St John Karp

Ramblings of an Ornamental Hermit

Millennials: Are They Really People?

The latest data from behavioral studies show that Millennials do not consume food the same way as ordinary human beings. I decided to camp out at the local combination kaffeeklatsch, artisanal sushi bar, and USB charging station to see if these findings really were substantiated. Sure enough, everyone there between the ages of 20 and 30 first looked at their food in disgust, then took a photo of it.

Curious to find out more about this phenomenon, I introduced myself to one such diner. “Hi, I’m a journalist and…”

“A journalist?” she interrupted. “Like for a newspaper?” In an instant she had turned her phone on me and snapped a picture. “Oh my god, this is going straight onto Tumblr.”

“Actually it’s for a blog.”

She raised an eyebrow at me. “Is there a podcast that goes with it?”

“Yeah,” I said. There is no podcast, but I did my best not to let her smell my fear.

“With original music from a local band?” she pressed.


“Go ahead,” she said, turning back to her phone. “But make it quick. There’s drama on Twitter and I need to stay on top of this.”

I asked, “Why did you take a photo of your food before you could eat it?”

“What, you mean I should eat it without taking a photo? Like, raw?”

Millennials are the generation after Generation X, born sometime in the 1980s or 90s. They are the Internet’s native denizens, children born into a world of booming technology that has revolutionized the way we live. Millennials are now reaching working age, and their cultural detachment from previous generations is notorious for causing friction in the modern workplace.

The latest research, however, shows that Millennials are more than just culturally different. On average they are taller, their eyes are larger, they can achieve higher speeds over short distances, and like animals they seem to be able to smell fear and sense when the old or terminally ill are about to die. There is even evidence that they are capable of short-range telepathy. When blindfolded, nine out of ten Millennials could identify which meals had been photographed and which had not, and four out of ten could even tell which social medium the photo had been posted to. In similar tests Millennials were blindfolded and asked to identify the age of a stranger standing in the room. 88% could distinguish members of their own generation from the Gen Xers and the Baby Boomers. When a Baby Boomer stepped into the room, one Millennial was even heard to utter, “Urgh. This one smells like Bob Dylan sounds.”

So how can we get along with these children of the future? Many management guides advocate simply not hiring Millennials because of the common perception that they are lazy and selfish workers. The 2014 Harvard Business School Management Handbook actually argues we should take up pitchforks and flaming torches and chase Millennials off the edge of cliffs for transgressing against the laws of nature. This kind of reactionary nonsense, however, is typical of the Baby Boomers. We need to learn to embrace Millennials and accept their strange and enlightened vision of the future. If you manage an office, consider allowing Millennials to take afternoon naps or personal days off work. Reserve a conference room as a meditation center where Millennials can plug into social media and enter their otherworldly Delphic trances. Be sure to remove all furniture from the room to allow the Millennials to float freely three or four inches above the floor. Laugh at their jokes even if you do not understand them, and under no circumstances should you be tempted to actually read Reddit. You will only be horrified because, like the future, it’s simply not for you. The world belongs to the Millennials now. The most we can do is accept that fact and do our best not to anger our future overlords.