These days, the elephant in the office is the fact that Millennials are saturating the departments of long standing, old-fashioned corporations, and a buzzing topic in the blog-o-sphere is what "non-millennial-aged" employees ought to do to adjust.

A lot of the buzz demonizes millennials in that they diminish the "older" employees' significance and contribution to the company.

Medium.com's Youth, Now magazine featured an article by Ross McCammon, former editor at magazines such as Men's Health and Popular Mechanics, in which he shares seven lessons that he learned from Millennials about work:

  1. Age doesn't matter at all.
  2. Closed offices are not desirable.
  3. Acting old is not good for camaraderie.
  4. Pivoting jobs within a company is acceptable.
  5. Mentorship is not defined by age.
  6. Learn to let things go.
  7. Stay hungry for personal growth.

For McCammon, the real shift was a mental one. He says, "They care how good you are. And how kind. And how willing you are to collaborate. They don’t care how old you are. But they do care about how old you seem." The epitome of the modern flexibility and lack of defined hierarchy within an office space is when McCammon describes mentorship and collaboration with Millennials:

"Help them. Because you know things and have seen things. And you are inured to certain events, like mass layoffs and budget cuts. You know how to cope. Your stalwart attitude is a model. But also admit what you don’t know. There’s nothing more humble than saying to a younger colleague, “You’re better at this than me. You should do it, and I’ll watch.” And there’s nothing more flattering."

When social commentary labels Millennials as evil and "older" employees as antiquated, it is easy to eliminate the possibility in our minds that fruitful collaboration is in fact possible. People of all ages work in open concept offices and decorate their desks just as they would in an old-fashioned closed office, but the source of status is different.

The value is placed on the mission rather than the roles of those serving it.

Wherever you might stand in the debate about Millennials and corporate reorganization, the only real question that it boils down to is:

What can we all offer each other that contributes to the company's mission?

Published in Coworking Blog