Young Guns Fire Away

How well do you know millennials–those born in 1982, or after? Fast Company purports to.

Millennials aren’t interested in the financial success that drove the boomers or the independence that has marked the gen-Xers, but in careers that are personalized. They want educational opportunities in China and a chance to work in their companies’ R&D departments for six months. “They have no expectation that the first place they work will at all be related to their career, so they’re willing to move around until they find a place that suits them,” says Dan Rasmus, who runs a workplace think tank for Microsoft.
Thanks to their overinvolved boomer parents, millennials have been coddled and pumped up to believe they can achieve anything. Immersion in PCs, video games, email, the Internet, and cell phones for most of their lives has changed their thought patterns and may also have actually changed how their brains developed physiologically. These folks want feedback daily, not annually. And in case it’s not obvious, millennials are fearless and blunt. If they think they know a better way, they’ll tell you, regardless of your title.
Meet any of the millennials now embarking on their careers, and this picture comes to life. Impatience with anything that doesn’t lead to learning and advancement? “Nothing infuriates us more than busywork,” says 24-year-old Katie Day, an assistant editor at Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Group USA.
Fearlessness? “I don’t have time to be intimidated,” says Anna Stassen, a 26-year-old copywriter at the advertising agency Fallon Worldwide who treats her bosses like “the guys.” “It’s not that I’m disrespectful; it’s just a waste of energy to be fearful.”

They don’t sound all that different. I hate busywork, and I don’t fear my bosses.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Carl LaFong says:

    I realize that math is not my strong suit, but still. . . how does 26-year-old Anna Stassen qualify as a “millennial?”
    Dubious arthimetic aside, it’s bizarre the way sociologists, commentators, feature writers and other assorted blowhards assign individual character traits to an entire generation. It’s like that Angry Youth character who regularly rails against the evil, lazy Baby Boomers on Ernie’s blog. Haven’t we as a society progressed beyond such blatant stereotyping.
    Like David said, hating busywork and refusing to be intimidated by your boss is not the exclusive province of the 24 and under set.

  2. If you read the article it goes in to how some parents of these millennials have called for mediation sessions with their children”s bosses and hr departments, after poor performance reviews. Now, that is different.

  3. Wow. I encourage everyone to read the entire article. In many ways, it’s quite disturbing. (Having your parents show up to argue your case to a boss??? Good Lord, get a ball sack, Millennials). On the other hand, it is encouraging to see that some employers are giving their younger workers room to grow, instead of sticking them with copy machine duty for two years. I guess my overall impression is that Boomers have treated their kids like spoiled brats their entire lives, and now that’s coming home to roost in the Boomers’ own workplace.