a year or two.

This article is about the Later Millennials (LMs).

Enough and more has been written about the famed ‘Millennial Generation’.

(Sometimes it makes me wonder if the baby boomers were not as interesting.)

Whatever the case, Millennials intrigue us, enthral us, interest us – and for the subject of this article, also shock us.

Simon Sinek’s viral interview on the Millenials at Workplace, made an important point about corporates having to assume the additional responsibility of teaching the Millennials the value of patience, relationships, etc. I resonate with that.

However, saying the “corporates”, led by the Baby Boomers and Early Millennials, are actually capable of bearing that mantle is not a status quo we can accept without exploring further.

Just a simple example that Sinek gives of the obsession with cell phones. Guess, who apart from the LMs, are addicted to cellphones, and are forgetting that relationships need time to be nurtured :))

So, here another perspective.

That maybe, while Millennials need support, perhaps – in asking their questions – they are shaking up the earlier generation – to think about fundamentals that matter, but have been long ignored.

Here are 3 questions the LMs are posing, leaving hiring managers shocked.

TABOO QUESTION #1: Can I work from home?

You don’t ask THAT question. Definitely not when you are still being interviewed, and certainly not when you are at the “start of your career”. The unsaid rule is: at that stage of your life (and I don’t know if that rule ever changes, though the reasons might), you slog your whatever off. You spend your days and nights and weekends at workplace.

“Work from home”? That’s for people who have family commitments, with kids at home, lying low on their careers. Why do you want a work from home? Are you even serious about getting this job?

That is how I hear most recruitment managers react. They are taken aback by this question.

We have a long way to go before we understand that work from home is not an alternative to taking leaves, because your child was sick. Work from home could mean a more efficient and productive way of working. That is how the Millennials seem to see it. Why burn out travelling for hours to work, to sit between four walls? (and not all organizations pay attention to workspace design). Why not work from home, when I can work longer hours, at my favorite place, and think better?

What the recruitment managers consider blasphemy, is merely a logical question from the Millennial’s perspective.

TABOO QUESTION #2: Tell me more about my manager?

Ah, now you are really getting cocky. How dare you ask that? You are barely out of college, hardly know anything, anyways we have to spend months training you, and now you want to know more about your manager?

Did they not teach you in school, you don’t get to choose your manager – so why even ask? In time, if you learn 5-tricks-of-how-to-manage-your-manager you will get through your career, and you can be thankful. But don’t ask about your manger. Only he has the right to ask about you.

The earlier generation worked hard to move up the social strata. Getting a good job and being successful at it was important. But what got sealed in the process was the status-quo of the employer-employee relationship. That the employer is above the employee.

This shows up in many different ways. Starting from the interview stage. The employer will demand to have more information from you, than you can seek from the employer. They want to know your current salary, but you cannot know the pay range of the role you applied for. They will ask you your weakness, but guess they will fall off the chair if you asked them the same question 🙂

But Millennials are challenging that status quo. When they know that their happiness at work is going to be most impacted by this person called “the manager”, then why not get to know him a little better before deciding to take up the job. Fair enough, no?

Millennials are clearly saying “we want to know, and early, if the manager will just be a person I will take orders from or will he add some value to me.”

TABOO QUESTION #3: If I am smart and finish my work sooner (implied: due to my smartness), I can do my own stuff in the time I save – right?

No, smarty pants. You think you will outsmart us, just because you scored a few good grades at college? If you finished your work before time then it most probably means you are “under utilized”, and the manager assigned you less work than he was supposed to. How come you finished it so much sooner than your colleagues. And, btw, aren’t you paid for working like 8 hours a day?

Yes sure. And what about the many many extra hours and weekends you work, that the employer conveniently forgot to mention? And we all know the urban legend of people who work well and work fast end up doing the share of other’s.

Millennials are simply seeking fairness in saying, if I am smart then I should should be able to use the time I save for what I want to do. I get paid for the outcomes.

Let’s face it. These are questions many Baby Boomers and Early Millennials always wanted to ask, but never had the nerves to. It could be because of the time or prevalent value system. But the Later Millennials are breaking free from those.

They are shocking the employers and managers with their questions. But in doing so, they are ushering in the new era of new workplaces.

So it turns out, that it is not only the corporates who are helping the Millennials change. The Millennials are in turn, helping corporates shed their archaic assumptions and evolve to the next era of humanity.

(c) 2017 Swati Jena All Rights Reserved

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