Frank Moldstad is the only 50-something at a west coast digital marketing firm comprised almost entirely of 20-somethings. This is the ongoing story of his travails....
It's the morning staff meeting, and things are not going well. Maybe it's the caffeine-free chicory coffee I made. The subject is proposed new office assignments, and tempers are rising. People get very emotional over the stature of having an office versus a cubicle.
As a new 50-something employee in a company full of millennials, I do not care about this issue. At my age, I'm just happy to be here, sharing a cubicle. As the late George Burns said, "At my age, I'm very pleased to be anywhere."
Always the helpful type, I attempt to lighten the mood.
"People, people, can't we all just get along," I wail. I can be highly original sometimes.
For a second it works. Everyone stops and stares at me.
Ringo, fresh out of college with a window office, says "What's that from, a movie?"
"No, it's Rodney King," I say, embarrassed for him that he didn't catch the reference.
"Who's Rodney King?" asks Evelyn, the 20-something who shares my cubicle.
"You know, Rodney King, the guy who was beaten by L.A. cops. They were acquitted, and people started rioting."
"When was this? Today?" they all clamor.
I might as well be talking about the Crimean War for all they know. With the possible exception of Marci, our 30-something boss, no one has ever heard of Rodney King or the Los Angeles riots. Perhaps it is because these events took place in the previous millennium, when most of my co-workers were in elementary school. But they should know about this.
So I give them an overview, which turns out to be somewhat longer than I intended. People in the conference room get restless and start playing with their cell phones. Marci is rolling her eyes.
"Well, after that little history lesson, maybe we can get back to our office situation," she says.
Marci runs a focused meeting. She likes agendas with bullet points. But in my humble opinion, she should try a little off-topic story now and then. Thanks to my rambling discourse, the tension in the room has evaporated. A compromise is suggested, in the form of a subcommittee to study the office situation and make recommendations. Neither Marci nor I are on the subcommittee. The millennials must find their own path to office nirvana. I predict they will end up with the solution proposed originally.
Perhaps we can all get along. But back in our cubicle, Evelyn bursts my balloon.
"This coffee sucks," she says.