those days.

I really like my job most of the time. How do I define liking it? I enjoy the majority of the people I work with, and the things I get to do. I believe in my company’s mission, and I generally laugh fairly hard at least three times a day. Plus, all I have to do to look at my current position favorably is to reflect on the first job I had after graduating from college, where I would arrive each day and just sit sadly in my car in the parking lot, thinking about how desperately I didn’t want to enter the building. Not just because I worked next to a jail and was terrified of being taken hostage by an escaped inmate, but because I hated everything about that position.

So…yeah. It’s fair to say I like my job. But then, there are those days. Those days where my job and I are no longer on good terms and we begin resenting each other and being high maintenance.

Today? It was one of those days.

So naturally I felt my best option was to call my boss from the airport and proceed to whine, complain, lament and throw an overall pity party. I said lots of angry-young-professional types of things in my most mature voice, like, “I don’t think I’m adding value” and “I don’t understand why people are so rude sometimes.” Really digging deep on my feelings here in case you couldn’t tell.

Anyway, I was completely on the defensive, anticipating he would respond with some canned motivational advice to reassure me. But instead, he totally threw me for a loop. You know how in cheesy fight scenes in 80s movies, someone throws a punch and instead of blocking it, the other person grabs his arm and pulls it forward, totally gaining the upper hand? Well my boss did the professional equivalent of this over the phone, essentially becoming a mentor ninja.

Instead of just trying to make me feel better, he acknowledged that sometimes, no matter how advanced our jobs are and where our careers take us, we all occasionally have dumb, annoying and pointless days. We’re asked to do ridiculous things and sometimes the people we interact with are jerks.

It’s great to get reassurance when you hit a low, and it’s even better to realize you’re being a complete baby with no real reason to complain. Because then you can shrug off your bad mood and enjoy TCBY while sitting on the floor of the airport in dress clothes (because you need to charge your iPhone and the only free power outlet is by a utility closet).

I am fortunate to have a really, really good boss. Lord knows I would never want to manage me, and I certainly wouldn’t want to manage a whole gaggle of millennial females, that sounds heinous. This situation made me realize three things:

1. Things are never as bad as they seem in the heat of the moment. Once you get a chance to vent or eat processed sugar, it’s usually not such a big deal.
2. Smart males know not to always give advice, and that just listening and validating the feelings of an enraged female is the key to success and ending an annoying phone call.
3. I’m lucky to have a job. Really lucky to have one I like. And super lucky to be learning and engaged almost all of the time. No job will be perfect, and many people would kill to do what I do.
4. The meaningful quote I heard today that turned my whole day around, the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it, is apparently from a Justin Bieber song, and that is gross.

Advertisements

Yes, I’m a millennial.

Last week at a work event I witnessed a roundtable discussion on the challenges older adults face when communicating with millennials. It was interesting to hear people 10 to 20 years older than me speak candidly about their frustrations getting through to my generation. A variety of causes were blamed, ranging from the popularity of text messaging to excessive praise from parents. A professional facilitator led the session, which lasted for several hours.

I sat in the back of the room, intrigued and a bit ashamed, and didn’t make a peep. I’m not sure if anyone participating in the conversation recognized the fact that I fell into the demographic they were describing, and I didn’t want to derail the energy in the room.

The thesis statement of the conversation was that millennials were bad at communication. That we pretty much lack the ability and initiative to interact with others in a productive way. There were even suggestions that younger people should be trained on ways to better engage with older generations as they enter the workforce.

I couldn’t help but feel a little bit stereotyped.

I know. I’m the anomaly. My entire profession is based on promoting clear communication.

But it wasn’t really the criticism that bugged me. It was the feeling of being casually defined by a broad term that made me uncomfortable. Yes, I’m a millennial, based on the year I was born. But I’m a lot of other things, too. For example, I’m a great baker and I make really good mixed CDs. I’m a dog lover and a world traveler.

Sure, go ahead and sum up my existence in a few phrases. I can take it. But you don’t see me or my peers sitting around, lamenting the inability of older generations to engage with us.

I get it though. We text incessantly. We have ADD. We ask ‘why.’ And we speak too fast and say “like” a lot. But we grew up with the INTERNET for pete’s sake, and cell phones and e-books and coed dorms. We lack the eloquence of Shakespearean actors, true, but man can we tweet with finesse.

The world has become a faster place, and as people growing up in it, we’re simply trying to adapt.

I think that as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, generations will always have challenges understanding each other and figuring out how to relate. This will continue to make parents crazy and teenagers rebellious, and ensures a place for detention in high schools from now through eternity. I understand how aggravating it must be to work with people my age and our endless quirks and eccentricities, but I believe that learning how to listen to us – maybe in ways you’ve never tried – is worth the effort.

You never know what you’ll learn when you least expect it.

We use slang and we swear a lot. It’s disgraceful. But we also can do things that would blow your mind. Just give us a chance and let your listening skills evolve with your patience.