Help! I’m a Baby Gen Xer Trapped in a Geriatric Millennial’s Body

Coming to terms with my micro-generation

Brianna Conrey

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Rotary phone on a barstool with a pink background
Photo by Luke Southern on Unsplash

I was amused last year to learn that I belong to the micro-generation newly termed “geriatric millennials.” This generation consists of people born between approximately 1980 and 1985 (I was born in 1981). Geriatric millennials are, apparently, to be prized in the workforce, as translators between the “digital adapter” boomers and Gen Xers, who grew up in an analog world, and the “digital native” younger millennials and Gen Zers.

Despite my birth year, I am pretty sure no workplace would prize my input on millennials. Several years ago, I had an assistant who was several years younger than me — a quintessential millennial — and frankly, I did not understand her at all. She constantly questioned why I had assigned certain tasks to her, refusing to complete them unless she fully understood why they were important. She complained that I was not giving her enough feedback and specifically not enough praise, so I found myself doing absurd things like congratulating her when she sent routine emails successfully.

In desperation, I eventually consulted with a senior woman colleague — a boomer, in fact — who is highly poised, polished, and professional, yet completely down to earth. She advised me as follows: “Be firm, give…

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Brianna Conrey

Family, relationships, and life after divorce with a twist of humor. Exploring happiness, creativity, and how to be a good person in a complicated world.