Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


The word "millennial" is a marketing construct that got out of hand.

Or, if you prefer, it's shorthand for "young person who thinks they know even more than all the young persons who came before them."

I have a sneaking regard for the way millennials have more than a touch of contempt for corporate life.

It's just a shame that they sometimes go and spoil it all with that heady self-centredness.

There again, I blame the open-plan office. Everyone can hear you, so you might as well declare out loud exactly who you are and what you think. Constantly, that is.

Some managers are completely flummoxed about how to deal with all this.

Enter Ron Rivera, coach of the Carolina Panthers.

The team that lost (and should have won) the Super Bowl has a fine young quarterback, Cam Newton.

However, when the Super Bowl was over, Newton couldn't be entirely fagged to do all those press interviews for corporate entities. So he pouted, then he flouted convention by skedaddling.

His coach, though, isn't perturbed by this thumbing of the nose at the established ways.

As Fox Sports reported, Rivera explained: "These are millennials, these are young men and women athletes that are being brought up in a different way and we need to learn to adapt to the way they are."

There you go, managers.

Are you adapting? Have you accepted that millennials are different so they should be treated with an alternative reverence?

Just in case you haven't, here's what you need to know, courtesy of Rivera: "These are young people that express themselves. When he's happy, he's going to express himself. When he's sad, he's going to express himself too."

Please allow me to express myself.

It's true that self-expression has often been banned by corporate apparatchiks.

You're supposed to do the company's bidding. Any expressions should be limited to exultations of the company's brand.

Instead, millennials seem more concerned with their own brand. Which, in Newton's case, includes him behaving like Superman when he wins and Dick Dastardly when he loses.

Don't judge, says Rivera. Instead: "I think we just need to accept, understand or at least anticipate we're not going to get him at his best [when he loses]."

You might sniff that Newton has been in the spotlight long enough to know how he's supposed to behave.

I, on behalf of my three remaining millennial friends, will insist that simply feeding the beast that pays you isn't necessary spiritually rewarding.

What about being human? Where did that go? What about being accepted for who you are and the job you do, rather than being cipher-bullied?

We have here, therefore, a radical approach to managing your millennials.

Let them be themselves and see how that makes them feel. See how that makes them act, too. And then see how that makes you feel.

Does it make them better and more productive employees? Or does it feed into their already marginally entitled sense of self?

Of his millennial quarterback, Rivera said: "How about understanding who he is? Spend a week with him and be in his shoes for a week and see what it's like. It's hard. I promise you, it's hard."

Some might not agree that it's hard being a millennial.

But it can't always be easy to look at the world and see what the bulbous-pocketed baby boomers have done to it.