woman at laptop speaking caption 'Telling your millennial manager about your plan for the week' ''I have an appointment so I'm leaving early today' (l) woman at laptop speaking caption 'Telling your millennial manager about your plan for the week' ''I have PTO next week so I'm going to miss the staff meeting'' (c) woman at laptop speaking caption 'Telling your millennial manager about your plan for the week' ''I'm pplanning to bring my laptop on vacation in case you need anything'' (r)

@stuffkarensays/TikTok

‘Good leaders don’t micromanage’: TikToker says millennial-aged managers value work flexibility more than other generations

'I WILL be the management change I want to see in the world.'

 

Melina Khan

IRL

Posted on Aug 8, 2022

A TikToker and former human resources worker’s video about what it’s like to work under a millennial-aged manager went viral and sparked a conversation about the generational gap in work flexibility attitudes.

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Karen (@stuffkarensays) posted a video Aug. 3 and acted out hypothetical worker statements and the responses she says they would receive from managers who are millennials or were born in the 1980s or ‘90s

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“Telling your millennial manager about your plan for the week,” Karen wrote in a text overlay on the video, which received more than 1 million views by Monday.

@stuffkarensays Good leaders trust you to get your work done and don’t micromanage. And occasionally go Maddie on your ass if you try to work on vacation. #corporate #worklife #leadership #millennialmanagers #millennial ♬ Bitch – Ana Infante

The video is aligned with audio that combines lyrics from “Tonight Tonight” by Hot Chelle Rae and a clip from HBO’s Euphoria that together say, “La la la… Whatever, la la la… It doesn’t matter, la la la… Oh well, la la la… Bitch, you better be joking.”

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“‘I have an appointment so I’m leaving early today,’” says a hypothetical worker, indicated in a text overlay. Karen, as the manager, replies, “Whatever.”

The manager says, “It doesn’t matter,” when the worker says they will “make up the time tomorrow.”

When the worker says they will “miss the staff meeting” because they are using paid time off, the manager responds, “Oh well.”

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But when the worker says, “I’m planning on bringing my laptop on vacation in case you need anything,” the manager says they “better be joking.” 

“Good leaders trust you to get your work done and don’t micromanage,” Karen wrote in the video’s caption, which ignited many viewers to share their perspectives on millennial-aged professionals.

“Millennials were tortured most of their working lives they’re looking to break the cycle,” one commenter wrote.

“Legit yes! Trying to break the toxic cycle we went through,” another said.

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Others shared their own perspective as a manager.

“As long as the work gets done.. I don’t caaaaaaare,” one person wrote.

“I WILL be the management change I want to see in the world,” another said.

In an email interview with the Daily Dot, Karen said she made the video to show the positive shift she has seen in managerial outlooks.

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“I’ve noticed some similarities in the way my peers and I lead others, and a lot of them seem to be a positive change from experiences we’ve had in the past,” Karen said.

She also said she has noticed that many of her millennial-aged peers want to “lead in a different way” based on past negative experiences.

“I do think many millennials value flexibility, empathy, and trust,” Karen said. “Many of us have experienced being micromanaged, a lack of flexibility in where and when we do our work, and past managers valuing our work product or the company over us as human beings.”

In response to the traction the video has received, Karen said she hopes viewers “take away the value of being an empathetic and flexible leader.”

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“In my opinion, good leaders trust their team members to get their work done in a quality way and help them protect their work/life balance and boundaries,” Karen said. “That was my main message.”

According to government data platform Data USA, the median age of managers nationwide is 45 years old. Based on data from Pew Research Center, however, millennials currently make up the largest working generation.

When it comes to generational attitudes about work-life balance, though, millennials do not rank statistically higher than other generations in terms of expectations. According to a 2022 study from HR software company Oyster HR, nearly 80% of both Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) and millennials have an expectation for flexible working hours.

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*First Published: Aug 8, 2022, 4:00 pm CDT