Short Take: Return of the Slackoisie?

Jordan Furlong is a smart guy, even though he occasionally dabbles in Millennial pandering at the Puddle. So is he just trolling now?

Let’s start with a reality check. It’s kind of silly to talk about “the millennial generation” as if it’s some monolithic hive mind. If you’re setting out to describe the attributes of a demographic wave several hundred million people wide, then you’re going to over-generalize to the point of absurdity. So the first thing I want to acknowledge is that there are myriad exceptions to the broad strokes painted below.

It’s “silly,” so he’s going to do it anyway. Thanks, Gertrude.

The fundamental problem is that baby boomer lawyers (and to a lesser extent, gen-x lawyers like myself) keep trying to interpret the behavior of millennials through the lens of their own cultural assumptions and practices.

The fundamental problem with this sentence is that it’s nonsensical. Are older lawyers “trying to interpret” the younger lawyers who come to them for a job, who get a paycheck, who are there to do a job? Do we work for them or do they work for us? Interpret this: do your job or you’re fired.

But Jordan offers a different approach.

Here are corrections to some misconceptions you might have about millennials:

  1. Millennials aren’t entitled. They’re preternaturally confident in themselves because they were raised to have the utmost belief in their own abilities. Whether that confidence is justified is mostly beside the point. Millennials speak to their elders with a degree of self-possession and authority that their listeners can find off-putting: “Who are you to talk to me this way?” But that’s the way they are. You might as well complain that they walk about on two legs.
  2. Millennials aren’t lazy. They work very hard, in fact—but they won’t work stupid. They can figure out pretty quickly if a task is make-work, pointless, or counterproductive, and they’ll resist and resent your attempts to make them perform it. You might argue that Millennials don’t want to pay their dues, but that’s not true—they don’t want to pay your dues. They care not the slightest for how you made it in the world. And they’ll have difficulty being polite with you about that.
  3. Millennials aren’t disloyal. They’re peripatetic, and that’s a word you should get used to hearing. They move on quickly from roles and workplaces, primarily because there’s an astoundingly exciting world out there and they want to experience as much of it as they can. Oh, and they’ve seen their friends laid off from associate positions and watched partners jump laterally from firm to firm, so they won’t listen quietly to your lectures on “making a commitment to this firm.”
  4. Millennials aren’t slackers. They’re ambitious because they crave external praise and internal affirmation and they want to over-achieve to obtain these rewards. They do not subscribe to a linear model of responsibility and advancement: they believe that if you’re capable of doing something, you should do it, regardless of whether “it’s their job” or whether permission to try has been extended. They are very impatient for accomplishments and their subsequent payoffs.

Good one, Jordan. Please clean out your desk and the guards will escort you off the premises so that a Millennial who wants to work for his clients can use the space wasted on an entitled, lazy, disloyal slacker.

15 thoughts on “Short Take: Return of the Slackoisie?

  1. DaveL

    So let me get this straight: they believe in paying their dues, but not in “a linear model of responsibility and advancement”. They also don’t want to commit to an employer, wait for permission, show respect to their elders, or wait for accomplishments and success. I’m sorry, isn’t that just a flowery and circuitous way of saying they don’t want to pay their dues?

    1. SHG Post author

      This is why you need to learn how to interpret Millennials, old man. Now hand them their paycheck and let them go off to Starbucks. Court will wait until they feel like it, if ever.

  2. REvers

    A Different Take: Millennials Don’t Give A Flying Fuck About Learning How To Be Competent Lawyers.

    Or competent drivers, either. But that’s probably a subject for another day.

    1. SHG Post author

      The oddity is that some Millennials do, but the Jordan and the Puddle would have lawyers reduce their expectations to align with the worst rather than teach and demand excellence of these slackers or, better still, reward those Millennials who earn the rewards.

  3. Mario Machado

    Jordan’s bullshit reminds me of the time I was trying to recruit for Fault Lines’s JV squad.

    Someone should send Brinks trucks full of dimes to every law school, with the desperate hope that the professors will have the cojones to fling them.

      1. CLS

        Come on, Gamso. It’s an easy fix.

        “Mr/Ms. (insert coddled millennial name), please go to the App Store of your choosing and download the “Dimes” app. It will allow you to make a free phone call to your mother telling her you have serious doubts about becoming a lawyer.”

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