There was a time (which I admit seems like many lifetimes ago) where I was actively involved in hiring and working with people at the very, very end of the Gen X tail and at the very beginning of the Millennial generation (or in those days what we affectionately called the whY Generation) — frankly I'm not sure the distinction even matters because they all came to the table with great potential. It was a time of "high adventure"... with countless memories and stories that come with that kind of swashbuckling.
One such memory involved us in a classroom with everyone seated in that classic U shape arrangement listening to one of my colleagues at the front of the room; another colleague and I were seated at the back observing. As we were whispering to each other (which I will admit can be rude), a person close to us turned and said, "You're judging us aren't you?"
There was a moment of confusion and then I looked at her and said, "No we aren't". Then I motioned for her to pay attention to the front, looked back at my colleague, and stopped whispering (well for a little while at least) — again I will reiterate the whispering was a little rude. I will never forget the question though (or the concern that could be heard in her voice).
Now fast forward a little more than a decade when just last week I was talking to a Millennial about his website; when I asked for the web address he said sure, and then went onto ask me not to be "judgy".
I think maybe it's time for some clarification, and to set the record straight when it comes to me.
For the record —
- Of all the generations I've worked with so far I like the Millennials the best.
- I never judge when I'm having a discussion (or working) with Millennials — sadly, I wish I could say the same when it comes to Boomers.
- I'm not a "hater"; I don't "bully", and I'm generally not "mean".
- I'm respectful.
- I have opinions (and if I'm honest, more opinions than I have earned the right to have)
- I believe "candor" is important.
I think it's important to call out the last point because it's crucial to understand what candor is not.
Candor is not "bullying", or being "judgy", or being a "hater", or any other word you decide to use when you don't like what is being said (or you disagree). If I candidly offer you constructive input and you say I'm being "judgy" or a "hater", et cetera, et cetera — well that's on you; not me.
I will always offer a safe and respectful place, and will not judge (or hate, or bully) — even when you don't like what I have to say.
That doesn't happen so much in the "real world" because as we all know, it's a "judgy" place.
Dedicated to L, R and A.