I used to get really annoyed whenever I would see those of the younger generation at work doing something on their smart phones — whether texting or checking Facebook or playing some game — as well as taking frequent and prolonged breaks. But then I finally realized that I’m getting annoyed because I’m a Baby Boomer, and we have a different work ethic. In fact, I tried to fit something about “work ethic” in the title of this post, but nothing sounded good. But the point is that millennials have really figured out the correct work ethic. As a Baby Boomer, my mentality is that I go to work TO WORK. My mind is very compartmentalized. I leave family and phone calls and entertainment and hobbies outside and away from my workplace, whether it’s an office, a retail situation or a garden center, whatever. As long as I’m there, I focus on my job, and nothing else. That’s because I’m a Baby Boomer.
Millennials, on the other hand, don’t approach life with these different compartments. Their lives are blended together. That’s why, when they are on the job, they can work and send a text at the same time. And then they can receive a text and read it. Perhaps chuckle, or laugh out loud. And then reply. And check Facebook, and hopefully YouTube and Snapchat. And they can do this WHILE they are working. I just read an article about millennials on Forbes, which states: “It’s very much the phenomenon of FOMO, ‘fear of missing out.'”** Something might happen and they might miss it during the eight hours while they’re at the job. So their job and their life are not divided into multiple, separate compartments. They are blended and intertwined. They can move to the next level of the game that they’re involved with, and also do their job — at the same time! Now, rather than feeling annoyed, I admire their ability to manage multiple facets of their lives — while at work — and I am trying to emulate them.
The other way that millennials have it right in the workplace is that they have learned how to increase their hourly wages. Again, I didn’t understand this at first because of my work ethic as a Baby Boomer. But millennials have learned how to work less in order to increase their hourly rate. For example, suppose he or she gets paid 12 dollars and 50 cents an hour for eight hours. But of those eight hours, they only WORK six, it means that they are really earning 16 dollars and 67 cents an hour. So all that time they spend on their smart phones, as well as taking frequent and prolonged breaks, and walking slowly, actually increases their hourly wage by 4 dollars and 17 cents. Pure genius. And that’s only one example. Suppose a minimum wage law goes into effect. Rather than making 15 dollars an hour, they will actually earn 20 dollars an hour by working only 6 out of the 8 hours they spend at their jobs. And that’s only two of the ways that millennials have it right. I am Lee Cuesta.