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Being lazy is not a Millennnial thing, apparently

So.. I am apparently on the cusp of Millennnial-ism. People give me the side-eye when I say this but when I tell them how old I am, they Google it, and then agree with me.

The reason why they can’t believe it, is because there is a stereotype going out around there about how this generation is lazy, unmotivated and entitled.


..and I hate hearing that because we are not all the same.

Look at me!

I am not lazy, unmotivated or entitled.. I don’t and never expected at work, to be handed anything, and when I wanted to learn something or saw an opportunity, you could not stop me from learning it.

I don’t ask for raises when I don’t think I’ve deserved them.

Take for instance, the specialty I have now — you know how I learned it?

Because I saw that not many people had that skill, and had an intutition it could be a real unique selling point if someone were to hire me over someone else.

Whenever I met someone who did this speciality in any regard, I glommed on them like a koala cub and basically very politely hassled them with never-ending questions about why, how, who, when and anything under the sun.

I offered to do grunt work for them in this area.

I spent nights on this, I researched and read up on it, I tried things out on my own to see if I understood the concepts.

I made myself useful, all the while peppering them with questions and absorbing as much as possible to understand what I could.

Secondly, I am (at work) being asked to help train someone on this exact specialty.

A problem? Not really.

I don’t see how someone can learn what I have learned over 10 years (still learning!), in 2 months but I digress.

This woman, is at least 15 years my senior, and claims to be motivated (at least in all of the team meetings we are having when she speaks up and says she is VERY interested in learning how it is done).

…and yet, her actions speak louder than her words.

She is LAZY AF…

I gave her ONE TASK to do. A simple one that I did when I was learning, and she couldn’t even do it.

I had to go through and redo what she did, clean it up, organize it properly and finish what I asked her to do.

Not only that, I gave her SIMPLE tasks she should be able to handle on her own (specialty or not), and she didn’t even do them right.

Now, is it a lack of knowledge? …. Maybe. If so, then speak up! SAY SOMETHING.

Just say to me:

“Hey Sherry? Could you walk me through how this part works? I’m not very familiar with it.”

Simple. Easy. Honest.

I would have spent time working with her.

…instead of saying:

“Sure, I will do it.” (LIES.)

…only to have me come back to you, constantly ask if you are done, and then when I go to run my analysis, I see that you missed 15% of what you should have entered because my calculations all came out #%*@$)@$.

She doesn’t take any action on her own..

Want to learn something and need the time? BOOK ME.

In a recent meeting that riled me up and prompted this post, she says in front of an entire room with managers:

“Oh I have learned NOTHING so far. It has been a month and I am not even autonomous, and I don’t know ANYTHING because NO ONE is sitting down and helping me.”

She basically threw me under the bus because I am supposed to be the one helping her.

And you know what?

I kept my mouth shut because I am a professional, and I don’t give AF because training her is not my mandate and I don’t really want to.

Especially now after this had happened. I am even LESS inclined to help her.

All I could think was that I created, and provided her with an 80-page guide on my specialty (above and beyond what most people would do, as I have verified this with other employees to make sure I am not off base here and doing my job), AND I ALSO have examples for her (real life ones) she can follow and reverse engineer the formulations of.

THIS is what I would have done.

I would have spent all my free time teaching myself, instead of whining and complaining about how no one is spoon feeding you this information and as a result, you are blaming me, the “teacher” rather than you the student not taking any action.

This two-faced #%(*)% says to me: “Can I help (probably prompted by a manager), and when I (stupidly) give her tasks to help me, she takes weeks to complete them when I needed it yesterday.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF ASKING TO HELP if you are not going to !?

I can’t even trust her with basic stuff to help me, and that makes me even less inclined to help her.

You have to chase her for basic tasks

I have to chase her. I can’t believe I have to chase her for these things, but a great example is I put her on a task of managing a relationship with a big client.

I ask her: Hey, could you take this over? Here’s the overview, here are my previous email exchanges, go.

She spends 2 weeks, doing JACK SQUAT, only to have my Director ask ME for an update (to which I redirected him to her), and he emails her for the next month, weekly, to ask for an update.

You would think with such a hint you would proactively give an update, follow up and make sure it is covered without any more prompting.


I had to sit with her, craft out the email, and tell her: you contact this guy, this person, ask them this, lay out a plan for this, tell them the deadline is this….

…. It was all in my emails and not related to any knowledge per se, but just basic self-management and organization.

In summary…

I want everyone to know that being lazy and a terrible back-stabber at work is not limited to being a Millennial. Happens in all age groups.

If you want to succeed at work, and care about something, you will note three things in life:

1. EVERYTHING you get is training.

Nothing is beneath you. Grunt tasks, are how you learn how difficult something is.

2. You have to take charge of your own learning.

No one (especially me) is going to chase you to teach you. You handle that part on your own and come to me if you have questions.

3. You need to stop whining.

Shut up, stop whining to managers about how you are not learning, because it makes you look petty and stupid even if you think you’re throwing me under the bus and covering your @ss.

You really aren’t.

Now people are actually coming up to me, horrified that she said that because they know that I was the one who was meant to be her teacher, but have been overbooked on three projects to the point where if I spend time to train her, something doesn’t get done.

We are not in leisurely, chill out mode here. This is a crunch time for a lot of projects this year, and frankly, I’m over it.

Have you ever dealt with someone like that before at work? Tips please!


  • Financial Orchid

    I noticed that in this year’s batch of new hires too. I mean with restructuring they definitely got the shit end of the stick but one approached me for help and just sounded frustrated n whiny rather than trying to find the right people to latch on to learn. Maybe I’m getting old. I’ve seen past year new hires and they are wayyy more humble and willing to learn. I remember being a new hire and way more positive too. At the least greeting people in the morning in the elevator. This year’s batch: nothing. Not even trying to socialize with other people in the coffee room –basically any /everyone knows more than them. Not sure how long they’ll last.

    Look at us mid career folks complaining about them on the learning curve..

  • Alice

    That blanket statement does piss me off. My supervisor likes to say this or that about millennials, despite the fact that none of her younger team members act that way.
    She sounds pretty stubborn. The way she threw you under the bus like that makes me think she is all about office politics. I work in an environment where who you suck up to matters substantially more than the amount of work you do. That’s the dark side of tight job security I guess.

  • liteadventurer

    Being lazy is not a millennial thing, but making blanket statements about an entire generation of people certainly qualifies as laziness. People have short memories, as many individuals – whenever they get old – say some kind of variation of the same thing about the younger generation at the time.

    People like your work associate used to bother me, but not anymore. It’s folks like that who make it easier for people like us to succeed and make bank. When looking at it that way – that these clowns are making me look great, and I don’t even have to do anything particularly exceptional – I don’t mind occasionally being surrounded by idiots.

  • Sense

    I have trained a lot of students as a part of my job, and I’ve been a student for a long time, so know both sides of this issue pretty well. We can either assume you’re doing everything you can and she is just lazy, OR we can give the woman the benefit of the doubt. In the former case, her laziness needs to be discussed with her boss and whoever is telling you to train her, because it is a total effing waste of time and company money, and she shouldn’t be in her position if she is lazy. In the latter case:

    From what you wrote, she clearly stated what she think she needs to learn the tasks: you sitting down and helping her by walking her through each task. It is what you ended up doing with the ‘handing over a client’ task you gave her. It sounds like that is how she learns best, and what she expects you to do.

    When I train my students I try to give them everything they’d need in multiple formats: verbal, written, & through demonstrations. I start them off slow, with baby steps, and make sure they know the purpose of each step. I share with them what *I* did to master each step, and make them perform each task in front of me (after I show them what to do a few times, and point out tricky bits and give tips on how to overcome them). Then I set clear deadlines: “Please have X number of samples mounted in THIS way by next Tuesday. Let me know if you think you can’t get it done by then or have any questions.” And then I set them free until our next meeting, where I give clear, concise feedback on what they did well, where they fell short, and how they could improve. I use the positive feedback sandwich technique (positive-negative-positive), and frame it in a non-confrontational way: “Here is what I would do if I were having problems with ___.”

    Also, important: I get to know each student and their goals before we even start training. We have tea and we chat about life stuff. Then, in the lab, I try to relate what they are learning from me to their ultimate goals, so that they can see how it benefits them. I also try to keep up with their lives a little bit as we work together (and afterward!) so that they know I care about them separately from the work that they do for me. I try to seem accessible and approachable, so if they are having an issue in the lab, they don’t feel too intimidated to come to me and ask what to do. Oftentimes if someone isn’t coming to you, it is because they feel like they can’t for some reason, not because they don’t know that they need to.

    If they don’t perform as well as I think they can, I think about what more I can do to help them learn, and ask them questions to try to figure out where they are having difficulties getting the tasks done.

    Basically, I treat them the way I wish my supervisors treated me.

    It sounds like you created an 80 page guide, but some people are visual learners or oral learners or whatever. Perhaps she was overwhelmed by 80 pages of writing?! I know I would be. Maybe she needs to understand the purpose of the small tasks you are giving her, and how they relate to the bigger picture? She also may be quite intimidated by you, and is turning the blame back on you. ??

    It sounds like it doesn’t matter to you if she masters these skills, and that you think you are too busy/experienced to properly train her in the time allotted. You are likely right, but there is no reason to go through the motions of training her in that case. It is a waste of everyone’s time, and just making you both feel terrible. It is possible to focus on a few concrete tasks that she *could* master in 2 months? And then follow up and ask why she hasn’t done something properly, if she is doing something incompletely/wrong? She may need more feedback, and some expectations set, to learn properly. Maybe if you share with her what you did to learn, she would have an example to follow? Keep in mind that not everyone can learn independently the way that you do, though, and it sounds like she really does need a lot more than you can give at the moment.

    All that said, as a senior employee, you’d think she would be able to 1. master small tasks 2. come to you when she didn’t know what to do 3. not throw you under the bus when she knew she wasn’t learning. I’d speak to her supervisor, and your own, and ask them what they think. Maybe they can help. At the very least, it will make them aware of what is happening!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      So, I went through the whole gamut of what you said. Baby steps, explanations..

      Guess what? EVEN TODAY, she is not fixing things or being careful. She is STILL making mistakes because she is rushing, disorganized… it causes me twice as much work to try and figure out what she did, and it is starting to frustrate everyone.

      I gave her simple, simple tasks to complete. Truly, basic stuff. She just doesn’t have the knowledge, but for her to operate in this second-level sort of niche, she has to have the basics down, and she has zero foundation. It is the reason why I think upper management is being blind or stupid… she just isn’t there. It is like asking someone who only knows their alphabet to write a full essay. She has no clue how to even make a word.

  • Anne

    I have had colleagues like her. The thing is, you cannot really change who people are. If they are happy just being reactive and doing the minimum required, then you just have to accept that, and be pleasantly surprised if they sometimes deliver over that level. You can then give them positive feedback so that they may be encouraged to continue the improvement. They usually get better at what they are doing and reach a higher minimum level, it just takes longer time.
    But I suppose this does not really help you, being a consultant and not seeing / being interested in the long term development. For you, it is just probably better to find a polite way out of the trap if you are asked to train a person like that. Or give them small, insignificant tasks, so that it will not be a disaster if they do not manage to finish them.

  • Paula

    All the time!! And my specialty is not even close to yours (intellectual wise), so when I direct someone to do such and such and they either don’t do it or lie they did and didn’t or say they couldn’t because of X, Y, Z… I can only understand two things, this person is either shy and don’t know how to ask for help, or this person is an effing lazy and just doesn’t want to do the job. For the first case, I do it with them and ask if they understood and need more explaining (my job is really 70% common sense, 30% experience), usually they understand and that’s it, problem solved. When it’s the second case… well… sometimes I tell my superior, sometimes I have to double check what the person did and sometimes I make them do all the work with me or another co-worker, in pairs (ridiculous)… And they are of all ages, millennials, generation X, baby boomers (on rare occasions)… it’s not a generation thing, it’s people being lazy thing, they exist and will continue existing no matter the year they were born.

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