By Feliz Moreno
It’s like this: if you give a millennial a cubicle, she may ask for push pins to hang her vision board, a map of the countries she wants to travel. If you give a millennial a cubicle, she may ask for an ergonomic keyboard, a ball chair, a mouse, too. The baby boomers will scowl and complain about their wilted backs, their looming Lasik surgery while they drink their pour-overs and ignore their email inboxes. If you give a millennial a cubicle, she will believe that she is entitled to some money. If you give her money, she will ask for enough to pay her rent in this overpriced city. If she makes enough money to pay her rent, she may then ask for health care and dental. If you give the millennial benefits, she might also want to take weekends off – maybe holidays, too. “She hasn’t earned paid vacation,” the baby boomers will grumble in the kitchen, before plodding off to their chilled, gray work dens.
If you give her all of this, she will begin to believe she is deserving of a decent boss, a team of coworkers that appreciate her. When she feels appreciated, she may ask for more non-entry level tasks. She might ask to be taken off kitchen duty, that she be assigned to something slightly more complex than answering phones and sorting mail. When you teach her to write copy and schedule media posts, she will confirm that she can handle it, and she will expect a proportional amount of respect and compensation.
If you give a millennial a cubicle, eventually, she may grow a backbone. She might start to wear a disgruntled face at meetings or go silent during conference calls while she skims through other job listings. If you give a millennial a cubicle, she may eventually refuse to get stuck sorting the mail again, and when management threatens her with a no-fault termination, she might just take it. Because if you give a millennial a cubicle, she might eventually box up the books and the plants on her desk in search of the sunshine she missed from nine-to-five. And the baby boomers will scowl and sip their cold afternoon coffee. “Millennials are a dime a dozen anyway,” they will say, and they will throw her vision board in the trash to make room in the cubicle for the next one.