coworker trash-talks Millennials, is it better to send a perfect application or apply right away, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My coworker likes to trash-talk Millennials

I’m having difficulties with age gaps in my office. I’m fairly new to this particular office (less than six months) but I’m a mid-30’s woman about 10 years into a professional career. Most of the people on my team, with the exception of one, are about 25 years older than me and have been in their positions in this office for 5+ years.

Most of the time, there isn’t too much of an issue, but one coworker in particular keeps making comments about “Millennials” in ways that put me off. I’ve politely pushed back a few times (example, he referred to manual transmission as being a “Millennial anti-theft device” and I replied by saying I am a Millennial who learned to drive on a stick shift) but I mostly tend to ignore the comments. Just now, he sent a youtube link to me and another coworker (who is probably in his mid 30’s as well) of a baseball announcer mocking a group of “Millennial” young girls taking selfies at a game. I was very tempted to write back that I think the video reflected worse on the announcer than the girls who were having fun and not hurting anyone. He and I are peers with the same title. I do not think he is mocking me directly or feels like I’m doing a bad job, but it’s still frustrating to hear his comments against my generation. Should I continue to ignore or be more direct with him?

This is so tiresome. Your coworker is like someone who learned 10 years too late that people like to hate on Nickelback and is so excited to have a target to kick that he doesn’t realize how uninteresting he’s being.

Some options for responding:

* “You know the oldest Millennials are now approaching 40, right?” (You could add, “Keep it up for a couple more years and age discrimination laws will have kicked in” — because they kick in at 40 — but that’ll probably go over his head.)

* “OMG, are we still talking about Millennials?”

* “Dude, lay off the Millennial comments. It’s rude.” (Or “it’s gotten old” or “it’s so boring.”)

* Ignore him. Delete the emails unread, don’t respond to the comments, and generally mute him in your mind.

2. Is it better to send the perfect application or apply right away?

I’d be very grateful for your take on a recent job application problem I had: I saw a really exciting job opening at my current company, for which you had to apply via the company’s application site. I only saw the opening on Friday afternoon and didn’t have the chance to look at it properly until the weekend. It said the deadline was the Monday and it had the standard application format on this website, which includes the option of uploading a portfolio. It didn’t seem to be compulsory for this job, but it’s the kind of job for which my portfolio would be relevant, and I thought since I was a stretch for the job (they seemed to want more experience than I had), it would be best to do everything I could to help my application.

Unfortunately the best and most recent samples of my work are work I did at my current job, which I didn’t have at home. I decided to write a draft cover letter and CV, bring the samples home from work on Monday so I could scan and upload them in the evening, and gamble that the job opening would still be open. Unfortunately when I got home it had closed. Out of interest, do you think I did the right thing? Is it better to send a weaker application (in this case, without an up-to-date portfolio) while the opening is still there, or only apply if your application is perfect?

There’s no good answer here, other than “send in a good application as soon as you reasonably can” — which is what you tried to do. Sometimes the timing just won’t work in your favor, and it’s impossible to fully guard against that. You could have taken only an hour, and it still could have closed before you applied if you happened to have bad timing. The main thing is not to delay because of obsessive perfectionism or procrastination. In your case, though, you weren’t doing that.

The one thing I would do differently is, if you know you’re job searching or are likely to be job searching reasonably soon, have everything you need ready to go. You never know when something will pop up that you want to apply for, and ideally you wouldn’t be starting from scratch at that point in getting materials together.

3. Should I admit to using internet blocking software?

I recently installed a blocking software on my work computer that allows me limited minutes per day on a custom list of time-wasting websites, a decision which – coupled with a few other changes – has massively upped my work day productivity and organization.

My manager has asked what I’ve done that’s had such a big impact on my organization. I feel a bit conflicted about talking about this software – mostly because I feel I shouldn’t admit that, up until now, I’ve had real problems with procrastinating online! Would you suggest keeping it vague, or should I be honest about a useful tool I’ve found to help me address a problem my boss told me head on I needed to fix?

Ooooh. Yeah, this is likely to come across as “I was wasting so much time before that you were seeing it reflected in my work” and that’s not a great thing to say to your manager, even if it’s now behind you. You mentioned you made a few other changes too, so I might just explain those and not focus on this one.

4. My coworker tells my boyfriend whenever I leave work early

I struggle with a non-substance addiction. While one would hope your friends are there for you, my ex-BFF of 20 years, who is also my coworker, takes pleasure in me failing. She has informed my boyfriend when I leave work early. (It’s always excused and always encouraged by the company when it happens. It’s nothing any of us have to hide. Sometimes we are just overstaffed.) Needless to say it’s absolutely … I don’t know what the word is. Is she invading my implied privacy or breaking a general office rule that doesn’t have to be tolerated beyond the boss saying “You shouldn’t be doing that”?

She’d definitely violating boundaries and invading your privacy and being incredibly inappropriate. But there’s no law you could turn to, if that’s what you mean. The normal recourse here would be for your manager to tell her to cut it out (and sternly enforce that if it continues). Have you talked to your boss and asked her to do that? Also, ideally your boyfriend would tell her to stop contacting him too.

5. My employee is making a big deal of her birthday

I have a younger employee who is making a big deal about wanting to take her birthday off. She has the leave time available and it’s not a problem at all for her to be out that day, but I wanted to get your thoughts (and your readers’ thoughts) about her approach. I’ve overheard her make several comments like “you know I won’t be here next Tuesday, it’s my birthday” and “no one should have to work on their birthday.”  It’s come up more than once over the past week.

I personally think it comes across as immature and unprofessional to draw so much attention to one’s birthday as an adult. I have no problem with her taking the day off and celebrating as much as she wants, but I’m afraid that her focus on it in the workplace will cause her to be taken less seriously. I could be completely off-base (as I am a middle-aged curmudgeon), so I wanted to get a wider perspective before I took her aside and had any kind of “this is a career-limiting behavior” chat with her.

If she were just excited about her birthday, I’d tell you to leave it alone. One thing I’ve learned from writing this site (along with “lots of people hate pranks” and “people have a ton of fart-related questions”) is that a lot of people take their birthdays off.

Comments like “no one should have to work on their birthday” are a bit over the top, but how’s her professionalism and maturity otherwise? If it’s fine and this is just a weird quirk, I’d still leave it alone. It’s okay for people to be quirky. But if she’s already struggling to be taken seriously, I might talk to her about that issue in general — not focusing on the birthday thing, but on whatever’s going on that’s causing those perceptions.

That said, if you can tell that people in your office are rolling their eyes at this, it’d be kind to give her a heads-up along the lines of “I am totally happy to give you your birthday off, but you might be coming across as a little tone-deaf to others with comments like ‘no one should have to work on their birthday’ since most people do work on their birthdays, by choice.” But otherwise, I’d leave it alone and let her be super into her birthday.

{ 923 comments… read them below }

  1. Grand Mouse*

    LW 4, you should tell her to knock it off, but I think it’s more on your boyfriend to shut it down because she doesn’t respect you and will stop when she no longer has a receptive audience. Good luck!

    1. Undine*

      If you can get your boyfriend on board, the best thing is for him to block her number. That way he isn’t even getting the information that “ex-BFF called at such-and-such a time”, which he otherwise gets. Also tell her to knock it off. But be warned: she is so determined to interfere that she is likely to up her crazy before she gives up. The best thing is to ignore her if she does.

    2. Bagpuss*

      I agree. Speak to your boyfriend so that either her blocks her number or if e doesn’t want to do that, he responds on the next occasion to say “Don’t contact me about [name].It’s creepy and inappropriate” or even (or if it continues after that) “Stop stalking [name] and stop contacting me. We will both be reporting this as harassment if it continues”
      (also, if your boyfriend is unwilling to block her or tell her to stop it, then consider whether you need to have a serious conversation about him regarding boundaries!)

      also, as Alison says, speak to your manager and get her to tell this person to cut it out.

    3. Detective Amy Santiago*


      I’m assuming that the reason she is contacting him is because she thinks you’re going to indulge in your addiction when you leave early and wants to prevent that? Are you positive that he didn’t ask her to notify him? What does he say about her calls?

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yes, I’m unclear as to why she in contacting him? The addiction or just the fact that she left early? And I’m also unclear as to why OP leaves early. Is it for addiction treatment or because of the overstaffing?

        1. Lily Rowan*

          It sounds like she gets to leave the office early sometimes because of overstaffing and the coworker calls the boyfriend like, “DID YOU KNOW that OP ISN’T IN THE OFFICE RIGHT NOW??? Do you think she is doing SOMETHING BAD?????”

          Ugh. Exhausting and inappropriate.

          1. AKchic*

            That is how I read it too. As if the boyfriend is not just her boyfriend, but also her nanny and has to know of her whereabouts 24/7 and monitor her addiction as well as be her boyfriend.

            This coworker is no longer OP4’s BFF. She is a former friend (for whatever reason), and is no longer privy to the intricacies of OP4’s interpersonal relationships, let alone her romantic relationship. She no longer gets to play the “Concerned Friend Looking Out For OP4’s Wellbeing”.

            She is ConcernTrolling and looking for both gossip and trying to sabotage OP4’s relationship, recovery and general wellbeing. How? By calling the boyfriend (without being asked and without rational cause), she is inserting doubt into the boyfriend’s head about both OP4’s recovery and her whereabouts, thus creating suspicion, worry and anger. If the coworker tries to lie or play it off as “I’m only doing this for your own good” or lies and says that Boyfriend wanted this, then it undermines Boyfriend and sows more doubt. It also poisons the work atmosphere and puts OP4 on rocky ground.
            All of these things can create the perfect storm for a relapse.
            Coworker is toxic and isn’t looking out for OP4. Coworker is drama and needs to be shut out. Boyfriend needs to shut her down and block her. Management needs to put their foot down and tell her unequivocally that she is no longer to report any coworker’s actions to anyone outside of management. (I’d even go so far as to say that reporting coworker movements is tantamount to stalking, or helping others stalk)

          2. Annoyed*

            This would piss me off in a hot second.

            First it’s none of the coworker’s business. It’s also not the boyfriend’s business. He’s not her father and even if he *was* OP is a grown adult so it’s not her father’s business either.

            That’s the hat trick of “Coworker needs to step off.”

            1. Susie Q*

              It is the coworker’s business. A coworker leaving early impacts other coworkers, excused or not.

        2. Cyrus*

          I assume OP is leaving early generally for innocuous reasons. She says sometimes they’re overstaffed. I assume she’s running errands or just going home early with the extra free time. I assume Ex-BFF thinks she’s going to indulge whatever that addiction is. Maybe she’s tattling for the fun of getting OP in trouble, maybe she thinks she’s being helpful (but is doing it in a way that’s nosy and treats OP like a child).

    4. TIFF*

      We don’t even know if he is receptive or if she’s sending a message and he isn’t responding.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        We also don’t know how LW knows–does the coworker tell her, or does the boyfriend tell her?

        I agree that this is a boyfriend problem masquerading as a coworker problem. The second time it happened he should have laid down the “Get a life and stop police stating LW” take on her ‘help’, and the third time blocked or started ignoring her number.

        1. EPLawyer*

          This is the solution. The boyfriend needs to tell the EX-Friend to not contact him, period. LW should not say anything. The EX-friend is trying to get a reaction out of LW. If you ignore it and the boyfriend shuts it down, there will be nothing for the EX-Friend to push back against us.

          If this person moves to something else work related, then tell your boss. But until then, handle it on the personal level.

        2. Parenthetically*

          Yyyyyep. Coworker is being petty and ridiculous, but BF is the one who ultimately has to set the boundary here.

          1. Blue Eagle*

            Question for OP – have you asked co-worker why he is doing that? Secondly, have you asked him to stop doing it?

            These two things seem to me to be the first steps and I didn’t notice in your letter that you already did them.

        3. EddieSherbert*


          At the very least, your BF better have asked her to stop by now if she does this regularly! I’d be asking HIM why he is still talking to her. Your don’t really get an opinion in whatever weirdness a random coworker/ex-friend is doing. You DO get one with your boyfriend.

          1. Jadelyn*

            Eh, I’m going to gently push back a bit on the idea that you don’t get an opinion on weirdness an ex-friend is doing, when that “weirdness” amounts to intrusive, nosy, busybody, boundary-smashing, borderline stalkery behavior interfering directly in your life and relationship. You definitely DO get an opinion on something like that.

            1. EddieSherbert*

              True, but she doesn’t have to care about or acknowledge your opinion. (in theory) your partner does :)

              1. Jadelyn*

                Yeah I still don’t buy that, either. At the point at which your behavior is actively affecting someone else, that someone gets to have an opinion about it, and while it’s not as heavily expected as within an intimate relationship, there’s still a certain amount of social contract expectation that you should care, at least somewhat, about other people’s opinions about what you’re doing to them, specifically.

                Plus, add on the coworkers aspect, and there’s even more expectation that you’ll care about coworkers’ opinions and they’ll care about yours in order for everyone to work together successfully.

        4. BethRA*

          I think it’s both – the boyfriend needs to shut the busybody down, but from the sound of it, she’d probably find other ways to insert herself.

        5. Jadelyn*

          I disagree that this is all or even primarily a “boyfriend problem”. Does he have recourse to shut this down? Yes, and he absolutely should. But that doesn’t change the fact that OP has a coworker who is deliberately, actively interfering in their life in a really intrusive way. This isn’t an either-or; OP may have a boyfriend problem if he’s passively accepting these calls, but OP absolutely definitely has a coworker problem too.

      2. SavannahMiranda*

        It’s not spelled out but he seems to be receptive. Because if he wasn’t, this wouldn’t be a problem.

        If boyfriend was already responding “lolwut? leave me alone” then OP wouldn’t have an issue.

        Presuming the boyfriend is receptive is the only thing that explains the issue.

        At root, this sounds like a boyfriend problem. And crappy co-worker problem as well. Possibly a crappy co-worker and boyfriend problem combined. Ugh, what lovely triangulation.

        But the co-worker’s shenanigans wouldn’t work, if the boyfriend wasn’t receptive.

    5. Nita*

      LW 4 – I’m pretty mad on your behalf! If possible, I’d probably start by going to HR and asking to be assigned a seat somewhere where ex-BFF does not normally see me. Or I’d make a habit of printing out my work and taking it (and my purse) to a conference room around 3 PM… it would be glorious to wait until I see ex-BFF sneaking past my seat, give her time to tattle, and then call home from my work phone!

      Failing that, I’d burn the whole thing to the ground and find a new job, and possibly a new boyfriend.

  2. Sami*

    I love my birthday too and I’ll be 46 this year! I agree with Alison here. If she’s otherwise not hyped up about things and is mature, let it go.

    1. SS Express*

      I always take my birthday off, and I got the idea from a 40-something colleague who was very lovely but also VERY serious and professional, and would always take the day off to do something nice on her birthday.

      1. Mystery Bookworm*

        I think as your get older, birthdays can become valuable touchstones, just to remind you to check in with your values and goals, engage in some self-care. Expecting a lot from other people on your birthday is a little immature, but giving something to yourself I think is very adult.

        That said, I’ve always enjoyed working on my birthday, but then where I’ve been they’ve always done cake. And once people know it’s your birthday they tend to be a little extra nice, and occasionally share what they like about you! Which I am not to old to savour.

        1. AnitaJ*

          What an awesome comment. This is a really good way to frame birthdays. I have friends who scoff at others who make a big deal out of their birthdays as adults, but I see the value in it. There are relatively few times to just celebrate YOU as you get older, and it’s a nice time to celebrate happiness. Life is hard. If you can find joy in your birthday, I think it’s great. (Caveat: people who are obnoxiuos about it and expect every single person to shower them with praise and gifts should tone that down)

          Also, I love working on my birthday for the reasons you mentioned above. People are nice!

          1. Zona the Great*

            I admit to being a scoffer but I shall commit to changing my outlook on that. I liked her comment as well.

          2. AnnaBananna*

            Amen @ celebrating oneself. I agree. I am also one of those folks who feels like birthdays should be treated like personal holidays. Take the day off, get a massage, travel – whatever.

            I guess I don’t understand the hate for ‘nobody should have to work on their birthday’. This is basically just an unfulfilled wish statement. All of us *should* get the day off, but life isn’t fair. I’m sure the employee knows that. It’s just one of those generic sayings we say to justify taking a day off when others have to work. It’s not the end of the world, truly. If she’s saying it every day and distracting people, than that’s a different conversation. Don’t make it about the birthday.

        2. GG Two shoes*

          a couple years ago for my birthday a younger co-worker put a sheet of paper in the women’s room to add to for ‘things we like about GG 2 Shoes.’ It made my day! My coworkers added such sweet things like that I’m a good worker, or that I have nice hair, etc.

          We regularly left notes in the bathroom as a pick-me-up so this wasn’t out of the ordinary but I felt pretty loved.

      2. Batty Twerp*

        This year was the first time (in my 20-something year career) I could take my birthday off, so I was probably a little more excited and announced it more than I should.

        In my CurrentJob I find that I have to say if I’m taking time off near my hubby’s birthday, but that’s because some co-workers/managers have boundary issues and if I hadn’t said “it’s for a birthday”, the assumption would be I’m just lounging at home and can be interrupted.

        1. Tardigrade*

          This year was the first time (in my 20-something year career) I could take my birthday off

          This is the only thing I would worry about with her “no one should have to work on her birthday” comment – that other employees would like to be off on theirs but can’t for whatever reason.

          1. SarahKay*

            Yes, I wasn’t wild about the ‘no-one should have to work on her birthday’ phrase either. That’s lovely for her, but many many people really don’t have a choice but to work on their birthdays, at which point it comes off as a little entitled. Now, yes, I’d write that entitlement off to her youth, but I’d still be somewhat irked by it.

            1. Sarcastic Fringehead*

              Especially if someone mentions that they’re not taking time off and she makes a big deal about it – understanding that what’s important to you isn’t necessarily important to other people is a vital skill in workplace interactions (that said, we have no evidence from the letter that she’s doing that)

          2. Allison*

            Yeah, that should be addressed if nothing else. There are probably people who would love to take their birthdays off, but can’t, because they can’t spare the time off, or their department is swamped during that time of the year, or it’s just too much of a hassle to prepare their team for even the shortest absence so it’s ultimately not worth it. Sounds like a “must be nice” situation.

          3. NotAnotherManager!*

            Yeah, that was the comment that rubbed me wrong as well. I end up having to use a lot of my days off for kid-related things like medical appointments and teacher work days. I don’t begrudge people who want to and do take their birthday off – my husband’s job is bit more flexible, and his birthday is near a major holiday so he nearly always takes the day off, goes to one of his favorite restaurants, and generally relaxes – but it’s definitely a “nobody should!” type thing. There are also religions (Jehovah’s Witnesses, for one) that don’t celebrate birthdays, and there’s a line there to be sensitive of.

            1. Milksnake*

              Equal but opposite, there are some religions where your birthday is supposed to be your most important holiday of the year.

          4. CMart*

            Hm, I didn’t find that part offputting at all. But then, I am one of those people who take my own birthday way too seriously and have always tried to take the day off, though it’s not always been possible.

            With the limited context and tone we’re given I understood it to mean “birthdays are lovely, and in a perfect world everyone should be able to get the day off!” That is, a wishful thinking statement rather than a prescriptive one (“people who work on their birthdays are doing it wrong”).

            When people have hourly shift work and no PTO and can’t afford to not work on their birthdays, it makes me sad. When it’s the busy season and your employer can’t spare you on your birthday, that makes me sad (and as someone with a December birthday who used to work in restaurants and retail–I know that woe).

            I dunno. I didn’t see it as a “neener neener, I got mine, in your face everyone who can’t!” statement. Probably because I’ve said the same thing in the past and 100% meant it as “I’m so excited I can take the day off, birthdays are the best, everyone should be so afforded this luxury!”

            1. SarahKay*

              I quite agree that I don’t think she was meaning to gloat about it, or be mean to people who have to work, but I do still think it’s an insensitive statement to make. Yes, in a perfect world, no-one would have to work on their birthday, but this is a far from perfect world, and it just comes across as tactless to me.

            2. grey*

              I completely agree with you. She’s wishing it for everyone. I happen to also agree with her. And there are some companies out there that do give a floating PTO day so an employee can take off for their birthday.

            3. Tardigrade*

              I also doubt she’s doing it in a “neener neener” kind of way and concluding that people are wrong for working on their birthdays (nobody suggested that at all). But someone saying “I’m taking my birthday off; no one should have to work on their birthdays,” can still be twisting the knife deeper for people who wish they could but can’t.

            4. Genny*

              I agree. Of all the insensitive things a coworker can say, this one ranks pretty low (if it even makes the list). I think this falls squarely in the realm of “it only hurts you if you let”. She’s not being excited at you, she’s just being excited.

            5. Earl Grey Fae*

              Yea, a young person of the type to innocently & optimistically wish for everyone to take the day off for their birthday will come across plenty of burned-out and bitter responses across her lifetime, let her be young and excited about life today and don’t squish the ideal in her head. Our culture is terrible in granting employees very little time off, but if that changes with a younger generation, that’s a good thing. Meanwhile, the curmudgeons can smile at her remarks while they drink coffee and wait for reality to hit.

      3. Screenwriter Mom*

        I personally get a national holiday and all kinds of parades and celebrations on my birthday, because I’m so special. Also because it’s Veteran’s Day :)

          1. Rebecca in Dallas*

            About once a decade, my birthday falls on Easter! I always love it, it’s a good time to have a springtime family celebration.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          My birthday falls around President’s Day so I always get a three day weekend close to it.

          1. Blue*

            My birthday is very close to July 4th, and I always use my birthday as an excuse to turn it into a four-day weekend. But I’m not super vocal about my reason for taking time off (partly because I think some people would find it immature and partly because I don’t like being the center of attention), and since it’s a very slow time in my field and lots of people go out of town around then anyway, my birthday vacation – and my birthday itself – tends to fly under the radar.

            1. kitryan*

              I do this too- sometimes I take the whole week because it’s using 4 pto days instead of 5 and since I have late hours normally it frees me up to go to a nice birthday dinner with my family. Makes it easier to schedule.
              Lots of people are taking summer vacations with the kids or whatever so it’s usually slow for me too.
              It’s definitely not because I care so much about my birthday, it’s just convenient timing.

            2. PeanutbutterJellyTime*

              My birthday is July 2nd, my partner’s is July 4th & our anniversary is July 6th. We take the whole week off and call it BirthDays.

              1. PlainJane*

                My husband’s and son’s birthdays are both around July 4, so we usually do the same thing. BBQ time!

                1. Birthdays are the best days*

                  Awww! This is my daugheters birthday!

                  I would have chosen it before, but it turns out to be a real nice time without alot of competing things going on.

                  I am solidly team: Birthdays Should Be A Holiday.

                2. Agenda*

                  Me too! Great to meet fellow acquarian cusps! We also share a birthday with Yoko Ono and Molly Ringwald, lol!

        2. Feline*

          My birthday is New Year’s Eve. It’s a nice birthday to have because people are usually too busy celebrating other things to remember it. If no one remembers, I don’t have to get a year older, and I’m sticking to that story. :)

          1. WellRed*

            Christmas Eve birthday here and I have worked retail but mostly have it off. Everything is all decorated and lit up for my birthday.

          2. Decima Dewey*

            I have a January birthday, which means that it often gets ignored in favor of Christmas. Once in college a dorm neighbor with an April birthday was lamenting that her birthday was close to Easter that year and she’d be getting marshmallow chickies. I pointed out my birthday is always X days after Christmas.

            1. AKchic*

              My husband and my 3rd son are both New Year’s Day babies.
              Everyone is hung over on their birthdays and people generally “combine” their gift with Commercialmas and don’t tell them until their birthday.

          3. A Girl Has No Name*

            Hooray for the Christmas/New Year’s Birthdays! I’m the day after Christmas and while everyone always pretty much forgets about it (so much partying and celebrating and what not already going on), I’ve literally never had to go to school or work on my birthday, which is a really nice perk!

        3. Hello Sweetie*

          My birthday always fell at the end of finals period in college, so I celebrated by throwing out unnecessary notes and papers and packing up my dorm room to drive home. Wheee!

        4. Alex the Alchemist*

          My birthday is Earth Day, and while I don’t really get a day off, I’m glad that I have been so inspirational for people to go out and help the planet on the anniversary of my birth ;) (Also I like the “birthday” “Earth Day” rhyme)

          1. Riley*

            Sometimes my dad calls me on Earth Day to sing “Happy Earth Day to you”. I love it. (My birthday is nowhere near Earth Day.)

        5. BenAdminGeek*

          My grandfather was born on Armistice Day, so used to joke about how the whole world celebrated his birth with bells and ceasing all conflict.

        6. Pebbles*

          My last birthday was a milestone for me and it fell on a Friday, but I didn’t have any time off to take and extend the weekend a bit. However my coworker took me out for donuts in the morning, my husband took me out for lunch, and my team members spent the afternoon kidding me over IM about whether or not I was superstitious (I’m not) as it was the Friday the 13th. :)

          It was a nice birthday!

          1. Annoyed*

            My sister and a niece (steo-sister’s daughter) were both born March 24th, eleven years apart.

            As it happens Easter both if those years was March 26th so they were both born on Good Friday.

        7. Dust Bunny*

          So do I (July 4).

          My grandmother’s birthday was Hallowe’en. I’m kind of envious: Can you imagine the awesome parties??

      4. CupcakeCounter*

        I have been taking my birthday (or a very close day to it depending on work needs) off for several years now and using it to spend time with my mom and sister. We try to do it for all 3 birthdays since they are spread out over the year. We kind of do the same things for all of them. A decadent breakfast, mani/pedi, and then shopping at whichever shopping area the birthday girl prefers (we have several great malls, outlet centers, and downtown boutique areas to choose from). I will usually bring in a treat in as well. Will be 38 in a couple months and I still act like a 12 year old about it.
        My family always made a big deal about birthdays – rarely had those over the top break the bank parties but usually 2-3 different gatherings (mom’s side of the family, dad’s side of the family, and then a friends party). Now that I write it out I think we just really liked cake…

        1. TootsNYC*

          My sister schedules a bunch of medical appointments on her birthday. It’s her day to take care of herself.

          I keep trying to set things up that way.

        2. BiolGk*

          I tend to take my birthday off too – or at least a day around it. (Mine is August 30th, which generally falls very close to Labor Day Weekend.) Birthdays were always celebrated in my family growing up, and so I always view them as important holidays. You’re celebrating the person who was born on that day, and they are always worth celebrating. :)

          We also did several parties – mom’s side, dad’s side, sometimes a friends party… we, too, like cake.

    2. Lionheart26*

      I work in a middle school, and one year it just so happened that “pyjama day” fell on my birthday. I loved going to work on my birthday in my pyjamas so much that now I do it every year! (Well, I go in my sweats and a hoodie). İf you can’t stay home on your birthday, at least take home to work with you!

      1. Teapotty*

        I take my birthday off where I can but I even interviewed at a couple of places on my 24th birthday as it was convenient (My then-boyfriend took me to see a musical in the evening after traipsing around London all day after me and carrying my non-interview shoes so I still got to celebrate!). Not everyone celebrates birthdays though so it can come over as out of step if the office norm is not to make a fuss.

    3. Greg*

      I’ll turn 40 at my next birthday and, if I can, I always take the day off. That being said, I just take the day off. I don’t go around and advertise. I’m not big on celebrating. Just would rather not work on that day.

      1. Dame Judi Brunch*

        My birthday is a Saturday this year and also a milestone. I took a 4 day weekend.
        Usually the workday is really awful on my birthday (examples are major problems, computer dying beyond repair, also someone made me cry one year) I like to try and take off if possible, just to avoid the issues. It’s almost comical at this point.

        1. Just Employed Here*

          Yup, that’s why I always try to take my birthday off: colleagues may or may not know it’s your birthday, and be extra nice (although I don’t like the fuss and the attention).

          But customers and computers don’t know it’s your birthday, and I don’t want a whole lot of stress or aggravation on that day!

    4. BRR*

      Yeah I don’t think it’s an age thing, I think there are people who like birthdays a lot and people who don’t treat birthdays as a big deal.

      1. Not a Dr*

        I very much agree that the birthday thing is a personality thing, not an age thing. My boss has a child who is older than me, but was shocked I didn’t book my birthday off. I would rather bank my time off and take a week long vacation. It’s just a lifestyle thing!
        If this person is being annoying about their birthday I don’t think it’s an age thing,just a personality thing. It can still be addressed, especially if it is out of place in your office.

      2. CupcakeCounter*

        Agree – my grandfather loved birthdays and really went all out for his a few times. He even threw himself a surprise party at my house once! I was surprised to find that he had invited his brothers from the east cost to stay at my house (in Michigan) for a long weekend. I found out with 3 days to spare when my mom delivered his cake order and asked if I wanted any help getting the house ready for the big day. When I had no clue what she was talking about we realized he talked to my Aunt (who has the same name as me) about the party and not me. Surprise!

      3. Flower*

        Yeah, birthdays have never been a big deal in my family, and I tend to let it go by unnoticed most of the time (usually, if I get away with it) – or just a nice dinner out or something. I’m only a year out of undergrad.

        I did work at a summer camp for five of my birthdays, and since it was during orientation (of multiple camps), where everyone wanted to practice their birthday celebrations, I got I think three or four (once I got out of it and was so excited) over-the-top celebrations because five different groups wanted to practice. I’m told there’s a video of one of them where I look… maybe a bit enraged?

      4. stump*

        This. I mean, I just turned 30 recently and have found the whole birthday thing to be obnoxiously self-aggrandizing for the past decade or so. (And honestly wish people would stop trying to force me to celebrate my birthday. Leave me alone! Just chill out and be cool! I don’t try to force other people to not care about their own birthday, so give me the same consideration!)

      5. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yeah, birthdays have always been a big deal in my family and I’ve been having to adjust my expectations with my husband–whose family often celebrates a month late whenever they get around to it.

    5. The Other Dawn*

      Now that I’m able to, I always take my birthday off (43). I feel like I deserve to have a day for myself and if everything is covered at work and I have PTO, why not? And I feel that everyone should be able to do that, so I don’t feel like the employee’s comment is outrageous. If she harped on it more in a complaining way, then I’d likely say something to her. Otherwise, who cares?

      1. Lil Fidget*

        I agree, I’d think a manager was going a little overboard to specifically call this out to an employee, unless she’s being a lot more attention-seeking than what we’re seeing here. It’s going to seem like he has a policy against being excited and happy because that’s not “professional.”

      2. A username for this site*

        Some companies advertise “your birthday off!” as a perk, too. Perhaps this person came from one of those companies/sectors where this is a normal employee benefit, and thinks it is normal.

        1. TootsNYC*

          My sister worked for a company that always did this–she was surprised when it came up. It hadn’t been advertised to her; her boss just came up and said, “remember you have next Thursday off for your birthday.”

          She has designated it a self-care day and tries to schedule doctor appointments for then.

        2. Rhoda*

          Yes, it happens in some healthcare organisations. If you provide 24 hour care, it’s much easier to give someone their birthday off, then it is to get Christmas off work.

    6. GRA*

      I am a middle-aged woman who always tries to take my birthday off and I celebrate as much as I can! I definitely agree with the comments saying just let it go.

    7. Kittymommy*

      Ehh, I love celebrating my birthday, though I don’t take it off unless it’s close to a weekend, but I actually used to work at a place that gave birthdays off (with pay) as a perk. If she’s not forcing any celebrations in anyone else (some people don’t celebrate birthdays for religious reasons) or being uber obnoxious, I’d let it go.

      1. media monkey*

        we get paid birthday days off! I am in the UK tho, so we have more holidays overall, but it is a lovely perk!

        1. bonkerballs*

          We get paid birthdays off too. Well – I guess really it’s just a floating holiday because you don’t have to use it on your actual birthday (or for anything related to your birthday) but that’s what we call it. We get x amount of vacation for the year, plus your birthday.

        2. Anna*

          At one job we had the afternoon of our birthday off! And often your colleagues would do cake at midday just before you left. It seemed a bit unnecessary to me (I’m not that into birthdays), but overall I think people enjoyed it!

      2. TC*

        I’ve worked several places that do this — I think it’s a very lovely perk (I learned that the reason for it was because the cake routine was distracting, but still, PTO is PTO!)

      3. SophieChotek*

        That was my one thought, was she passively-aggressively hinting that the office should throw her a party (or get a present or something?) by mentioning her birthday all the time?

        If that isn’t the vibe, I’d let it go…

        I’d love my birthday off as a paid perk, but I don’t usually take my birthday off – I have limited PTO (which is combined with sick days) so I want to use them for days/vacations I really need, not just some random day in the middle of the week that happens to be my birthday…

      4. Bowl of Oranges*

        My company give does this! The only thing I don’t like about it is you get your exact birthday off with no wiggle room (though we have a generous PTO policy). If your birthday fall on a weekend, you don’t get anything.

        A previous employer gave birthdays off, but it didn’t necessarily have to be on your birthday. Just within five business days before or after, so you still got a day, even if your actual birthday was on a weekend.

    8. Amber T*

      I always take my birthday off if I can. For the most part, you just tell your team “I’ll be off on the Xth” and that’s it, no questions asked. My coworker’s first year, when I told her I’d be out on a random Thursday or Wednesday, she asked if I was doing anything fun, and I kinda sputtered and was like, “it’s my birthday,” which prompted her to announce it to the whole group. Not a big deal, I like my birthday, but my office is very much not-birthday-aware. So her proclamation “it’s her birthday!” was met with raised eyebrows and quiet and awkward “happy birthdays” to me.

      She didn’t repeat that the next year, but did (quietly) wish me a happy birthday.

    9. Allison*

      I take the day off on my birthday whenever I can, and I got the idea from my mom, who’s roughly 30 years older than me!

      I’m aware that “birthday snark” exists though, I’ve heard from plenty of people who think birthdays aren’t a big deal, initiating birthday plans or throwing yourself a party is “tacky,” etc., and I’m sure it’s because they themselves don’t really feel the need to celebrate theirs (and maybe they’re annoyed at the pressure to do so) and they’ve been dragged to way too many nights out with the over-the-top “It’s MY birthday, I’m the queen! Everything has to be perfect, and you must WORSHIP ME!” types which were just exhausting to deal with, and they’re just sort of done with it (kinda like how wedding fatigue leads people to snark all over other people’s weddings). My general philosophy is “let people enjoy things,” and these snarky people need to worry about themselves instead of crap all over people’s good time, but it’s helpful for younger people to know that they will, sadly, get judged for making a big deal out of their birthdays at work, and it’s best to keep the birthday talk to a minimum.

      1. TootsNYC*

        it’s not just that–it’s also that Official Etiquette frowns on throwing parties where you yourself are the guest of honor.

        1. T*

          Thank you! I hate these sort of things, I got invited to a woman’s only pot luck birthday party organized by the person having the birthday. She wasn’t really my friend, rather a sort of friend of my husband’s. No amount of wine would make this fun.

        2. Fred Mouse*

          Eh, that’s a regional thing. Where I live, it’s common that you organise your own birthday gatherings after you turn 21.

      2. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I have a coworker who always takes her birthday off for the opposite reason. She *hates* attention and our office tends to make a big deal about birthdays. So she’d rather not be there for hers! (Everybody is understanding, she’ll get some “happy birthday” greetings when she’s back but no big fuss like most people get.)

        1. Annoyed*

          That would have been me back in the day. I generally kept it wuiet about when it was just so people wouldnt be all “nice” to me.

          I know my staff’s birthdays and generally bring in a cake and a bunch of other “way too much sugar” stuff and order in lunch. It all goes in tge break room and people can indulge or not as they see fit including the “birthday girl” (ahem…woman).

          I give a cash bonus (percent of salary) as a gift on their actual birthday instead of on their next check so that it actually feels like a gift.

          So far everyone seems ok with the system.

    10. Lizzy May*

      I always take my birthday off. I tell people why I’m going to be out. For me, it’s just a question of getting to sleep in on my birthday and have a nice stress-free day. I don’t think it makes me immature. Some people are just into their birthdays.

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        Agree with the sleeping in and stress free day.

        After a few especially stressful and shitty birthdays at work I started taking the day off when I could. It’s one thing to have a bad day at work; it’s even worse when it’s your birthday. And now that I’m a parent, I can use a “me” day.

    11. riverbflat*

      My birthday is today!!! I’m 32 and so far I’ve always been able to take my birthday off, and sometimes (including this year) a long weekend for it :-D The first year I had a job, my then-supervisor noticed and gave me the day off even though I didn’t request it, and ever since I’ve requested it and been lucky.

      It came up, but mostly cause I made cheesecake brownies to share with my coworkers this week (though really I just like to make and share food, my birthday is just a convenient excuse XD)

      1. CM*

        Happy birthday! And I love that you celebrated at work by bringing in treats to share.

        I also take my birthday off from work whenever I can. In fact, the last straw for me at a particularly demanding job was when I was supposed to take my birthday off but ended up coming in for a client emergency — I was supposed to just be there for a half-day and was pressured into handling a DIFFERENT client emergency that made me miss my own birthday dinner with my family. I had been unhappy for a while but the next day I started job searching.

        This one seems entirely like a tone thing to me — I think you can playfully say, “Nobody should have to work on their birthday!” or you can say it in a way that seems like you’re weirdly attached to this idea and feel entitled to a certain type of birthday experience that you need to impose on your coworkers. Hard to tell from the letter.

      2. Becky*

        My coworker and friend’s birthday is today, she took half of yesterday off and all of today off. She also brought in mini key lime pies yesterday (she and I are both big bakers and often bring our bounty to share).

        I like taking my birthday off, I don’t usually do much else for my birthday, taking a day off is my celebration.

    12. Kelsi*

      Yeah, I work in an office where it’s totally normal for me (35) and my coworkers (mostly women 45+) to get very excited about our birthdays! In fact, mine is on Monday, and I’ve definitely said “just remember, I’m off Monday for my birthday” a few times this week (only when it was relevant, i.e. when discussing the timeline for a task or trying to schedule a meeting).

      I’m not sure I’d ever say “No one should have to work on their birthday” –some people don’t celebrate birthdays, some people have not-happy feelings tied to birthdays, and some people just don’t want to or aren’t able to take off!–but I definitely do talk about it a fair amount with excitement, and my coworkers do the same.

    13. starsaphire*

      Miss work on my birthday? But then I’d miss my tea party! :)

      (Yes, actual tea party, with tea pots and baked goods. It’s amazing. I’m so spoiled!)

    14. Quinalla*

      I’m not big into birthdays myself (I don’t dread them or anything, but to me they are just another day and maybe an excuse to have a delicious dessert), but I get that others definitely are very into them and try to recognize other people’s birthdays in a way I think they will appreciate. I even knew a company that as part of their holiday package gave every employee their birthday off every year. So it is not uncommon for people to be very into birthdays or even to have an expectation from another job maybe that birthdays are a day off.

    15. Rainy*

      Same–and I am also in my 40s. I think the idea that anyone over 10 doesn’t get to enjoy a birthday is silly. Common, but silly. I’m very happy to work in an office where it’s absolutely accepted to take your birthday off.

    16. JoAnna*

      I usually take my birthday off if possible, but if my birthday falls midweek, say on Tues-Thurs, I’ll usually just take that Friday off instead and take a day for myself. Sometimes my husband will also take my birthday off, if time off and work needs allow, and we’ll spend the day together sans kids. (His birthday is Christmas Eve, and we both usually have it off due to holiday time!)

  3. nnn*

    While reading #1, I got the bad, terrible, irresponsible idea of getting into his computer when he’s not looking and secretly installing that browser extension that changes the word “millennials” to “adults under 40”.

    1. sacados*

      Haha that’s where my mind went too!
      Not necessarily the secret install thing, but it could be another way to help shut this down.
      Next time, respond with something like, “You know, the definition of “Millenial” is just people born from the early 80s to early 200s — so many of them are in their mid to late thirties now! There’s a browser extension that automatically changes the word millennial to “adults under 40″ — when you think about it like that, it really drives home how silly the whole obsession with Millennials is.”

      Or, the snarkier version, anytime the coworker says something like that, just reply with “Really? Adults under 40 can’t drive a stick shift?” “Oh, so all adults under 40 are obsessed with their phones?”

      1. Someone Else*

        OP’s coworker sounds insufferable. He’s also wrong. Manual transmission is a proven auto theft deterrent for all ages.

        1. Taryn*

          Right? I’m in my early 30s with parents in their early to mid-60s. Both of them can drive a manual transmission, but my mom has a story about borrowing someone’s car in college for a trip with friends and she was the only one in the car who could drive it — because it was a manual.

          1. Glowcat*

            I also must say that manual transmission is still the norm in Europe; is that coworker going to think we’re all dumb?
            My grandma is a terrible driver, but not because she’s in her 80s and trying to drive a “millennial’s car”.

            1. ElspethGC*

              Yeah, manuals are still a huge majority in most of Europe – definitely in the UK. On the driving test, learning in an automatic means you have to retake your test in a manual to be allowed to drive one, whereas learning in a manual means you can drive both. It gives you something to think about on long boring journeys, and it really isn’t that hard to get the hang of. I can’t think of a single situation in which I’d prefer to drive automatic.

              1. Ender*

                I hate driving automatic I feel like I don’t have as much control over the car. When I’m old and feeble and start to drive like my mother I’ll switch to automatic but not before.

                1. Jadelyn*

                  THIS. I adamantly refuse to buy a car with an automatic transmission. I don’t want a computer deciding when to shift for me, or if it wants to give me a burst of torque when I need it. (I’m also not a big fan of flappy-paddle shifters like you find in high-end sports cars either, for this same reason – you’re still putting a computer between me and the transmission.) Give me a car where I, personally, directly am controlling what gear I’m in any day, where I can decide exactly when to downshift and how far to downshift in order to pass someone on the freeway, where I don’t have to brake on the freeway just to slow down a little bit but can just downshift and let the engine pull me back. There’s also a tactile feel to it that I really like – I feel numbed in an automatic. To me, that’s not driving, that’s just steering.

              2. TC*

                My husband describe’s driving my mum’s automatic as like driving a go kart, which makes me laugh every time.

              3. Le Sigh*

                I’ve only ever driven automatic and never learned manual (I should, I know). When I was in Europe I decided to drive a few places — they had tons of cheaper manuals to drive, but I opted for the more expensive automatic. Visiting a foreign country didn’t seem like the time to learn, when I had so many other things to adjust to.

                Also UK drivers are so much more polite than Americans. Or maybe I just don’t know their driving gestures well enough.

                1. Le Sigh*

                  Hard to say — memory is a little fuzzy. Curious…would that be their version of a middle finger? Something ruder?

                  Or does it mean, “Hi, yes, we can tell your American. Please just go before you keep messing up traffic even more. Sigh.”

                2. whingedrinking*

                  @ Le Sigh: it’s called the two-finger salute, and yes, it’s the equivalent of the middle finger. I work with international students and a lot of them like to flash the peace sign in pictures. It’s sweet, but sometimes I have to remind them that the way their hand faces is important…

              4. Ennigaldi*

                I have definitely been the only person in the group who knows how to drive manual on a Europe trip. It’s more fun and Ender’s right, it gives you so much more control of the car (and considering I was driving in Athens, that was extremely helpful).

                1. Jadelyn*

                  To be fair, driving a stick shift has never stopped me from doing that…you just have to pick your moments and/or get good at steering with your knee so you can hold the coffee in that hand and keep a hand free for the shifter. Or learn to shift without actually gripping the knob, just by nudging it with the back of your hand. I wouldn’t normally suggest that, but when all you’re doing is idling along in traffic going 1st-2nd-1st-2nd with the occasional jaunt up into 3rd, it works okay.

              5. Qosanchia*

                Apparently I’m a Millenial (Ithought I was Gen Y, but maybe that’s the same thing?) and I definitely learned on manual, though I took my test (in the US) on an automatic. I haven’t driven manual in 5 or 6 years, so I’d need a grace period to get back into it, but I think it is my general preference.
                I will say, having lived in Seattle for a few years, the combination of stop-and-go traffic with ridiculous hills is leaning me further and further from ever driving manual again. A bit of a shame, but it’s one less thing to distract me. There’s plenty of stimuli on these streets as is.

                1. technwine*

                  Yup, Gen Y and Millenials are the same thing! The Generation after is Generation Z. Those are the kids in high school and college now, so it really grates on me to hear people refer to their behavior with “ugh Millenials”

                  I feel like we need a giant sign that proclaims “Millenial is not a catch-all term for young people.”

              6. Annoyed*

                Hills. San Francisco…Seattle. Hills!!!

                I’ve almost always had a manual but now days choose an automatic because 1) I just don’t feel like doing the work and 2) I live in Seattle and there are more vertical streets than I have the patience to navigate these days.

                I still automatically depress the clutch-that-doesn’t-exist though because…old habits.

                If I ever again move somewhere flat (hello Las Vegas!) who can say?

                I could see me opting for a nanual for those long straight desert highway drives.

            2. Someone Else*

              My original comment said “deterrent in the US” and then I was editing for other reasons and ended up taking that bit out.

          2. JustaTech*

            My mom (a Boomer) had a story like that, as did one of my aunts (a GenXer). And I also have younger friends who preferentially drive stick.

            I keep meaning to learn to do it properly (I say I can drive stick in case of zombies) but now I’m afraid of ruining someone else’s car.

            1. Annoyed*

              Learn. Anyone that can drive can drive an automatic but if you are the only one who can drive a stick then *you* escape the zombies while everyone else gets their brains chewed.

          3. Sally*

            I had the same situation. A bunch of us were driving from NYC to Philadelphia to do a dance performance. I agreed to use my car if everyone helped with driving, and they all agreed. But when I picked them up, no one could drive a manual transmission. Aaaaargh! So I drove all the way there and all the way back. I should have checked, but it honestly didn’t occur to me. Live and learn.

            1. Annoyed*

              Nah see I would have recinded my car offer and made someone with an automatic step up before I would ever consider doing all the driving…even just one way much less round trip!

              Disclaimer: I drive only when it’s a necessity. Otherwise, screw that. Driving isn’t something I like, at all.

          1. PeanutbutterJellyTime*

            Same. I have right/left dyslexia and tried my best to learn a stick so I had a wider range of used vehicles to choose from when shopping for a farm truck. It just ain’t happening. I even resorted to having dad give me lessons, and he said ‘do the world a favor, buy an automatic’.
            My car has enough bells & whistles to keep me occupied without futzing around with basic operational capabilities. Bashing around a joystick is better left for gaming.

          2. Lynn Whitehat*

            Me neither. It has literally never come up once. I’ve been to Europe many times, but always to large cities like Berlin and Rome that have good public transportation, so no need to drive there. I have no idea why this obscure ability keeps coming up as some kind of litmus test of being a functional adult. At this point, it’s like knowing how to use an old-school wringer or sewing machine with the foot pump.

            1. Rainy*

              It’s not that obscure, as you can still buy vehicles with manual transmissions, and if you go out in the countryside in Europe there are still places where you probably need to hire a car. I was in the Loire valley a few years back now and the car hire place at the train station from Paris didn’t have any automatics.

              You can get along in life never learning to drive a stick, but there are definitely times when it helps. In grad school I was almost press-ganged for a site tour in Turkey despite not being an archaeologist because the group was short the required number of manual transmission drivers for the number of vehicles they’d have to hire. (At the last minute it turned out one–only one!–of the incoming students could drive a stick, but one more driver was enough, so I didn’t end up going, about which I still have mixed feelings as I would have enjoyed the trip if not the expense.)

          3. Pebbles*

            I’m Gen X and my mother was adamant about me not learning how to drive a manual before an automatic. Ok whatever, my parents had two cars that were manual: a Yugo and a Corvette. I refused to get behind the wheel of the Yugo, and it made sense to not jeopardize my dad’s beautiful Corvette. Once I passed my driver’s test though, then dad taught me how to drive the Corvette. It’s been a long while though and I’m not sure I remember how to do it anymore.

      2. Persimmons*

        Since automatics became the norm (which happened before I started driving), knowing how to drive a manual is the result of either dumb luck (your parents happened to have one for you to learn on) or a decent amount of spare cash (you could afford to buy a manual junker to learn on so you don’t trash the transmission on your “real” car). I don’t know how to drive a manual because I had neither of those things.

        I would hear this guy flapping his gums about driving stick and think privilege.

        1. Tardigrade*

          This. I had to work to pay for my first car, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to buy a stick that I’d be more likely to screw up and then not have a car anymore. Because I learned on my parents’ automatics.

        2. Kathy*

          When my ex and I moved in together, he insisted that I learn, and taught me how to drive his manual transmission truck just in case I ever had to take it to work or anything. So I know through circumstance. However, my brother just bought a manual (because it’s ~cool~) and my dad had to teach him how to drive it. When my dad called, hopping mad, I just about peed my pants laughing because I was thinking of the sheer privilege that my brother has, being able to spend his money on frivolous things like an expensive sports car that he doesn’t even know how to drive!

        3. NotAnotherManager!*

          Eh, I don’t really agree. You don’t have to buy a manual junker to learn how to drive one. Automatics are by far the majority of cars and have been pretty much my entire driving life (neither of my parents drove stick), and yet there was always one friend who had a manual and was willing to teach other people. Did we stall out? Yes, of course, especially on hills – but none of us every left someone’s transmission on the ground, and it’s not normal to destroy a car’s transmission learning how to drive stick. People in Europe would be in bad shape, were that the case, as manuals are still the standard over there. I had to replace the clutch on my first car eventually, but it was when it had 90K+ miles on it, and I was the third owner.

          I’m not really a fancy car person, but all of the vehicles I’ve owned have been manuals, and none have been expensive cars – an economy sedan, a Jeep, and a midline sedan. They are much harder to find nowadays, but I almost had to buy a new car last year (when someone hit me and nearly totaled my car) and there are enough to choose from in a variety of price ranges, if that’s what you want. Had I had to buy a new-to-me vehicle, it likely would have been a Honda Accord or a Subaru wagon.

          1. Mpls*

            Yeah – I wouldn’t hear “manual transmission” and think privilege. It used to be that manual transmissions were cheaper and usually got better gas mileage. So it was a more economical choice. And aside from grinding the gears a bit at first (while learning), there’s not much you are going to do to wreck the transmission in the short term – it’s long term things like riding the clutch – that are going to cause repairs.

            1. That Would be a Good Band Name*

              Manuals are still cheaper, unless you are talking about a sports car. My sister was recently looking for a low priced car and the majority in the price range (less than $4500) were manual.

              1. Kelsi*

                Might be regional. I’ve never paid more than $3500 for a car and the ones in my area and price range are largely automatic.

              2. Jadelyn*

                If you’re buying new, the base model of most basic cars (like the Civic, Yaris, etc.) is still a manual. Getting the automatic on a base model Yaris or Civic adds an extra $800 or so.

                1. J.*

                  That’s not true across the board. For a new Ford Focus about 5 years ago, it was an extra $800 for a sports model for my husband to get a standard. All of the base models started with automatic.

              3. NotAnotherManager!*

                The high-priced sports cars now typically come with paddle-shifters and no clutch, which sort of defeats the purpose, to me. My husband was looking at an older-model “fun” cars recently, and I was shocked to find out that these luxury model sports cars didn’t come in manual at all! That’s not fun!

            2. Rainy*

              Same. I bought a brand new economy sedan some years back and the cheapest option was the car with a manual transmission–even with AC (vital) it was still cheaper than the bottom of the line automatic option.

          2. Kelsi*

            Privilege or circumstance. It’s cool that you had friends who owned one, but not everyone did! My parents owned an automatic, and when I shopped for my first car, the cheapest thing we found (read: the only thing in the budget) was also an automatic.

            Which is to say, knowing how to drive one doesn’t necessarily come from privilege, but assuming EVERYONE should have the means to learn does come from privilege. Because if you don’t have friends/family who own one and are willing to let you use it to learn, you have to purchase one. And assuming you can just purchase one vs. using the family car/taking whatever you can find at the cheapest price–that’s where the privilege comes in.

            1. aebhel*

              Yeah. I do technically know how to drive stick, but I’m not very good at it because I haven’t done it in 15 years, and I’m not going to buy a car with a manual transmission that I’m going to stall on every hill between my house and my workplace for a couple of weeks when I could just as easily buy an automatic that I can drive to work without thinking about it.

            2. NotAnotherManager!*

              Again, difference of experience, rather than “privilege.” When I bought my first car, manuals were still less expensive than automatic because they were less desirable, in some cases looked down upon because you couldn’t afford the nicer, automatic car. Being able to drive stick isn’t a magic skill and not something anything should really care about unless they’re your partner on The Amazing Race. Given the need to do so, most people could learn to do it, but it’s simply not necessary most people in the US.

              I was not allowed to drive my parents’ car growing up, full stop. My friends – many of had a 10+ year-old hand-me-down from a parent or grandparent – taught me how to drive because my parents wouldn’t. When I was 21, I finally saved enough to buy my own (third-hand, had 75K on it already) car, and the manual was $500 cheaper than a similar car in an automatic, and $500 paid my insurance and gas for a year. I stalled a lot on hills at first, but it sure beat bumming rides for distances too long to walk. My Millennial sibling can also drive manual because the cars they could afford in the classifieds were manual. My Boomer mother cannot, nor can her siblings, which I only know because if we have to move cars around, I always have to do my own. I have joked about my cars being more theft-proof than others since driving manual is far less common, but it’s not age-related, which is why Older Coworker is both wrong and obnoxious to make it a generation-based put-down.

          3. Dr. Pepper*

            Another Millennial here and honestly, where I grew up it was the other way round. Unless it was a fancy sports car, the stick shifts were the older, crappier cars or trucks so if you had a stick it was either an awesome vintage Mustang or something or already a bit of a junker.

          4. WillyNilly*

            The first peer I knew to own a car I was in my 20s, and even then the vast majority of of my friends (and myself) could not afford cars. So there’s that privilege of opportunity Persimmons referred to.

          5. I’m actually a squid*

            Eh, I’m within sight of 40 and in all my years I’ve had one friend with a manual car. We only had time for one lesson so she got me to the point where I only stalled out half the time. My husband missed the lesson so I’m driving in case of a zombie apocalypse. I don’t think we’re that unusual for our suburban area – there simply aren’t many manual cars that aren’t high end sports cars here. I’ve taken every (free) opportunity to learn and that wound up being one afternoon in all my 37 years. And, again, that’s one afternoon more than most of my peer group here.

        4. Mona Lisa*

          I’m still a bit bitter that my dad chose to switch from a manual to an automatic a few years before I started driving. He always had a manual until then but knew I’d probably end up with his car. He thought it would be easier for my mom to teach me an automatic, but I really wish I’d had the opportunity to learn manual instead!

          1. Baby Fishmouth*

            My parents had a manual and an automatic when I started driving – but got so nervous about me driving they only wanted me to learn on the automatic. I didn’t insist otherwise because I found driving difficult as it was, but boy do I regret that decision! Now I don’t know anyone with a manual for me to learn on.

            1. Kat in VA*

              The car I bought has the option to drive automatic, manual hand shift, OR paddle shifters.

              Numbah One Son has learned to drive all three ways. Obviously, there’s no clutch, but it’s led to a greater understanding of how engine revs works and so forth.

              He could ride a dirtbike before he learned to drive, so the knowledge was already there, but I’ll likely be teaching my daughters to drive this car too so they can also understand upshift/downshifting and so forth

              1. Kat in VA*

                Oops, hit Enter too soon.

                I learned on a stick shift, and can also ride a motorcycle. It’s a useful skill, but not one that should be used to parse idiots/non-idiots either.

                With all that gearshifting knowledge, I’m not entirely sure I’d be competent to change a tire!

                1. Jadelyn*

                  I just did – and dang, that’s a beast. The combo shifter is definitely unique, not sure I’d like it since no clutch but still. Heck of a car.

                2. Kat in VA*

                  I love it. It’s the first new car I’ve had since a 2003 Dodge Ram which has, over the years, become quite the beater truck. I live in the DC area, so it’s not like I can actually *use* much of the horsepower, but it’s definitely a different animal from my old daily driver (bless her heart as she sits moldering in the driveway because Husband refuses to let her go…best stop now before I devolve into a rant…)

        5. Turquoisecow*

          My mom didn’t get her license until she was 19 and had saved her money to buy her own car (an automatic). Her older brothers all had manual cars, and they said “oh, I’ll teach you to drive, but don’t you dare mess up the clutch!” She couldn’t take the pressure. For the record, she was born in 1950 and therefore definitely a boomer.

        6. Birch*

          YEEPPP. I hate driving although I’m a fine driver, but I cannot (and will not learn to) drive a manual. When I learned to drive it was because I had to, and our family’s car was automatic because it was for getting around. We didn’t have the time or money to be “car people” who got to be snobby about the type of transmission in your car. It’s such a small inconsequential thing to judge people about!

        7. Allison*

          Thank you! I only know how to drive an automatic because my parents drive automatics, so that’s what I learned on, and no one felt like I needed to go out of my way to learn how to drive a manual “just in case” the skill would come in handy. I had a hard enough time learning how to drive, I failed my first test and didn’t actually get my license until I was 20, adding in learning how to shift gears manually probably would have scared me away from driving completely!

          I’m not going to argue that it’s a super useful skill. I know manuals are cheaper to buy and rent. But just because a skill is useful or good to have doesn’t mean anyone who didn’t learn it is stupid, lazy, unwilling to learn things, or all-around useless. At least in the US, driving a manual doesn’t fall under the category of skills one needs in order to function in modern, mainstream society, so I really don’t get why people are wringing their hands over the fact that most young people don’t have it. I’m much more concerned that there are 20- and 30-somethings who claim they “just can’t cook,” or “just can’t figure out” how to shop for food, do their own laundry, operate a vacuum, or clean their own bathrooms.

          1. whingedrinking*

            My eye-rolling instinct kicks in whenever I meet someone who’s old enough to have graduated from university, young enough to be familiar with the Internet, and says they can’t cook. I taught myself to swap a hard drive for an SSD last week with YouTube; you can learn to chop an onion.

        8. General Ginger*

          Yeah, I’d more think circumstance, but maybe privilege. My stepfather had a manual when I was first learning to drive — a 1994 Mazda MX-5 — and he point blank refused to let me even sit in it, let alone practice. I didn’t end up taking my driving test until I was in college. I didn’t have a car, but a buddy took me out in his beat up Trans Am, and told me not to worry about the clutch.

        9. BethRA*

          Oldly enough, lack of spare cash is the reason I CAN drive a stick – when I bought my first car, the ones with manual transmission were cheaper.

          I’ve seen that meme, and what really cracks me up is I’ve seen it shared by people that I know can’t drive stick either.

          1. Jadelyn*

            I saw a pic of someone’s crappy Jeep who had a shift pattern on their spare tire cover with “Millenial Anti-Theft Device” and honestly it just makes me want to track them down, break into their stupid Jeep, move it to the other side of the parking lot, and leave a note on the seat saying “I’m a Millenial and I drive stick, thanks.” or something like that. It’s just the wild level of smug ignorance that makes my eye twitch.

            1. MatKnifeNinja*

              Those Jeeps are so easy to steal, or at least they were.

              My brother’s friend would start them with a screw driver, and joy ride them around.

              I get tired of the Millenial squawking. The Boomers who crank about Millenials are really using the word to describe EVERYONE under 40-ish. Someone at a park was yacking about how awful *Millenials* are. The people they were talking about are high school age.

              My first car was a 1972 Impala. My next drive was a D-50 Ram which was a stick. Who cares? I don’t get the huge badge of honor for driving a stick.

              The badge of honor goes to the person who can unjam/revive the printer after my older coworker goes to print and FUBURs it.

              I also feel bad for digital natives who get treated as the office personal IT/all things electronic help, when you are just there to answer phones.

        10. Pandop*

          Nearly everyone in the UK learns to drive on a manual, and I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone trashing a gear box as a learner – and a lot of people are taught by their parents/have extra practice with them on top of regular driving lessons. No one even considers it an issue.

        11. Anonymeece*

          Opposite for me – manual transmissions are usually significantly cheaper than automatic transmissions (at least where I’m at). When I bought my first car, my brother actually had to drive it home! He taught me how to drive it, and now I only drive manual.

          For me, having an automatic car was always a sign of privilege.

        12. ket*

          All my life manuals have been cheaper and had better gas mileage, and if you only had a few k to spend on something reliable, driving manual would have been very important to allow you decent options. I’ve never heard of someone buying a manual to learn on! Why would you have to do that?

          I’ve never paid more than $7k for a car and they’ve always been manual. Things may be different in different regions of the world, who knows.

        13. Annoyed*

          I got my first license in 1979 and automatics were “default” by then. Nevertheless I’ve had way more sticks than autos over the years. Not intentionally per se, it just worked out that way. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      3. EddieSherbert*

        I always get a laugh with the “cell phones + millennial stereotypes” because my 60 year old mother is phone-obsessed and has been most of my life. She can’t sit through a full meal without texting her buddies on her phone. I had to yell at her **several** times about texting and driving (thank goodness she doesn’t do that anymore). She knows “text speak” I don’t, introduced me to ‘Instagram’ and ‘Bitmoji,’ and always HAS to have the latest iPhone…

        1. A username for this site*


          Some of my coworkers with the worst cell phone etiquette were late boomers (55+). It’s like they have The Phone Must Be Answered ingrained in their head from the days before call ID and voicemail, and they’ll answer it anywhere even if it’s ridiculous.

          1. Rebecca in Dallas*

            And if they’re anything like my parents, the will SHOUT INTO THE PHONE!!! Reception is much better now than it was when cell phones were first readily available. But maybe their hearing gets worse. :/

        2. JustaTech*

          I (millennial) was out to dinner once and observed that the only table in the restaurant (ours included) where no one was touching their phones was the table of teens, who had neatly piled their phones in the middle of the table.

        3. Lavender Menace*

          I also just don’t get it. I’m a 32-year-old millennial and I didn’t get my first cell phone until college. The first smartphones weren’t widely used by anyone besides business folks until I was in graduate school. Most of the phone apps that people use now (Instagram; Snapchat; Twitter) were invented in my adulthood. SO this idea that “millennials grew up with a smartphone in their hand” is mindboggling to me. I grew up on BB forums and LiveJournal.

        4. Anxa*

          I’m pretty firmly a Millennial, early 30s, and I’ve never owned a smartphone or anything other than a basic flipphone. But my boomer mom is on her 2nd or 3rd iPhone.

      4. RJ the Newbie*

        What really irritates me about all this is when people of my Generation (Gen X) do this. We took endless amounts of criticism back when we were the focus generation of discussion. People who do this to other generations after enduring it themselves really need to stop. Blanket statements and assumptions are illogical and break down communications. Plus they are very belittling and annoying.

        1. Twig*

          Yeah! This! I remember when GenX was the “slacker” generation.

          Whenever someone complains about “millenials”. I’m tempted to mention this. In fact, I think I will going forward. “yeah, they’re almost as bad as those damn GenX slackers!”

        2. DeeGeeP*

          Right? As a fellow Gen X-er, I can’t even begin to count the number of times a Baby Boomer told me as a teenager or young adult to “turn off the Nintendo”, “stop watching that MTV”, “pull up your damn pants”, or “stop listening to [insert offensive form of music]”.

          1. twig*

            I work at a university — I love telling our student workers (who are now post millenial, I guess?) about how Gen X was the reviled generation in my youth and that it happens to every generation. “genx” or “millenial” is just short hand for “young and figuring out life.”

            Now that I think about it — what is up with so-called “adults” complaining about younger — less experienced folks not having the experience and knowledge of their elders? It’s not like there’s a “how to be a grown-up” manual or a time machine that will instill extra years of experience available to all youths….

            1. Nanani*

              I figure it’s one or both of: hazing, like “I had to get ridiculed so you do too”, and general lack of compassion/memory of how being young was.

              Lots of people like to kick down if they can get away with it.

            2. SavannahMiranda*

              It’s backlash from the so-called adults against our youth-obsessed and youth-worshiping culture, against young people coming into the workplace with new ideas and new energy, and against the encroaching horizon of feeling obsolete instead of still feeling like the young isht-kickers they once were.

              There’s something wacky about human psychology where we never really feel as old as we are, everyone still thinks they’re about 25 years old. Even 80 year olds attest to this sometimes. Mentally we don’t *think* we’re any older than our salad days.

              Except when we come in contact with the truly young and energetic and with-it. Then we feel old. Then we feel our mortality. We remember when we were with it, and know that we aren’t anymore, and that our consumption-driven, advertising centered society no longer revolves around us and our people. Then we feel fear. Then we feel rage. And then we engage in backlash. We trash talk.

              It’s really older adults lashing back against themselves, their own obsolete dreams, the emptiness that is at the center of our youth-obsessed culture, and the inevitable losses and disappointments that are life itself.

              People who do this are sad sacks, as most bitter people are. Not clever. Not cunning. Not cute. Not funny. Not ascerbic. Not perceptive. Not witty.

              The trope used to be an old sad sack sitting on a barstool and talking about the way things used to be back in ‘Nam or back at Woodstock. It was the culturally universal image of the adult who couldn’t move on. Now, it’s the adult whining about Millennials. It really just makes them look like fools.

              1. whingedrinking*

                My theory is that when you’re young, you’re sure that you’re going to accomplish everything, because you – or your generation, if you’re more socially-conscious – are uniquely amazing. When it becomes apparent that you’re probably going to have a reasonably ordinary life, as most people do, you can still cling to the hope that you’ll raise a uniquely amazing kid, for which you’ll get the credit. Then they grow up and probably turn out to be pretty ordinary too, and now you’re mad because whatever you were expecting them/their age cohort to do, it didn’t manifest and you’ve lost your last chance. So rather than admit that maybe you’re not terribly exceptional, you turn that frustration on “kids these days” for squandering everything you tried to give them.
                And that’s how a think piece is born.

              2. Lavender Menace*

                I was having a conversation with one of my students once, when I was a graduate student (so mid-to-late-20s). He was a junior in college, so maybe around 19 or 20. He was concerned about himself because he still felt so young, and he wasn’t sure when feeling Like An Adult was supposed to kick in.

                I told him that there was never any one day that you wake up feeling Like An Adult, and that there were still some days that I woke up and just wanted to fuck around the Internet or play video games and eat cereal for dinner. I have friends my age with children who said the same thing: Having a kid didn’t automatically make them feel more adult. They’d tell me they’d sometimes stare at their kid and wonder that anyone allowed them to take care of a small person, lol.

                I will always remember the look of relief on his face. (And like 7 years later I still feel the same way. I do feel more adult now than I did at 27, but that was a gradual process…and I had cake for breakfast, so you be the judge.)

        3. Rebecca in Dallas*

          And don’t forget that Baby Boomers were once told by their parents to “Turn off that rock & roll! Elvis’ hip thrusting is pure filth!” It’s almost like every generation thinks the next one is the worst so far. :)

          1. Socrates*

            “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

        4. Dr. Pepper*

          Except the “kids these days” complaining goes back to the days of Socrates and probably long before that. The world changes, and people don’t like it. As long as there are humans on the planet, there will be “kids these days” complaints. With the internet, we just see the volume of the complaining in real time.

      5. TootsNYC*

        I would just reply, every time, “Please don’t include me in these things anymore; I’m really not interested.” Cut-and-paste.

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        To let everyone in on the joke, there’s a chrome extension that changes all mentions of millennials to “snake people” Google it for more info if you want. It’s pretty funny.

      2. Not quite a millenial*

        It also changes other things, so while I recognize ‘snake people’ immediately, sometimes I am reading an article and I have to ask myself “What the heck is the Time of Shedding and Cold Rocks?”

    2. Not Today Satan*

      It cracks me up how over the years, according to so many people millennials are perpetually 20-25.

      1. Snark*

        I was born in 1983. Technically millennial, though I claim allegiance to the Oregon Trail Generation interstitial cohort. I’m a mid-career professional with creaky shoulders, a four year old kid, and a sensible station wagon. My hairline has shifted back a notch and my beard is gray on the chin. I am not, not not not, a 22 year old who takes selfies.

        1. GG Two shoes*

          I’ve often said that the most millennial thing someone can say is ‘I’m not a millennial!’ ;)

          So many of my friends try to say that aren’t; they are different, special, etc. etc. It’s just about when we are born, no more, no less.

          1. Wednesday of this week*

            +1. Proud 36-year-old millennial here. If it’s an empty label, why do we need to distance ourselves from it? I think it’s more productive to clarify who IS a millennial than who claims not to be.

            1. FaintlyMacabre*

              I’m in the same age range as Snark, and grew up with the label “Generation Y.” And mid-stream someone wants to switch it to Millenial? Get off my lawn! I already had a label!

              That being said, having lived with a Gen Xer ex who sounded like a think piece on all the shortcomings of Millenials (fun fun funnity fun not) I do think the people who are most invested in calling Millenials special snowflakes are ones who actually act like special snowflakes but of course don’t recognize it about themselves.

            2. Snark*

              I think, on further reflection, that there are salient differences at work here, and maybe millennial is a bad catchall. I think there are salient differences at work here, and I think it boils down to when you got access to the internet (was it when you were in grade or middle school, or high school/college?) and when social media and smartphones entered your life. I got through college with the internet but without FB/Twitter in my life and without a smartphone capable of texting. That was a very, very different experience from someone who entered college when FB was a thing and with a smartphone.

              1. Wednesday of this week*

                Those things are true of me as well. I still think it’s a reasonable category to put us all in, and don’t feel mis-identified. I can easily clarify to people that I got my first cell phone at age 22 and joined Facebook around age 26. Again, I think it’s more helpful in correcting stereotypes to say “well I’m a ‘millennial’ and…” than that I’m not a millennial, or am somehow substantively different.

                1. RebeccaNoraBunch*

                  @Wednesday, I was born at the tail end of 82 and I got my first cell phone at 21 and Facebook at 26! I was actually the earliest adopter of a cell phone in my family – I researched one and bought one for myself because I studied abroad and EVERYONE was texting in the UK in 2004. My family got them a few months later. My little sister, born in 1990, got the benefit of having a cell phone in high school on my parents’ family plan. I did not.

                  We had the internet at home when I was in high school and we had a computer from the time I was in elementary school – and we lived in an extremely rural area in Pennsylvania. I definitely felt like an early adopter for my area.

                  Now I’m 35, early-mid-career (thanks, 2008 recession when I just finished my graduate degree and had to temp for 3 years), and have purple in my red hair and no station wagon. I’m also in better shape than I was 10 years ago, and I feel…not 25…but about 28. Definitely not approaching middle age! I’m happy to be identified as a Millennial. But I don’t have kids, so that might be it. ;)

              2. General Ginger*

                I’m similarly on the cusp (1981), and I like the Oregon Trail Gen best. I got through college without Facebook, without Twitter, without a cell phone. Two of the best days of my teenage years were the day we got a second phone line (my parents both needed simultaneous internet and phone access for work), and the day we upgraded from a 28.8 modem to a 33.6, and then to a 56. The “coolest kids” in my high school had beepers. I don’t think it’s a very comparable experience to folks who started college with a smartphone.

                1. Anxa*

                  I don’t think the Oregon Trail Gen makes a lot of sense, because the name suggests it covers people who plaid a lot of OT growing up, but a lot of non-cusp Millennials played just as much OT.

              3. Dr. Pepper*

                Possibly. I’m an older Millenial and while I had fb in college (when it was new and exciting), I didn’t get a smartphone until I was well into working, and even then I only got it because my boss had one and would text/email me at all hours and be dumbfounded when I didn’t get back to him immediately. My job involved a lot of field work so computer access was pretty limited.

              4. Quinalla*

                Yup, by most year ranges, I’m technical Gen X, but since I was born in 1979, I really feel like I’m between Gen X and Gen Y/Millennials. Gen X are the folks who didn’t grow up when the internet was becoming a thing, but Millennials are after internet and cell phones became mainstream. I played on BBS and browsed the web with Lynx and other text based browsers back in the day. At my internships, I showed everyone how to browse the web, use a computer, etc. and was using Google way, way before it was cool and then duh google it. The popularity and mainstream-ness of reddit still amazes me. Mac vs. PC :) Atari 2600, BBS then EQ, Diablo, and yes Oregon Trail for sure. I really feel like there is a small window of a generation that has never been captured adequately that grew up and witnessed the vast transformation of the internet, cell phones, video games (remember when they were evil, satanic, etc. like Rock Music before them?) etc. and does not really fit with Gen X or Millennials.
                I do think that some of the more recent talk about Millennials is that the older generations are looking at demographics of their companies and projections and realizing how many Millennials are going to be their employees and freaking out a bit since their are so many Millennials. There were grumblings about Gen X, but that generation is small numbers-wise, so mostly Gen X fell in line with older generations. Millennials are outnumbering everyone else very soon :)

                1. Trout 'Waver*

                  I was born within a year of you and feel the same way. I remember when AOL got the WWW and how cool that was. I remember teaching my dad how to run a boolean search when he replaced his law library with a single CD. And BBS’s, Number Munchers, racking up a $200 phone bill playing Warcraft over a modem, and the ubiquitous Apple II(e).

                  Being a kid while people were trying to figure out what the internet was and what you could do with it was exciting and defining. GenX’ers built the thing. Millennials grew up with it. But there’s a narrow slice of a generation for which the internet was a wild undefined frontier when they were coming of age.

                  And yes, Oregon Trail defines it. It was too simple for anyone but kids in the late 80’s, but kids that were born later had much cooler and engaging games. And because it was educational software and promoted freely to teachers, every single Apple II that was in a computer lab in a school somewhere had that game.

                2. Teach*

                  Born in 1974 and I know we had a computer at home when I was in grade school – Commodore 64, then a 128! I was adept in Prodigy bulletin boards in middle school, and brought a computer to college in 1992. I installed the modem, sound card, and extra memory, if I recall correctly. I dialed into a text-based bulletin board at a different university to chat with my friend, saving all kinds of long-distance fees.
                  So, b/c I am an early adopter, I don’t fit with the rest of the Gen Xers. I really feel like more of a “digital native” like the Gen Y or millennials.

                3. Lavender Menace*

                  And on the flip side, because I was born in 1986 I often feel like I’m in the middle between Gen X and Millennials, too, even though I am a Millennial. I did in fact grow up when the Internet was becoming more of a thing, and I played Oregon Trail in elementary school on Apple computers. I remember when the Internet was a threatening, menacing thing that introduced child predators to easy prey.

              5. Nanani*

                Internet access and smartphone acquisition are NOT a neat function of age though. Family income, rural/urban divisions, country where you grew up and/or went to school and so on all play major parts.

                See 90s movies for depictions of cell phones as a “snobby rich people” thing, internet as a weird high-tech thing you had to be a govt researcher to use, and so on.

                1. Snark*

                  Sure, but there’s only so far you can parse it. There’s always going to be broad exceptions when you’re talking about events and experiences that tend to define a given cohort. It’s reasonable to say that most people born in 1982-85 or earlier did not have FB or smartphones when they were in primary schooling or of university age, and most people born after did.

              6. Delphine*

                Most of my childhood with without internet and then I had dial-up until I was 18, and no smartphone until I was 24. I was born in ’89 and am definitely considered a millennial. The experience difference has less to do with age/generation, in many cases, and more to do with privilege and access (and country). My experience was common with the folks I went to school and college with. There are certainly older millennials who had the opposite of your experience. It’s a general shared experience.

                1. GG Two shoes*

                  Definitely this. I didn’t have internet at my house when I was growing up… because I was poor. We didn’t have a computer, I bought my first cell phone when I was 17 and leaving for college. I was born in ’88 in a rural area. I am, by every definition, a millennial but the tech experience was apparently far different than many.

                  Now, by the time I got to college? Facebook was just becoming a thing and I was all about it.

                2. aebhel*

                  I mean, to some degree. But Google didn’t exist when I was in elementary school, Facebook didn’t exist when I was in high school, and modern touch-screen smartphones didn’t exist until I was out of college, so that does have an effect on when I was able to access those things, even taking into account privilege/access/country. Even the wealthiest of people my age did not have a smartphone in elementary school, because they didn’t exist.

              7. aebhel*

                I mean, that’s true of all generations, though. My FIL and his mother are both technically Boomers; she was born in 1947 and had him when she was fifteen, which really kind of puts into perspective how silly it is to group people by generational cohort, because most of them cover a 15-20 year period during which things can change A LOT.

              8. Lavender Menace*

                That’s the case with any generation, though. Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. Some of them were college-aged during events like the Summer of Love, Woodstock, Vietnam War protests and draft-card burning, the Civil Rights Movement, the women’s liberation movement, the Stonewall Riots, Beatlemania, Motown, etc., which are generally the kind of events people think of when they think of Baby Boomers (aka broad social upheaval in the United States). Others (like my own parents) were small children when those things happened.

          2. Les G*

            This. Bottom line is, folks will always love to rag on slightly younger people. “Thank God I’m from [insert generation here] and not one of those awful millenials,” or “Thank God I’m a millennial, but not one of *those* millenials.” At a certain point it’s all distinction without difference.

          3. Becky*

            Though there is not actually an official definition of what years of birth “Millennials” applies to. Generally it is early 80s to mid 90s, but in different places you’ll find different years in those ranges cited as the “Millennials”.

          4. Someone Else*

            What’s odd to me is the first time I heard the phrase “millenial” was on the news, probably 10 years ago and at the time they defined that gen as starting 1987 (not just that one news report, but the first couple of years I heard the phrase I vividly remember it starting after I was born). Since then somehow it’s crept backward to 1980? So, at least for me, a lot of “I’m not one” has more to do with “why is the timeline shifting backward?”

            I also work in data analysis and literally programmed some things to code people as different generations based on birthdate several years ago, and saw this manifest there also, where this year I was asked to change it. The goalpost moved.

        2. matcha123*

          I was also born in ’83 and proudly claim myself as a Millennial! I take selfies, but most of my photos are of things, not me. I dunno, I was never in any rush to be older than my age or anything like that…and I thought many of my peers were idiots when I was growing up.
          Facebook came out when I was in college, and I entered formal schooling 6 months to a year younger than my peers. Facebook was like…Tender with studying when it first came out.
          The internet? My friend was going to chatrooms when we were in elementary school. We played Oregon Trail and Sim City on our classroom computers. A good number of my classmates had cell phones when I was in high school (’01 grad).
          We weren’t on tablets, but the adults would get angry about Game Boy making us have shorter attention spans and decried ‘screentime’ in the form of portable video games.

          I was raised in a very poor household, below the poverty line, but regardless of one’s socioeconomic status or neighborhood, the internet has been around since the…40s?, adults have always complained about teh youth, and more and more.

          But, I digress!

        3. Jadelyn*

          I flipped when I heard the term Oregon Trail Generation for the first time, cause I’m another older Millenial – 1984. I own a home, no kids but if I’d wanted to I’d have probably a 6 or 7 year old by now, a sprinkling of grey, lower back pain and knees that pop more than they should. (I actually do take selfies though.)

          Have you heard that there’s a handheld Oregon Trail game available now? It’s like, old silver-brick Gameboy size, little color screen, I want one so bad. It plays what looks like actual original Oregon Trail, not the later versions.

        4. Riley*

          @ Snark
          Well a 22-year-old is also not the average Millennial. As discussed above, Millennial is not a catch-all term for “kids these days”. Today’s 22 year olds are actually right on the cusp of the Millennial/Gen-Z generations, so of course there’s going to be a difference between them and someone who’s a Gen-X/Millennial cusp. The average Millennial is 30.

        5. SavannahMiranda*

          You probably know this but there’s a term for us. We’re the Xennials. Those riding the line of the Gen X and Millennials.

          Supposedly the definition is that we had an analog childhood and a digital teen and college experience. We moved from tapes to CDs. From radio to MP3s to iTunes. From VHS to DVD to online streaming. From going with a date to the movies to Netflix and chill.

          And obvs the Oregon Trail. That too.

      2. Lil Fidget*

        we’re like kids in a sitcom, perpetually in sophomore year of high school: millennials have been entry level employees for the last 20 years …

        1. Youth*

          Yeah, I wrote some training for a client with teenage employees. They kept talking about how we needed to write for the “Millenials” who were in fact from Generation Z.

      3. Kelsi*

        It’s because people forget that it’s not a static category. Yes, we were 20-25….a decade ago! That’s how generations work…. “millenials” doesn’t mean “the young people,” it means a specific generation.

        Like, I know people realize it when you spell it out, but I think they just haven’t really thought about it since they first heard the term.

      4. TootsNYC*

        yeah, SO many people use “millennials” to mean “kids these days.”

        That might be another way to handle this: Interrupt him when he says “millennials” to say, “Oh, you mean ‘kids these days’?”

        Email back with the sentence, “by ‘millennials,’ you mean ‘kids these days’?”

    3. Lissa*

      The key word there is “adults”!! I’ve been seeing “millennials” complaints about fifteen year olds, and even six year olds, on the internet lately, and it’s so annoying to me. I’m 23. My brother is 21. We both identify pretty strongly as millennials and I recognize other people in our age group as millennials. Anyone under 21 though? Suddenly there’s a generation gap between me and a 20yo, and I’m increasingly weirded out by feeling it widen. One of my good friends is 18, and the millennial/Gen-Z gap has become a huge joke because I just legitimately do not get her the way I get people closer to my age. Gen-Z is getting lost in all the millennial hate, while millennials are suffering from being lumped in with the next generation. It’s so strange.

    4. Trig*

      There was a browser extension that replaced “millenials” with “lizard people”. That and the one that replaced “the Cloud” with “my butt” gave me some good laughs. (Now that everything I do at work has to do with ‘the cloud’, I can’t really have that one anymore, but for a while there, I got to chuckle when reading about the “enterprise-ready butt”.)

    5. Decima Dewey*

      OP #1 said they don’t think millennial trashing talking coworker (MTTC) is targeting them specifically, but I suspect MTTC is. Emailing a video to OP and another worker of a similar age is further evidence of that.

    6. JoAnna*

      I’m one of the oldest millennials (age 37, born at the end of 1980) and I drive a stick shift. I learned how to drive one when I was 20. So idiot co-worker can put that in his pipe and smoke it.

  4. Swing low*

    OP1 – my sympathies. My (older) boss had once invited some of the office to his annual staff lunch. It was meant to be like an informal year end review, and consisted of one or two millennial staff and four older senior execs. Somehow, once the sporadic “how are you doing” chit chats ended, the lunch devolved into a huge “millennials are bad at careers and easily bruised strawberries (a Chinese slang with similar millennial bashing connotation)”. It was definitely the most awkward lunch I was ever in, esp for us junior staff.

    1. Undine*

      But who would want to be a hard-to-bruise strawberry? Completely inedible and of no interest to anyone.

    2. SamPassingThrough*

      Wait. I have a sneaky suspicion that you and I are from the same cultural background.

      I’ve heard all the “strawberries” and “glass-heart” (i.e. fragile in the feelings) and “princesses” among other millennial-targeting names multiple times in the office during my first year at work – and they’re not always directed towards me!

      If anything, working in an office has taught me how to screen out the nasty talk and smile through prejudiced languages. Each generation judges the next (and sometimes the previous) and the best way to deal is to stay above it all and not engage.

      1. schnauzerfan*

        Yes. This. If I had a quarter for every nasty thing a gen-xer, millennial, or whatever the next group is said about boomers… I could retire. But sadly no dice.

    3. Nye*

      As a side note, I am fascinated by the “strawberry” insult. I’ve never heard it before, but it’s perfectly clear what’s intended – and also interesting that it’s such a close parallel to the American “snowflakes” insult.

      1. pleaset*

        Just call someone a “pancake.” I think that’s used in Dutch or Flemish to mean loser in general. Very versatile.

    4. Gazebo Slayer*

      Senior execs talking nastily about younger generations in front of all of their own younger, much lower-paid staff is so gross.

    5. CTT*

      When I was a summer associate at one firm, we had a lunch with the managing shareholder and weren’t told what it would be about; get in there and he says “Let’s talk about how millenials need to adjust to the working world!” All my fellow summers were falling over themselves to talk about how awful our generation was, I mostly stayed quiet and waited for death to come. What is with the sneak attack lunches?!

    6. M. Albertine*

      I wonder how far a comment like “You know when you’re talking about Millennials, you’re talking about *me*?” will go toward shutting it down. It’s one thing to disparage a group of people, it’s another to disparage the person sitting right next to you.

      1. M. Albertine*

        To clarify, it’s NOT different, but it unfortunately does make a difference in the behavior of people making generalizations.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        I assumed based on the email sent specifically to OP and one other person that they are aware they are talking about OP and that they feel like it is some good-natured teasing when really it’s just obnoxious.

    7. Coyote Tango*

      My MIL is like this. She randomly posted a Facebook status about how milennials only pick vacations where they can take selfies, and that’s why they’re always leaving their babies in their cars during the hot weather? I don’t even follow the train of thought on that.

    8. anon.*

      I think I’d also be careful about pointing out someone is older as part of the description. Model the behaviors you want to see in others, as much as is possible.

    9. Trig*

      Ughhh we had a division-wide ALL HANDS with 100’s of people attending. One of the topics of discussion was net neutrality (our company is anti, cause we provide services to the CSPs who stand to make a lot of money on throttling access). The director was scoffing about how millenials like his kids are all fiery about it, but they just don’t *understand*, they just need it *explained to them* that not everyone gets a participation ribbon, ho ho ho, isn’t that funny?

      His kids are late teens, but I’d say a good portion of the employees in the audience were millenials. It was not a good look, and definitely didn’t inspire my confidence in him.

    10. Toonsesthecat*

      Complaints about millennial often have a gender component. Older upper management tends to skew male. The younger generations are more evenly mixed in the workplace. And a large number of millennials have not yet started families. The push for better maternity leave, the calling out of harassment, the recognition of unfair pay based on gender/race — while the corrections for these will create a better work environment for all, young women are seen as receiving the biggest benefits (only because they bear the brunt of unfair practices) which causes those older workers to hate on the ‘crybaby’ millennials. Snowflakes who can’t take a joke, and who are easily offended (both are also complaints often made of women).

      1. TardyTardis*

        Let’s hope that future generations have more old women in the mix, too–there were a lot of younger women with me when I started out, and yet somehow they never ended up getting promoted. Old women are witches, you know, at least that’s what we’re told in the US…

  5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#5, I share your curmudgeonliness. Saying things like “you know I won’t be in on Tuesday” and “no one should have to work on their birthday” are… extra, which is off-putting.

    I am all for people taking the day off and having a “treat yo’self” day or trip or extravaganza. It’s not the celebration or day off that’s a problem—it’s a combination of how much she’s talking about it paired with the idea that anyone should remember or care about how she wants to celebrate her birthday on a day she’s taking off. It’s one thing to have someone ask if you have birthday plans and then excitedly share that you’re going to see Beyonce, but it’s another thing to keep bringing up your birthday plans when no one asked.

    I agree with Alison that this may be a bite-your-tongue-and-roll-your-eyes situation, but I also think it’s ok to take her aside and let her know that she may be undermining her professional image by being so vocal about reminding others that she’s celebrating her birthday.

    1. SignalLost*

      If nothing else, she may be putting people in the position of feeling like she wants a card or a gift. I haven’t run into this professionally, but a couple members of my family are this way about their birthdays, and are why we no longer celebrate family birthdays. They very definitely mention their birthdays constantly as a gift-grab, but after you spend $50 x 2 on people you have no functional relationship with and in return get a bag of radishes as a joint gift, it’s hard to listen to people go on and on and endlessly on about their birthday.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Wait, did they legit give you a bag of radishes?? (The visual is so excellent and strange that it sounds like it could be real.)

        1. Nom Nom*

          I got a cucumber once from branch of family we try to pretend aren’t related who bombard us with birthday and Christmas present requests in advance. They showed up unannounced with ridiculous amounts of alcohol they refused to share and one prickly cucumber. I spent weeks trying to find out which member of the family I must have offended badly enough they tipped off cucumber giver. My brother eventually confessed he had accidentally dropped it into a conversation and didn’t know how to tell me (without dire consequences to himself :)

        2. WannaAlp*

          I legit got a string of onions once from a relative and I was absolutely delighted with it!

          (Onions are always useful and they were delightfully plaited – just needed a French beret to complete the picture!)

          1. RJ the Newbie*

            Now I really, really want a big bowl of caramelized onions with rosemary-garlic potatoes. My dad’s side of the family is of French origin (Provencal to be exact). Give us onions and give us happiness!

        3. SignalLost*

          I am absolutely not at all joking. That is completely what happened. Every few years my sister wonders why we aren’t close. Because she’s an impenetrably self-centered sociopath does not seem to occur to her. (The radishes thing is mild in comparison to how she treats our other sisters.)

          1. The Original K.*

            Radishes. Good grief. Every time we get radishes in the CSA I’m like “Who needs this many radishes?” Food can be a wonderful gift, but radishes??

            1. bearing*

              Slice thinly and make into a salad with peeled, thinly sliced oranges. Squeeze a bit of extra orange juice over the salad and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Salt and just a bit of pepper.

      2. MK*

        Frankly, my first thought on reading the letter was that she was angling for the workplace to acknowledge her birthday in some way.

        1. Kat in VA*

          I worked with someone who celebrated her birthday MONTH. The whole MONTH was supposed to be “Happy birthday month!” or some nonsense.

          I mean, cube decorated with BIRTHDAY GIRL streamers, balloons, the whole deal. For a month.

          I get it. You’re glad you were born. I’m not going to say happy birthDAY every day of the MONTH you were born. *grumbles*

        2. Kelsi*

          I mean…from someone who actually talks about her birthday this way, I can tell you she’s probably not.

          I enjoy my birthday. I get along well with my coworkers, and we like to mention things we are excited about. To me, talking excitedly about my upcoming birthday at work is no different from my coworker talking excitedly about her upcoming trip to Yellowstone. Neither of us is asking for any “official” acknowledgement or gifts…we’re just sharing parts of our lives.

          1. Lil Fidget*

            Yeah, to me, bringing this up to the employee as a problem is a bit like coming in as the Fun Police. “You’re not allowed to be excited about something, that’s not professional!” If she were actually angling for gifts or acknowledgement beyond whatever the company does or doesn’t do, that would be different, but I don’t really see any evidence of that at this point. I would be quite surprised if a manager thought this was really worth bringing to my attention.

          2. That Would be a Good Band Name*

            I’m with you on this. I’m not normally excited for my birthday, but a LOT of people are. And I know that I mentioned my 40th more than anyone ever should have because I was so excited for the trip we had planned. I didn’t need anyone to acknowledge it and definitely wasn’t looking for gifts.

      3. EvilQueenRegina*

        I have one of those relatives. He goes on so much about wanting lots of birthday and Christmas presents that I call him Dudley Dursley to his face. It’s even worse to do it in work.

      4. Alton*

        I was thinking that, too. Bringing it up often can come across like hinting.

        A more benign possibility is that if she’s new to the professional world, she may still be getting a feel for how to manage her vacation time and feels like she needs to justify it or remind people. I think it does sound like she’s placing a lot of importance on her birthday that’s a little weird to express at work, but it’s possible that there’s an element of worrying about people forgetting that she’s going to be gone, especially if she’s in a more junior role.

        1. TC*

          when my co-worker was new, she asked if she had to explain why she was going to be away while taking PTO (like she she have to state where she was vacationing) and was surprised when I said just say you’re not going to be here. I think there’s a justification kind of thing, you don’t want to be seen as slacking off.

      5. EPLawyer*

        This is what I thought exactly. She is dropping heavy hints for some kind of office celebration. A polite, we are aware you are taking the day off, enjoy is necessary here. If she still doesn’t get the hint, just tell her firmly to stop discussing her day off.

    2. BookishMiss*

      I just got out of training, and one of my fellow newbies spent the full week before her birthday pouting and whining that she had to work, couldn’t take it off, never works her birthday… It, paired with a bunch of other stuff, definitely impacted people’s opinion of her professionalism etc.

      I personally loathe my birthday, largely because people want it to be A Thing, and I firmly do not. This same co-worker promised (threatened?) that she was going to do something for my birthday and I was going to like it. Ugh.

      1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

        One of my favourite birthday work memories is when a co-worker came in and found that someone had decorated her office and the whole floor with birthday decorations. She walked around and tore down everything. My co-worker had specifically said she did not want any acknowledgement and when the elevator door opened and she was confronted with all this Yay, birthday! stuff, she reacted. For context, a work frenemy had done the organizing and the signage made specific mention of my co-worker’s age which no one had known at that time.

    3. Batty Twerp*

      I’d put “you know I won’t be in on Tuesday” and “no one should have to work on their birthday” into two very distinctly different categories.

      This very week I have used the “you know I won’t be in on Tuesday” line – not because it’s my birthday (it’s hubby’s!), but because, despite blocking it out on the calendar, my manager was still trying to book me into meetings that day, and I had to remind her that I had other plans.

      “No one should have to work on their birthday” on the other hand is a less than mature outlook. I’m guessing her birthday falls in July/August when school traditionally isn’t in session so she won’t have ever had to “work on her birthday” before? I can sympathise (early August baby), but I don’t recall having ever expressed that opinion out loud in a workplace before (except maybe when I was about to turn 18 and really, REALLY wanted to be able to take the day after my birthday off – legal drinking age is 18 here!)

      1. SignalLost*

        But “you know I won’t be in on Tuesday” isn’t the objectionable part, since it makes no reference to her birthday, or her gynecological exam, or her eviction, or her parole hearing, or any other reason that people more or less keep out of the office. Reminding colleagues that you won’t be in on a certain day isn’t inherently an attention grab. Specifying why more than once or other than in response to direct questioning is.

        1. Lucy*

          Really? I’m wondering if this a cultural difference or reflective of the AAM commentariat or what. I’ve never worked anywhere where it’d be remotely inappropriate to drop into conversation that you’ll be out on X day because it’s your birthday- or indeed because of a doctors appointment, or because a relative is in town. The other examples you give are obviously private for different reasons.

          1. SignalLost*

            I have no idea how I fit into the AAM commentariat. My opinion is that birthdays are private information because making them public is attention-seeking. Your close friends and colleagues are one thing, but telling everyone, multiple times, that it’s your birthday is never not going to read as attention (and probably gift) seeking to me. It is private information in a work context, exactly like the others I listed are. Share only with close friends.

            1. Turquoisecow*

              That’s a cultural thing. In my company, there’s actually a public list of when everyone’s birthdays are. Some departments make a big deal out of them and some don’t, but it’s hardly top secret information the way a medical condition is. Some people don’t want a big deal made on their birthdays and some do, but neither is universal, and neither is objectively wrong or right.

            2. Lil Fidget*

              It’s okay to feel this way, but I’d say it’s an idiosyncratic attitude and not something to bring up to this employee as some kind of universal rule of professionalism that she’s breaking. If she’s angling for a gift or party (this is an unkind interpreation of what we know of her behavior, IMO, but seems widespread here in the comments) I would ignore those hints unless she says something more direct, and then I would directly say that we don’t celebrate staff birthdays here.

          2. Delphine*

            I agree. I have a coworker who takes his birthday off. It’s well-known around the office that he does this every year. Were he to remind me that he had a day off because of his birthday, I’d just say, “Ah, that’s right.” It’s just a part of the conversation, not attention-seeking or inappropriate.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      My kid worked on his 17th birthday this summer. A few weeks before, he did take the day off–to go to a video game tournament. But his birthday, eh.

      1. Not a Dr*

        See I am wondering if she has always worked retail jobs where it is difficult to get any time off (managers will cut your hours to retaliate, understaffed, or just can’t afford it) and she has never had PTO before. Maybe she is just really excited to not have to work on her birthday for the first time since she was 15. We don’t know the tone, but it felt excited to me

        1. CMart*

          This last year was my first job with PTO that also did not have a busy season (or while a kid/teen, final exams) coinciding with my birthday. My daughter also turned 1, and her birthday is two days after mine.

          I couldn’t believe I was able to take a 5 day weekend (my b-day was Wednesday, hers Friday) just because there were birthdays I wanted to celebrate. I’ve always felt “no one should have to work on their birthday” but this was the first opportunity since, well, preschool that it was possible! It finally happened!

      2. Michaela Westen*

        That’s the approach I take to time off. I don’t care about my birthday, I take time off for activities I love whenever they happen to be. :)

    5. MissDisplaced*

      Eh… Saying she won’t be in because it’s her birthday kind of indicates to me she doesn’t want anything but the time off. Sort of like people loving to say they’ll be out next week because they’re taking their vacation to X and are so happybrag about it.

      I don’t know, does she think she will be called and/or expected to work on her day off or something?

    6. Allison*

      I do think it could be annoying if she’s constantly saying she won’t be there because of her birthday, but if she’s taking the day off, I don’t see the harm in reminding people she won’t be there. Unless you think she shouldn’t be taking it off in the first place, or willing to forgo that vacation day if it turns out she’s needed because the reason for it isn’t that important.

  6. JamieS*

    #1: If it’s any comfort most people who malign Millennials are usually talking about people who are teens-early 20s and sometimes up to mid-20s but rarely 30s. Still aggravating though. Also, I sympathize on your aggravation that he shared the video of the girls. I mean I find the “selfies 24/7” mindset incredibly annoying too (I’m in my 20s so not a generation thing) but even more annoying are the people who complain and complain and complain about the people who take selfies.

    #5: I’m curious about the context of her saying these things. Is she randomly going up to people and making proclamations, working it into conversations that have nothing to do with birthdays, or do her comments flow with the conversation she’s having?

    If it’s the first two, I don’t think it’d hurt to casually bring it up since even if it’s not necessarily career limiting she’s most likely aggravating some of her co-workers. If it’s the 3rd one, or you don’t know, I’d just leave it alone since bringing it up seems like making a bit too much of a deal out of her social conversations.

    1. anon today and tomorrow*

      The selfie complaining reminds me of a few years ago when a baseball announcer and a LOT of people on the internet tore into a group of girls for taking selfies during a game saying they were fake fans or should pay attention to the game instead of taking selfies (which come on, I love baseball, but there is SO MUCH DOWNTIME). Best part was that those girls turned around and said they had raised X amount of money for a charity by being at that game, or something of that nature, and basically made all the complainers shut up.

      I heartily dislike selfies, but I’m honestly tired of the sexist nature of complaining about women who take them. When women – and especially younger women – find something they love, of course people have to crucify them for it. If it’s not your thing, get over it and move on.

      1. JamieS*

        I don’t want to get off topic so I’ll drop it after this but my curiosity is piqued on the money for charity. How were they raising money for charity? Going seat to seat asking? Having people donate in exchange for pictures of them at the game? If it’s the second, why did people care about them being at the game since I’m assuming they weren’t celebrities.

        1. Hmmmmm*

          I’m not sure quite what anon today and tomorrow is referencing in terms of charity, since this article is a bit different on what it reports, but yeah, read this… it was definitely sexist, they literally had just asked people to take selfies at the game!

          Click on username link to get the article, or google “Selfie-Shaming These Sorority Girls Isn’t Funny — It Is Just One More Way Women Are Shamed For Owning Themselves.”

        2. Valkyrie*

          I don’t know how reliable this website is as a source, but here’s a link talking about it –

          I also know that a lot of those ‘famous’ photos of kids on their phones in museums or girls taking selfies at events are actually photos of kids looking information up that they had been told to find and people taking selfies and posting to social media as requested by the organisers.

          (Side note: I used to hate selfie culture too, until I realised that it’s the best way to get photos of my friends. It’s kinda weird to just take a random photo of someone, but getting a selfie together is totally acceptable)

          My go to strategy when people are being nasty about millenials is to point out that since the beginning of time people have been nasty to the generation after them, decreeing them to be the collapse of civilisation and can’t we just for once, try and break the pattern

          1. kiwimusume*

            “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” – Socrates.

            I know of one Millennial who actually Googled this on the spot and quoted it to the Millennial basher du jour to point out just how many generations have pulled this shit.

          2. Falling Diphthong*

            Recently, someone complained that a millennial ignored the 10 items or less sign, which older generations of course never dreamed of. People responded with the internet equivalent of falling over laughing.

            And sans tech cues, I have never heard a generation bash where you could tell which decade–or century, or millennium–it was written.

            1. Trout 'Waver*

              Kinda off topic, but my local grocery chain changed those lanes to “About 10 items” to get around people policing item counts in express lanes.

          3. PepperVL*

            Two more things about selfie culture:

            1. People used to spend lots of money and time posing for portraits. Selfies take a few seconds.

            2. When a loved one dies or moves away, I don’t think anyone has ever thought, “I wish I had fewer pictures of them.”

            I also used to hate selfie culture, then I realized those things as well as what you pointed out, and now it doesn’t bother me at all.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              Absolutely great advice, maybe in Ann Landers–the writer’s father died, and her kids asked for a photo, and she realized that she had almost none, and none recent. Because her dad hated having his picture taken. And the LW, too, had been avoiding photos at any family gatherings–she hated how she looked in them, it wasn’t the real her who was much thinner. But thinking of her kids wanting photos of her when she was gone, that suddenly made no sense–they weren’t going to want only images of the young woman they didn’t or barely remembered, and none taken over the past few decades. So she dove in and made sure that when she went, her mourners would have pictures of her.

              1. Roja*

                My mom and I had this same conversation after my dad died. I have mayyyybe two dozen pictures of him from all 20+ years I knew him. I told Mom in no uncertain terms I don’t care how much she doesn’t like having her picture taken, she has to suck it up every now and then so I and any future kids/grandkids have something to remember her by.

            2. NotAnotherManager!*

              I don’t really think either of those hit on the things that are annoying about selfie culture. Selfies DO only take a few minutes to snap, but people will take a bazillion of them and it’s not hard for events to turn into, “Let’s take a selfie with these three people!”, “Now, let’s take a selfie with our drinks!”, “Now, let’s take a selfie with X!”. So many people who are really into them don’t seem to be able to experience something directly but rather through the lens of the camera. The people that are really annoying are the ones taking a bazillion pictures post on social media rather than spending time with the people or experience they’re photographing. The frustrating part is the focus on photographic evidence over real experience or human connection. Well, that and the people who jump in front of your or whack you with their selfie stick trying to get the perfect picture.

              1. Le Sigh*

                I agree that the folks who only seem to watch stuff through a lens are annoying — mostly when I’m at a concert (I’m short) and can’t see as much because everyone is holding up phones at different times to take two dozen videos. BUT, I recall our parents’ generation hauled camcorders to every damn play/vacation/hs concert, etc. — so I’d argue they were living life through a lens, too.

                1. Thursday Next*

                  It’s just so much easier, and therefore more prevalent, when cameras are omnipresent (in the form of smartphones). Plus, the photos/videos themselves are distributed to a wider audience via social media, which makes them seem ubiquitous.

                  Before smartphones, there were lots of things I would forgo taking pictures of, because I couldn’t be bothered to tote around a separate (tiny!) digital camera, let alone a digital video recorder or Flip.

              2. Jadelyn*

                Alternatively, you could stop policing how people are “allowed” to experience things. Sharing selfies is one way I keep my friends who live far distant now still involved in my life, and vice versa. Is that not “real human connection” just because it’s happening in a manner that you, personally, some random person I don’t know, disapprove of?

                Just…ugh, everyone quit judging each other over something so minor.

            3. Jadelyn*

              #1 is my go-to for people complaining about The Selfies. “What, are you just mad that instead of it being restricted to rich people paying someone a lot of money to paint a portrait of them, the unwashed masses can now just take selfies and get the same effect?”

            4. MatKnifeNinja*

              I was born when dinosaurs roamed, photos were a big deal, expensive and kind of a rarefied hobby.

              I bought my own SLR at 14. Could develope B/W film, and print.

              Don’t usually take selfies, because I hate taking pictures of myself or being photographed. Much rather be on the other side of the camera. I do take selfies with all my nieces and nephews. We horse around doing silly shots, but once in a while really good picture gets taken via a selfie.

              There is a time and place for selfies. I cherish the silly selfies with my nieces and nephews more than any portrait photograph.

            5. MCMonkeyBean*

              Yeah, selfies are not a new phenomenon. It’s just easier with smartphones than when you had to hold your camera in front of you and hope everything you wanted is in the shot.

          4. Pandop*

            Yeah, a lot of museums have apps that help you navigate the museum – you are supposed to be looking at your phone sometimes.

            1. JustaTech*

              Heck, at the Louvre it’s essential! That place is huge and no paper map can show you where everything is. But the app is searchable (where is Winged Victory? She’s not called that, but over there in that giant stairwell) for almost every piece in the collection so you can actually find the stuff you want to see and not just the popular things.

              And the app has little audio guide bits on a whole bunch of pieces.

          5. Michaela Westen*

            Yes, see the 1950’s – “rock and roll is the devil’s work!” and the 1920’s – “jazz is ruining our young people!”
            and Look! We’re still here :D

        3. Baseball beauty*

          They weren’t. It came after the media furore – they were offered tickets to another game by the team as an apology, declined but donated them to a women’s shelter, then started asking for donations of money for the shelter in an effort to use the publicity to do something of value.

          1. anon today and tomorrow*

            Oh, maybe that’s what it was? It was five years ago and I just remember hearing about it word of mouth and via social media, so I probably got it wrong. Oops.

          2. Le Sigh*

            I like that even more though. Oh, you’re gonna mock us for just having fun at a game you want people to attend? Instead of going back, let’s turn it into something actually useful to help women in a bad situation, instead of being insipid jerks who whine about two women half your age who are just having a little fun. I’d argue they were far more mature than those baseball commentators.

      2. J*


        Sophia Benoit on Twitter: “You can complain all you want about women taking selfies; we aren’t the ones naming our children our own exact names.”

        1. Gazebo Slayer*


          (Aside from the ego factor, imagine the confusion… do men who name their sons Such-and-such Junior actually plan to spend much time in the kid’s presence?)

          1. Baby Fishmouth*

            I think they get around it with nicknames. Bill vs. Will, Ed vs. Eddie, John vs. Jack, Robert vs. Rob, Joe vs. Joey, etc. etc. Traditional men’s names often have a lot of possible nicknames.

            1. The Original K.*

              I worked with a man who was one in a line of like 7 generations of Williams and they all used different variations. He was Bill, his son was Will, his grandson (who was born when we worked together) was going to be called Liam, etc.

              1. Lissa*

                The Bradford family (of Pilgrim fame) has a tradition of always naming the eldest son William in each generation, but they get around the Jr./III thing by having different middle names. Annoyingly, the last three generations have all gone by Bill, which is just downright confusing.

                Source: the youngest William Bradford is my cousin.

            2. NotAnotherManager!*

              Or, even better, Big John and Little John, even when the kid turns 40. I have a juniored BIL whose family still calls him by his -ie nickname to distinguish from FIL, and he’s nearly 50. Thanks, but no. I grew up in a family where an aunt I saw very frequently had the same first name as me, and my sister shared a name with my mother. It was confusing and convinced me that any kids I had would get their own name so they weren’t forced to go by a diminutive or their middle name.

            3. Red Reader*

              My husband is the sixth (Wakeen) in seven generations of his family (we aren’t having kids, but #7 is his nephew) and not a single one of the (Wakeens) actually goes by (Wakeen); they all go by some variant of their middle names.

              1. Dee*

                Oh! I just this minute realized why an acquaintance of mine whose legal name was Something Somethingson III was called Trey, haha. Never ever occurred to me before (is it a Southern thing?), so thank you.

          2. iglwif*

            My mom’s mom’s family is Italian-American, and there are lots of dudes named after other dudes in the family. They deal with the confusion in a variety of ways: Name, Young Name, and Little Name; X son of X and X son of Y; Big Name and Little Name; Name and Nickname.

            I personally find it hilarious, but …

        2. Anonforthis*

          Hahhhhhhhhhhhh I recently read an article about a family that had several sons, and it was literally “Dad’s Name Jr., Dad’s Name II, Dad’s Name III.” Three of the sons had the same name!

          1. Ada Lovelace*

            My uncle did this with two of his sons; Uncle Jr, Uncle III. We joke how his daughter was lucky to be a girl and escaped that curse. Her mother says she told uncle “If you name her ‘UncleA’ after I give birth, I will kill you.” Second wife said “You already got Uncle III out of me; that’s your limit.” We’re casually waiting to see if he finds a third wife.

      3. Parenthetically*

        90% sure that’s the video OP is referring to that her coworker sent her — the women were taking selfies… to post and hashtag with the game/team hashtag, just like the game announcers had just said. It was something like, “Hey, don’t forget to post your photos and selfies of the game with #baseballhowcoolisit!” and they started taking photos, and copped mockery for it. After it, and the context, went viral, the club apologized and offered free tickets to the women, who refused to accept them for themselves, but instead passed them along to their sorority’s charity for (IIRC) abuse survivors. Basically women are awesome.

      4. Gaia*

        I used to really dislike selfie culture. I saw it as vain and ridiculous. But I also hated having my picture taken because i was terribly insecure. A friend suggested I take several every day, that it might help. I rolled my eyes and did it to prove how dumb it was….and got proven wrong when it worked. Seeing my own image helped me “normalize” my perception of myself and allowed me to see my features as unique and beautiful.

        I can’t exactly hate on selfies now.

        1. Jadelyn*

          This is how I got into taking them. I did a “selfie 365” thing where I took and posted at least one selfie every day, and it did SO much good for my confidence and how I feel about my appearance.

      5. Dr. Pepper*

        Thing is, people have been taking selfies since the invention of the camera, and before that it was called a self portrait. It seems to be something deeply ingrained in human nature to do, it’s just now we have access to technology where it’s super easy and cheap to take a million of them.

    2. Glowcat*

      Re:#1. It’s also interesting that no one seems to realize that if (some) “millennials” grew up the way they are, it’s probably for a big part the fault of their parents…

      1. Antilles*

        Exactly. The complaints about “participation trophies” are the epitome of this:
        You complain about participation trophies? Well, who do you think bought those trophies for them?

        1. another STEM programmer*

          And also…speaking as a millennial who occasionally got a participation trophy as a kid: those things made me feel terrible. I sucked at sports and I knew it. It felt like the coach was saying “you’re no good at anything but I also think you’re too weak to be able to accept that and too stupid to notice that this trophy is meaningless, so here you go!” I never kept any of them. Participation trophies are 100% for the (generally Boomer) parents’ vanity so that they can be be proud of what their (in my case, faaaaaar below average at sports) kid was “achieving”.

          1. Baby Fishmouth*

            That’s my problem with it too! I was awful at group sports and the participation trophies just reminded me of that. I never understood why the adults were so cruel as to give those out.

            If you’re determined that every kid should get a trophy, the key to making kids feel appreciated/proud is for schools to give trophies based on all types of strengths, not just sports. I was good at reading and drama and hiking and languages and history – but I only got trophies for the sports I was forced to participate in that I was terrible at.

          2. Flower*

            I kept trying to get rid of mine every time I did a clean-out of my room and my parents wouldn’t let me; eventually they agreed to store them themselves.

            My parents, however, always verbally recognized that the trophies were for the parents, not the kids, even if they at first thought the trophies should be cluttering my room.

            1. Birch*

              Ugh yes. I have this conversation with my mother every single year.
              Mom: I’m going to finally clean all your stuff out of the garage! Go through it and keep what you want!
              Me: Ok, here’s the sentimental stuff, here’s the pile of trash, here’s the pile of donations.
              Mom: Noooo you can’t get rid of the My Little Pony coloring book you did when you were 3 and had no fine motor control! *facepalm*

              1. I'm A Little Teapot*

                I took what I wanted. Sorted the rest. Tossed/donated some. Whatever mom objected to became hers, permanently. Not my problem.

                1. Birch*

                  Well, except that it becomes yours again, eventually. Recently had the same problem with my mother having to clean out my grandmother’s house. Did that cause a shift in perspective? Nope!

              2. Glowcat*

                My mom is also keeping my and my sister’s toddler clothes. My future cat will be the likely recipient, I guess.

          3. Dr. Pepper*

            Me too. I was far happier getting nothing, which I deserved because I usually sucked, than the token participation trophy. Those meant nothing and neither I nor any of my peers were fooled. It really just made the adults feel better, which is the cruel irony. Those that insisted on foisting the participation trophy on us are now bitching that we were raised on participation trophies. Le sigh.

          4. twig*

            As a GenX-bad-at-sports-person — I loved my participation trophies (at the time)(don’t really care, now) because that was the only way I was going to get a trophy. I knew I was bad at stuff. I knew the trophy wasn’t for excelling but for just trying. I appreciated it at the time.

            I didn’t expect a trophy for everything I tried at– but it was nice to receive — it was like a prize for stepping outside my comfort zone.

          5. ginger ale for all*

            I benefitted from the participation trophy craze. I took up martial arts when I was in my late 40’s and won one in a tournament and it was huge! I came in second in one section of the tournament where there were only three competitors. You had better believe I took photos of me with it and showed my friends. They were far more impressed than they should have been and it still makes me smile to this day.
            And jmo, there was more time spent giving out trophies and announcing names over the intercom at that tournament than there was actual sparrings and katas.

        2. Amber T*

          The participation trophies argument always kills me. All the youth sports teams I played on as a kid had participation trophies, and I never cared, because I got to play with my friends. My parents thought it was a nice idea, because they were paying $X for me to participate so at least they had something to show for it at the end. Yet for some reason, I’m the one who gets crapped on for “wanting” a participation trophy?

          1. Lynn Whitehat*

            I mean, at least you did something. You could have just sat on the couch. I have some half-marathon and marathon finisher’s medals, which are basically the same thing, commemorating the fact that I completed the event without dying. But somehow not hated on as much?

            1. Antilles*

              The “Finisher” medals for running are an interesting case, because for all intents and purposes, they are exactly the same as a participation trophy but don’t seem to generate any ill will at all.
              Like, if you really think about it, the little trophy for being a benchwarmer in little league is effectively identical to a medal for finishing 24,871st in a 5k*…yet nobody blinks twice about the latter.
              *Depending on your personal predilection, there’s a reasonable argument that “showing up every Saturday afternoon for three straight months for T-Ball” could be significantly more of an achievement than jogging 3.2 miles once. I’d certainly prefer the latter, that’s for sure!

              1. a1*

                I think it’s because you still accomplished something. Running 26.2 miles is no little feat no matter how long it took you, vs sitting on a bench for a couple hours each game.

        3. Gaia*

          Right!? We weren’t giving those trophies to ourselves – and many of us hated them.

          And if we’re lazy and entitled well guess who taught us our values!?

        4. Mazzy*

          Those things were solidly genx as well at least at my school. Also, no one thought of them as a reward so they weren’t actual awards.

    3. Sam.*

      I have to disagree with you and OP – I think he *is* specifically mocking her. Why else would he deliberately send her and her millennial coworker (and only them) something mocking people that fall in their age group.

      1. Baby Fishmouth*

        I don’t think so – I am finding that so many people think that millenials are perpetually college-age. I’m 26 and people say shit about millenials to me. When I point out that I’m on the younger end of the millenials, they always say they didn’t mean me because I ‘seem so mature’ and I’m married, and have a full-time job, etc. etc. Most people just have no idea what a millenial actually is. I’m still waiting for the Gen Z hate to start!

        1. Smithy*

          I have to agree with this. I used to have a boss who was three months older than me and while we’re on the older end of Millenial – you’d be hard pressed to find any definition that excludes our birth year.

          Regardless whenever he’d complain about millennial and I’d tell him “we’re both millennials”, he’s dismiss it as not what he meant.

          Ultimately I think it’s very bothersome because it’s used as an “us vs them” moniker. Millennials do this irritating thing that the rest of us don’t. And the fact that it feels comfortable to say that openly can hint at other much less comfortable “us vs them” conversations.

        2. Murphy*

          I forget where I heard this, but someone was talking about teenagers the other day and they said “millenials” and I thought, they’re too young to be millenials!

          1. Amber T*

            Yeah, young people = millenials apparently. Nope, time to start your complaining about Gen Z! (But actually please don’t)

        3. Liz T*

          I’m Artistic Director of a non-profit whose board is all 60+. I’m 36. One of them told a story from TWENTY YEARS ago about some younger women not getting his ironic sexist joke and they all started talking about how “young people today don’t understand nuance.” I said, “Yes we do!” and they all looked at me in bafflement. I pointed out that the women in the story were now older than me so yes, they were insulting me if they were insulting them.

        4. Pollygrammer*

          She wrote: “I replied by saying I am a Millennial”

          So he definitely knows she’s a millennial. I agree with Sam.

        5. another STEM programmer*

          Yes, this has been my experience as well. Older profs at my uni keep referring to our students as Millennials – I’m like, no I, an assistant professor, am a millennial! These kids are Gen Z and over a *decade* younger than me! They don’t get it. To most of them, “millennial” means either “anyone younger than me” or “anyone I think is annoying”

          1. Rock Prof*

            Same here! I’m mid-30s, an older millennial, and up for tenure this year. I’ve heard do many other professors, some my age, disparage millennials. I try to interupt this with the newsflash that I’m a millenial, and a lot of them will just deny that I am and argue with me about it. If they want to have a conversation about how lots of college students interact with technology differently then these professors did when they were in school, which has probably been the case for longer then universities have existed, I’m here for that, but it feels like it so quickly just turns to millennial bashing.

        6. Nita*

          Yeah. My boss once went on a looong (and somewhat valid) complaint about millennials, and I’m pretty sure it was meant to be about kids recently out of college. That was the heart of the complaint, really – that they’re hard to work with because they’re so much more mobile than us older folks. By the time a new hire is really well trained in what we do (usually a couple of years), poof, they announce they’re moving several states away. It’s really wreaking havoc on my department’s attempts to have decent staffing and training. (Also, I randomly looked up the definition of millennial after that, and was surprised to see that I am one.)

    4. Lainey*

      Re: #1, I’ve found a lot of ‘millenial bashers’ as I call them, to be talking about people they work with, so people who are at least in their mid-late 20s. I was in a meeting last week with fellow directors and one said he “needed a training to understand how to work with millenials” and as a 29 y/o my automatic response was “really? Need to roll my eyes at that conment. It would be incredibly rude and ageist for people who are currently in their 20s to say older people need help using, say, computers.” Needless to say this ended up tailspinning into a long conversation about whether or not he was being fair.

      1. Washi*

        That’s the thing, it can be hard to bring up your objections to this kind of talk without generating a huge defensive argument, or without seeming like exactly the kind of over-sensitive millennial people like to make fun of!

        I usually just say something like “hey, you know you’re talking about me too, right?” Which makes things awkward, but I think has not made anyone realize they are wrong, but that they shouldn’t make comments like that in front of me, which is the most I think I could expect.

      2. Mike C.*

        Yeah, I’ve heard of this sort of training and all it does is try to convince people that Millenials want something other than larger paychecks.

        It’s a scam, like the majority of business media.

      1. Tara R.*

        I think it’s supposed to be 1980-1999, which would make the youngest group 19 going on 20, correct? I’m 1997 and I’ve generally considered myself a millenial.

    5. The Other Dawn*

      RE: #1
      I agree. IME, many times people are actually referring to teens and 20 somethings. The group of women I meet for game night are all at least 15 years older than me (I’m Gen X) and they talk about “millennials.” When I hear what they’re actually saying, they’re actually talking about their teenage grandkid, not a 35 year old. Luckily I’ve only heard them say things a couple times, but it’s still annoying, though.

      1. Stodgy 40-something*

        All of you 26+ aged millennials are taking things too seriously. There are SO many people who think either
        (a) that millennials are people who were born from 1990 to 2010 or
        (b) that it is way easier to say the word “millennials” to mean people aged 15-25 than whatever is the new made-up word for folks younger than what you consider millennials.

        Lighten up a bit!

        1. Baby Fishmouth*

          Well the problem is that they are using the word incorrectly. It actually does have a set definition, and misusing it means that they are insulting a huge portion of the population. Pointing out the correct age group is important. Like, I might use ‘Baby Boomers’ to mean people ages 55-75, but if I keep using that for the next 20 years to refer to people ages 55-75, I’m going to be flat-out wrong eventually because that age group will actually be Gen X.

          1. Glowcat*

            Well, the problem is also that they are using the word in a disparaging/dismissive way. If they were saying good things about Millennials we would’t be having the discussion at all.

          1. Allison*


            Just because people on the internet are saying they don’t like something doesn’t mean they’re upset over it, to the point where they’re practically in hysterics and must be calmed down because it’s just not healthy to be so worked up over every little thing. Sometimes we’re just, y’know, talking about stuff, in a way that is less than positive.

            1. aebhel*

              There’s a certain mindset where anything other than smiling agreement can be comfortably dismissed as hysteria, which is… well. Telling.

              1. Allison*

                I literally dealt with this two days ago, there was a miscommunication while ordering my food which led me to get a bit flustered and irritated, but then the guy said “this will be free, since you got emotional.” It actually wasn’t a big deal, until he said that. Had he offered to comp it because of the mixup that would have been fine, saying I got “emotional” when that’s definitely not what happened at all, steamed my beans, and I held out my money and said “no, I’m not some ‘hysterical woman,’ I can pay for my food.”

          2. Seespotbitejane*

            Also, as 32 year old Millennial, who is real tired of being accused “killing chain restaurants” (or whatever the industry du jour is. My feeling is that if a business can’t sustain itself, it’s on the business? Not the fault of customers who choose not to patronize it?) I think the entire behavior is shitty. The excuse that “Oh, we’re trying to be jerks about children, not you” still isn’t great.

            Young people do do stupid things sometimes because their brains are still developing. They still deserve to be treated with basic respect. Also this stuff can do real harm, like when young women are told they’re too stupid and frivolous to be allowed to vote.

            1. Allison*

              When I was young, I hated the way some adults treated me, and now that I’m older and wiser, I still hate it. We need to remember what it was like to be young, how we felt when people treated us like we were inherently stupid and “bad” somehow, and why we did the things we did. Even Emily Post believed that children are people, you should treat them like people.

            2. Riley*

              That reminds me of an article I read once arguing that Millennials are killing the grocery store industry because Millennials eat out more and buy more food from farmer’s markets, co-ops, and smaller local shops. The argument was that Millennials go to grocery stores less often and buy less food there than Baby Boomers or Gen-Xer’s did at that age…which was a meaningless comparison because when you looked at the data, it showed that *everyone* today is spending less at grocery stores than people did 20 years ago. It’s simply a cross-generational trend that reflects the state of America today, not something only Millennials are doing.

              1. Doc in a Box*

                Also… the supermarkets started in the 30s, and only really took off in the 50s (even later in the UK and Europe). Before that, small local shops were literally the only way to buy your food.

            3. Liz T*

              “My feeling is that if a business can’t sustain itself, it’s on the business?”

              The free market is only good when it’s hurting non-rich people, duh! When capitalism affects millionaires we need to shape up and save their terrible businesses.

        2. Amber T*

          “There are so many people who are wrong. Let them just be wrong! How come you gotta correct your elders! Respect them! And get off my lawn while your at it!!”

        3. aebhel*

          Mm. I’m glad that we agree that generational divides are arbitrary and ridiculous, and it’s kind of silly to sort people into groups based on what year they were born in.

          …or was that not where you were going with it? I mean, by that logic, we should all just be calling ourselves Boomers (when that whole ‘generations are super important’ thing really took off), since coming up with new made-up words for new generations is Just So Hard. Who needs newfangled words like Gen X or Millennial anyway?

        4. Seacalliope*

          There are a lot of people being very rude, both to their younger coworkers and to teenagers who have every right to enjoy being young. People who spend a lot of time being very rude need to stop it.

        5. biobotb*

          Well, if the stodgy 40-somethings who are apparently don’t even know who they’re complaining about would just lighten up, there would be nothing to discuss!

    6. Allison*

      Sometimes I really want to take a selfie, because I’m somewhere cool or I just feel like I look good in that moment and I want to share it with the people who have chosen to follow me (and that I have approved to have follow me) on Instagram, but I shy away from it because I don’t want to annoy people, or be “that young person” taking a picture of themselves.

      Look people, I prefer taking a selfie over having someone else snap the photo because I’m not a photogenic person, and I like having control over the process, getting to play with the light, angle, facial expression, etc. without having to involve another person because I don’t want to annoy them, or drag them into some tedious process. When someone else snaps the picture, I feel like I get two attempts TOPS, and out of consideration for them, I should accept whatever they take and be grateful for the favor.

      1. Recently Diagnosed*

        At the risk of being “controversial”, since the beginning of time, the female image has been painted, sculpted, drawn, and photographed (when that first was developed) by men to be displayed for the male gaze. Since the very beginning. That was art, and was acceptable. But now, when young women are taking photos of themselves for their OWN gaze, to look at themselves and feel empowered, it’s vanity?

        No, ma’am. Take your selfie for literally any reason you want. Is your reason that you’re vain and you like looking at pictures of yourself? MORE POWER TO YOU, GIRL, YOU OWN THAT SH!T. Putting it out there for others to see because you think you look gorgeous and want other people to see you looking gorgeous? DON’T APOLOGIZE, DON’T FEEL BAD. DO it, and enjoy yourself and your body. Let your image be for YOU, because it has been a LONG time coming.

        1. Allison*

          Maybe they assume we’re putting pictures of ourselves on a public medium so others, mainly men, can admire our beauty? And that through the whole thing, a man was not involved in the process? Maybe it offends them that we’ve deemed ourselves worthy or admiration, rather than before, when you had to let someone else decide you were pretty enough to be seen? Maybe seeing those selfies causes men to have, shall we say, “lustful thoughts” about women they know they shouldn’t lust over, and it’s our fault for putting those pictures up, we should have some modesty!

        2. Liz T*

          Recently Diagnosed, could you please have this printed on shirts for me to buy? Or, since it’s long, a dress? With pockets?

        3. MCMonkeyBean*

          Damn, I get really annoyed at people who complain about selfies mostly just because they are not a new thing but I honestly had not even thought about the aspect of women taking control of their own images. That is a really excellent point, thank you so much for this comment!

  7. Amber*

    #2 another option is to apply and in the application mention that you will have a portfolio and will send it on Monday. If they are interested in you then they’ll have no problem waiting.

      1. SignalLost*

        Especially not with ATS software, a lot of which will not allow you to edit applications later. And even if you’re emailing a person, I suspect that would come off as saying you’re disorganized and high maintenance, as well as trying to evade the application deadline.

        1. Les G*

          This. The technique of “here’s part of my application now, and I bet you can’t wait for the next part I’ll send you next week” brings to mind more a sleazy pickup artist putting the moves on a widower over OKCupid than a seasoned professional I can’t wait to hire.

        2. BRR*

          That’s my thinking as wel. A lot of ATS will have it be final when you hit submit and if I was being emailed I would wonder “why didn’t you email it all at once?”

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Nope. Don’t do this. It makes you look disorganized and is a surefire way to automatically be put in the “no” pile.

    2. Sam.*

      Am I the only one who would’ve started the application materials over the weekend and then submitted it all during my lunch hour on Monday, after I got access to my portfolio pieces? That assumes that OP didn’t need to spend a ton of time cleaning things up, of course. (Admittedly, I may only be saying this because I’ve always had a private office space where I could theoretically do this without being interrupted, and historically my bosses have been pretty hands-off and wouldn’t get upset if I was applying to another job from my office computer, as long as it wasn’t cutting into my work time.)

      1. Trisha*

        I was thinking something similar – going in early, staying late at work – to make sure it was all done before leaving for the day (but still doing it on non-work hours). I’ve done this many times in the past.

      2. Ender*

        Yeah i really can’t understand why OP didn’t submit the application from her work computer, given she had the necessary info on her work computer. It’s an internal job so it’s not like she could hide her application from her boss.

        1. Washi*

          Ooh, I missed that it was internal. Then yeah, if I had all the pieces ready to go, I would have also probably submitted during the work day, and not even necessarily during a break. I feel like taking a 5 minute break from your normal work submit an application for an internal job is not something particularly risky.

      3. Washi*

        I think I would have assumed that closing Monday meant by midnight on Monday rather than COB.

        To me, the main takeaway is that if you’re job searching, you should have the main pieces of your application ready to go so that in a situation like this all you would have to do is write your cover letter and maybe tweak your resume and portfolio.

      4. Ali G*

        Depending on how far the office was from her home, I would have gone in over the weekend and done it. Assuming she has access to her office after hours.

  8. HannahS*

    OP 1, generation-related sniping is SO FLIPPING EXHAUSTING and (to borrow from the Gen Zs) I literally cannot even. He sent you a video criticizing your generation? Firstly, if they’re young girls, they aren’t Millenials. Our generation is variably defined but even by the absolute latest cutoff, all Millenials are legally adults. Secondly, you’re absolutely right, there’s much more wrong with one adult zooming in on and complaining about young girls enjoying themselves and another adult thinking it’s fine to send that on to his much younger coworkers implying “haha, this is you” than the disastrous problem of young girls taking pictures of themselves and finding it fun. And I think it would be fully appropriate of you to point that out. It’s such a transparent way of saying “I’m better than you! I’m better than you!” where you’re supposed to, what, smile and agree? Deliberately missing the joke and politely pushing back on misinformation–about the age of Millenials, that many Millenials can drive manual–is a good tack, partly because it just signals that he can’t make those comments unchallenged. It makes it less fun for him.

    1. Thursday Next*

      It’s exhausting, but also ludicrous. “Millennial” has become the stand-in for “kids these days,” which is kind of funny since many of the Milennial bashers are Boomers, and they’re the ones who proclaimed loudly that no one should trust anyone over 30. The worm has turned.

      My dad was born in 1939 and his first car was an automatic, so using familiarity with a manual transmission as a proxy for true adulthood only makes sense if you were born in 1890. LW #1, if your coworkers were indeed born in 1890, then let their comments slide out of deference to their extreme old age.

      Ultimately, I think snide remarks about age only make the commenter look bad. If you can devise a set of responses that have an Aunt Indulging Her Favorite Nephew vibe, that could be helpful. I don’t see much point in trying to refute these comments with logic, because they’re not coming from a place of real logic.

      1. Everdene*

        Thursday, that’s exactly what I thought, some people think millenials is short hand for ‘kids these days’ or the ‘snowflake generation’.

        I’m a millennial; I’ve been an adult for nearly 2 decades, I have 2 degrees, I manage a demanding service for vulnerable people, I am a home owner, some of the people I went to school with have teenage kids of their own, some are senior doctors or lawyers, have been married and divorced and married again, are dealing with caring for patents with dementia or dying from cancer, many of us have our own chronic health issues, we are proper grown ups who are part of, and contribute, to society. Millenials are not lazy, over sensitive, self obsessed kids.

        1. LJay*

          This, seriously.

          (Though I do think we don’t do ourselves any favors sometimes with all the Facebook posts about “Oh, nobody ever knows what they’re doing. We’re all just making it up as we go along,” or “Sometimes when I’m in trouble I start looking for an adult and then I realize I’m an adult so I start looking for a more adultier adult,” or, “The best days of my life were when I was a kid eating cereal and watching cartoons on Saturday mornings.” Nope. I know what I’m doing most of the time. Taxes and cooking and cleaning and taking care of myself aren’t rocket science and barring illness or extreme circumstances most people can easily learn how to do them through the magic of the internet. I don’t need an “adultier” adult to rescue me. Sometimes I need help with things and need to go to a subject matter expert but that person could be older than me, could be younger than me, could be the same age as me. And I hated being a kid. I couldn’t wait to grow up so I didn’t have to listen to stupid rules, could drive a car, could buy and eat whatever I wanted for dinner, etc. I was also an anxiety-ridden bullied mess as a kid and growing up enabled me to seek out my own mental health care. Being an adult rules for me. I know not everyone shares my opinions on this, but I don’t like being included in their assumptions that everyone is just bumbling around lost, either.

          1. Flower*

            I don’t think it’s an assumption that people are bumbling around lost. It’s a recognition that, for many of us, our childhoods were defined by assuming people older than us felt like they always knew what they were doing. I know elementary school me thought high schoolers had most things figured out! And then I thought college students knew what they were doing with their lives! And then I realized that no matter what, everyone is kind of figuring things out as they go. There is no tutorial for life.

            By my mid-teens I was managing my own schedule and my own medical appointments and other people in a volunteer context. I was in charge of children younger than me in the woods by the time I was 17. At 22 I was support staff for the people managing children. But I haven’t started feeling like what child or even teen me thought an adult should feel like (confident, prepared, ready to handle things going wrong, having plans A-F). I don’t feel lost, but I still feel like there’s things part of me thinks adults should know how to – for example, plan a wedding, and then I realize yet again that no, you don’t know how to do that to start. You have to figure it out as you go (and some of that is asking questions of people with more knowledge).

            And maybe the ability to figure it out as you go while keeping outwardly composed and seeming put together and relaxed is what makes someone an “adulty” adult and I’ve been an adulty adult since I was 17 (and started being told that I seemed like I had it all together), and I just didn’t realize it.

            1. Birch*

              Yeah this, exactly. I spent so much time beating myself up for not doing life “right” because I never felt like I was totally 100% stable. Realizing there is no one correct way to do life, and that even if you do know what you’re doing, life can throw some crazy BS your way—that’s important and not something that I think any previous generation was willing to admit publicly. Our children will feel better about themselves and their lives because of our honesty about how tough life is.

            2. Dr. Pepper*

              Me too! I was a very “adulty” adult as a young teenager. I had many “adult” responsibilities and freedoms, and sometimes I look back on those years like “damn, I can’t believe my parents let me do that”. People often commented on how mature and composed I was, while on the inside I was like “uhhhh, I’m confused and scared and don’t know wtf I’m doing??” I kept waiting for that magical feeling of confidence and “I totally know what I’m doing”, but it never came. Sure, I’ve gained a ton of experience and knowledge and there are many things where I *do* know exactly what I’m doing and feel confident, but when a new thing comes up I’ve never dealt with before? Or I’m contemplating the big, deep stuff like the meaning of life and all that? Boom, right back to “uhhhh, I’m confused and scared and don’t know wtf I’m doing??”

              Honestly, I think that acknowledging that is important. I felt so alone in my confusion, and learning that others, who I looked up to and admired, felt the same way when out of their depth was very comforting.

              1. Flower*

                Dang, you took what I feel and worded it so much better than what I wrote in the comment you’re replying to. I was trying to sound eloquent and then you boiled it down to exactly how I actually am (are you me????). High-five. It’s like as soon as you hit the feeling of knowing what you’re doing, something else is thrown at you and you get to be scared of making potentially major mistakes again (and worse, you don’t even know how major the consequences to some mistakes might be or what would be required to fix them).

                And who knows, maybe as we age there will be fewer and fewer new things thrown at us, and that “scared and confused/don’t know wtf I’m doing” feeling will be super rare.

                1. Dr. Pepper*

                  Yes, high five!

                  I don’t know if that feeling will ever truly go away. Technology will continue to progress and there will always be something new that we’ve never encountered before. It seems to me though that as people age, they tend to show that confused and scared feeling as anger, hence the “kids these days!” rants and so on. They’re confused and scared and don’t know what is going on, so they’re mad at it.

          2. AnotherKate*

            Preach the word! I can certainly relate to some notions of “wait, shoot, I’m the adult I’m looking for” but I also asked my mother once when she felt like a “real” adult and she sort of paused and said, “40?” So I think there’s a certain impostor syndrome to life that is maybe inevitable. It’s easy to look at how adults seemed when you were a kid and then look at all the ways you personally feel you’re falling short, but ultimately I’m out here doing the thing and mostly enjoying it, for a lot of the reasons you enumerated. Sure, I have to pay my own bills and do my own chores, but there’s freedom in knowing you can do all of that the way you want to, and empowerment in stepping up and doing it since no one else can do it for you.

            I think a lot of pop/meme culture leans way too heavily on “lol so relatable!” content that ultimately undercuts us in the exact way you described. I know I (a curmudgeonly 32-year-old) had to unfollow some meme accounts on Instagram that were supposed to be funny but just drove me crazy because every other post was something like, “Me, drinking too much and disappointing myself and then restarting the cycle, LOL,” or “When Barb from work asks me to do literally anything [image of someone rolling their eyes dramatically]”. I look at that stuff and just think, “um, that’s not cute, knock it off.” We are actually better than that and arrested adolescence isn’t cheeky or fun.

            tl;dr, Bah Humbug, I guess?

            1. Amber T*

              Agreed. I think for a long time it was so expected you had your stuff together, because everyone had their stuff together, so of course everyone’s life was like a 1950’s sitcom – everything’s just perfect! So with the rise of social media, and even in part with the openness of mental health, it’s like a pendulum, and we kind of swung in the opposite way – everyone is failing miserably. I’m also one on of those people who like to think that I’m doing okay, yeah things get hard and there are times where I struggle, but for the most part I’m good, so I read those and it is cringe-y. But media works in extremes.

            2. CMart*

              Fellow 32 year old curmudgeon offering a fist bump of recognition.

              Definitely at first doing “grown up things” felt alien and baffling (signing a lease? calling the hospital to negotiate a bill? actually caring about curtains for my bedroom? who the heck did 25 year old CMart think she was??). But once I started approaching 30 I really felt like we’ve had a decade of being “adult” under our belts, it’s time to get a grip.

              My husband and I bought our first home this year, and other than the upfront cash outlay being a little daunting it wasn’t some “lol adulting amirite?! what on earth am I doing???” event. I’m a 32 year old white collar worker in a dual-income marriage. Why wouldn’t I feel competent enough to buy a house?

      2. Lainey*

        To me, there are cultural differences amongst people of all ages/genders/ethnicities/races and we should all work to learn from and about each other. I just don’t get the millenial hating. Yeah, we grew up with technology and a lot of us have student loans and have to deal with a different economy than our parents did. It’s just life.

      3. Snark*

        And, not to get into anything here, the Boomers are living in the most fragile of glass houses. Given the wide range of ways that generation has not exactly covered itself in glory, you’d think they’d be a little less eager to rip into the next one.

        1. Dr. Pepper*

          What bothers me the most about the Boomers ripping on Millennial is that for the most part, they raised us. We are a product of them. Ripping on your own creation seems a little, well, precious to me. But again, that’s human nature. We take a thing and mold it a certain way and then we hate it for what we’ve forced it to become. Look at the court Jew from medieval (or thereabouts) times and see the ramifications of that role that are still alive in society today.

          I’ve looked at it from the outside, in a way, which just magnifies it. I’m an older Millennial from older, Silent Generation parents. I’ve always felt a little displaced because my parents did not follow the common Boomer parenting trends, and thus I turned out differently from many of my peers. I don’t share in the “omg my Boomer parents did this” stories.

          1. aebhel*

            It’s also funny because they’re often specifically ripping on Millennials for how they were raised–participation trophies and helicopter parenting and so on, and it’s like…even if that was true across the board, which it really isn’t, who exactly are you insulting here? I wasn’t buying myself participation trophies for being a mediocre midfielder in the local youth soccer league, you know!

            (That said, I’m on the older end of the Millennial generation and my parents are on the younger end of the Boomer generation; I actually think that at least half of Millennials have Gen-Xers for parents).

      4. Falling Diphthong*

        Okay, sonny, you can drive a manual, but can you harness a horse to a buggy? Eh? That’s the real test of maturity.

        1. Environmental Compliance*

          I can hitch a horse to a buggy (and drive it), but I can’t drive a manual. So… I mature? Immature? Right now I’m just confused.

          (I wish I knew someone, or had ever known someone, that had a manual and would teach me how to drive it. The only person I knew that had a manual owned a racing Camero and understandably didn’t want to use it to teach.)

          1. Dr. Pepper*

            Ooooh, teach me! I’ve always wanted to learn to drive a horse in harness, but I haven’t known anyone willing to teach me. The farthest I got was training my old horse to pull a plastic kid’s sled to get hay to everyone in the winter.

          2. CMart*

            I learned stick on a genuine ’65 Shelby Cobra.

            No idea what kind of voodoo my mom had worked on her boyfriend to let a 17 year old who’d never been behind the wheel of a manual transmission in her short driving life take that thing for a spin. Though it maybe worked in a reverse-psychology sort of way in that I was terrified of breaking it so I executed the instructions perfectly…

    2. Huckleberry*

      As someone who’s new to the US, I’m not sure I understand what that guy meant with his manual car comment? Is it that millennials drive too many manual cars or not enough manual cars? Are manual cars a youthful thing or a grown up thing in the US? As far as I know, it’s been really hard to find a manual car in the US for quite some time, so I’m confused.

      1. Scotty_Smalls*

        He’s implying millennials don’t drive manual cars. Either because of incompetence or laziness.

            1. Free Now (and forever)*

              I haven’t driven a manual transmission vehicle since my first vehicle in college in 1975.

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                Based on my two children and this test, one is a geezer and one is a millennial. Actual distinction rested on a) how much they wanted to drive and thus aggressively practiced on grandma’s old manual truck (which in turn reflects deep running personality traits between the two of them, rather than between generations) and b) whether they worked at a barn and so did a lot of tractor driving.

          1. ElspethGC*

            Not in Europe and the UK! Manual is still the majority here, and pretty much everyone learns in a manual. I wouldn’t want an automatic; manual gives you something to think about on long boring journeys.

            1. ChachkisGalore*

              That’s exactly why I switched to a manual! I was driving an automatic for a little while, but I started getting kind of freaked because I would arrive at my destination, but not really remember much of the drive there because I was on such autopilot!

              But re: the US, manual cars *are* becoming quite rare. As of 2016 only 3% of new car sales were manual and only approx 30% of new car models are even available in manual (again, in the US)! Of course there are tons of used cars still available as manual, so that 3% number doesn’t mean that 3% of cars on the road are manual. It is part of an ongoing trend though – the number of manual cars sold in the US has been decreasing quite a bit (in the early 90’s it was in the 25% range).

              1. LJay*

                And the ones available in manual tend to be really really base models that might not have things like air conditioning, or really expensive high-end sports cars that wouldn’t generally be used for daily driving and that are not affordable for most people.

            2. Lora*

              Yup. As one of the lone manual transmission-driving Americans on any given business trip, it is invariably my job to chauffeur around my colleagues.

              Learned on a Yugo. So, you know, it was no great loss when I burned out the clutch.

            3. neverjaunty*

              They also give you a lot to think about going up hills in San Francisco or being stuck in traffic on the 405. I honestly like driving with a manual too, but they’re not practical for a lot of driving.

          2. Dr. Pepper*

            No kidding. My mom is in the Silent Generation and she learned to drive on an automatic in high school, when driver’s ed was still a class you could take there. If the crappy school car for the teenagers to thrash was an automatic, they weren’t exactly the latest, high end technology.

        1. Ender*

          I thought he was saying the opposite – that millennials drive manual to stop their cars being stolen. Which makes no sense because I can count on one hand the number of non-automatic transmissions I’ve seen in American cars.

      2. SS Express*

        Millennials are less likely to drive a manual car – they’re not very common these days but many older drivers still know how to drive one (even if they probably don’t own one…I used to work in the auto industry and the only people buying manuals these days are actually young male car enthusiasts).

        1. pleaset*

          Right. There is no need and they’re not common.

          I’ve said to people bragging about knowing how to drive manual because they are old “I don’t know how to drive a horse and carriage either.”

          PS – I’m old too – I’m not being ageist but rather mocking bragging knowing something because it was common when you were young, but no longer common.

          1. EddieSherbert*

            Right? I equate it to “I know how to use a walkman”… because I had one as a kid. I don’t expect my 20 year old coworker to know how to use one, and I’d sound completely ridiculous if I mocked him for not knowing.

          2. Isabel Kunkle*

            Yep. “Life skills” depend on the life you’re living. I can’t drive manual, fix a pipe, or churn butter–but I can navigate the T ticketing system without taking fifteen minutes and asking for help, I know quiet hours in my apartment building and how to contact the super, and I know which delivery services around here are reliable and good. If I end up moving to Europe, buying a house, or becoming Amish, I can learn the other skills.

            1. Jaid_Diah*

              Well, you can learn lots of things on YouTube, including fixing pipes and churning butter. Driving, not so much… :-)

              1. Isabel Kunkle*

                Sure, but I can take lessons–plus, if I move to Europe, I’m likely going to move to a part with good pubtrans. The scenario in which I am suddenly plunked down in a car-only vicinity and have no time to call up a driving school is probably a scenario in which I have a lot of other problems to worry about. Like genies being dicks.

        2. Snark*

          Right! My Fiesta ST is manual, because it’s a ridiculous tiny orange hatchback that goes like a bat out of hell. My Outback is a manual, because of course it is, it’s a lifted family station wagon with a child seat in the back. Nobody wants their boring family hauler with a manual, because why would you need the extra control and feedback?

            1. Snark*

              I’ve actually driven a BRZ with an auto, and for some reason I found it preferable to the manual.

        3. another STEM programmer*

          I (one of Ye Dreaded Millennials) first learned on a manual, but that’s because my dad who grew up on a farm felt like it was some kind of rite of passage and seemed kinda miffed that he wasn’t able to teach me to drive on a tractor. This year I taught my (also a millennial) husband to drive manual because the car that we could afford to buy him was a manual. Most millennials that I know who drive manual have some kind of story like mine or are really into cars. Even for Boomers, automatic has been the default for awhile, so most of our generation would have learned on automatics.

        4. Lucida Console*

          I just bought a late model car and had to go miles out of my way to get it because I wanted a stick shift (and I’m an middle aged woman). Personally, I hate automatics.

      3. Julia*

        I think manual cars are still the norm in Europe – and I always thought that most Americans drove automatic cars regardless of age, but apparently, I was wrong.

        If anything, millennials just own fewer cars overall, but is that a bad thing?

        1. Treecat*

          Nah, your first impression was right–most Americans these days drive automatics, regardless of age.

          Slight tangent: I am an older Millenial who drives a manual. My husband and I bought a new Honda Civic in 2012 to replace our ’91 Accord that was about 100 miles from meltdown. We specifically requested a manual, and then the dealer revealed to us that we’d have to wait 2 months for it because they only made 5 manuals (one in each standard color) for the *entire continent of North America* per month, and the next two months’ worth were spoken for.

          So that’s the story of how we bought a car in December and received it in February, heh.

          1. Polyhymnia O'Keefe*

            I’m an old-lennial who misses my manual. These days, I drive an older Smart car* that has the paddle shift, which is halfway in between, so it scratches some of the itch.

            *My husband and I actually own two Smart cars. We live in an apartment building with one stall allocated, and we park our cars nose-to-tail to avoid renting an extra stall. Having two 2-passenger cars is also a great way to forestall questions about when we’re having kids!

            1. $!$!*

              Im 30, used to drive a stick, and I just Bought a scion IQ (similar to smart cars) and the first thing a dealer said to me was, “you can fit a car seat in it” and I said, “well that won’t be necessary” and then he tried to convince me. I went to another dealer out of state lol

          2. Julia*

            Thank you for replying!

            Wow, two months is quite a wait if you need a car, but I definitely know people who ordered cars in Europe that were made to their specifications and took that long.

            1. SignalLost*

              I knew someone who waited five or six months; they wanted a paint color only available in Japan, and since the car was an upgrade rather than an urgent replacement, they could wait. There were still frustrating delays – we joked that their car missed the boat, because it did.

              1. Treecat*

                We’re currently waiting on a refrigerator that literally missed the boat… rough because the place we just moved into doesn’t have a fridge at all! I joked that we’re getting a taste of how our grandparents grew up (on farms, in the early 20th century).

                Honestly, if we bought another car, we’d get an automatic, because we live in Seattle: hilly, high-latitude, dark, rainy, and crowded. I’ve sweat bullets doing hill starts at a traffic light a few times in that manual Civic when the person behind me was, uh, rather too close for comfort…

          3. Turquoisecow*

            My uncle tried to buy a manual transmission car about ten years ago or so. He had to drive some 50 miles out of his way to the only dealership remotely nearby that was able to help him.

          4. miss_chevious*

            When I was looking for a car last year, I specifically focused on the manufacturers who made manuals readily available. Bonus: if you can find one on the lot late in the model year (I bought in August), they will throw money at you to take it. :) I got a fully loaded Mini Clubman for $15,000 below list, and they threw in custom stripes and mirror covers to get it off the lot.

          5. Lady Bug*

            Gen-Xer that only drives manual and 4wd. So basically once my current truck dies (11 yes old 250k strong!), my only option will be a Wrangler. When I bought my truck they had to bring it from a dealership 750 miles away. They just aren’t common in the US. But both my millennial kids learned on a manual.

        2. Huckleberry*

          Well, I’m originally from Europe and it’s really hard to find an automatic car there. Not impossible but it’s certainly not the norm.

            1. Pandop*

              18% of sales, and being common on bigger, fancier cars, means that in the second hand market, they are indeed not the norm.

              1. pleaset*

                Good point about second-hand market.

                But I doubt it’s really hard to find them, at least newish, in Europe. Compare to US where 3% or less of new cars have manual.

                1. Pandop*

                  But most newly qualified drivers aren’t buying a newish car – so learning on a manual, and then buying a manual go together

                2. pleaset*

                  What is your point?

                  Mine is that it is not ” really hard to find an automatic car there”. Full stop. It is not “really hard.” I haven’t said they are common, but you keep writing back at me as if I have.

                  What is your point? Why do you keep seeming to correct me for saying it is not really hard to find one. Do you disagree with that statement?

        3. Myrin*

          Yeah, I had the same impression (I always see stick-shift mentioned as something “special”, for lack of a better word, usually something that only older models of cars even have anymore), so I totally didn’t get what he was angling for with that before reading the comments.

          1. Antilles*

            Nowadays, stick-shift absolutely is “special”. The base model of most mass-market consumer cars is an automatic transmission and you will often need to pay several hundred bucks extra to even get a manual transmission.

        4. The Cosmic Avenger*

          There are other factors in the manual/automatic divide. I grew up in NYC in the 70s, and even back then manual transmissions just weren’t that popular when you were almost guaranteed to spend a fair amount of time in stop and go traffic every day. I had hardly seen them until I left NYC, but then I learned to drive manual in my 20s when a couple of them were passed down to me by my wife’s family. I think you see fewer of them in big cities then elsewhere for that reason.

      4. Persimmons*

        As I mentioned above, most people learn to drive on whatever their parents happen to own. My parents drove automatic, so that’s what I know. Learning manual would require purchasing an additional car, which is going to take a bit more than the spare change in my couch.

        My husband suggested trying it out on a rental, but car agencies don’t even offer manual anymore (at least around here).

    3. RabbitRabbit*

      I saw noted elsewhere “I cannot even” is the modern-day version of “Well, I never!”

    4. Lynn Whitehat*

      You guys, a terrible thing has happened to me. I have reached the age where random people try to bond with me using “kids these days” rants. It’s awful. I am not nice about it. I think kids these days are awesome, and I tell them so.

      1. pleaset*


        I’m in the same boat, and think that your and my attitude keeps us a little younger, at least in spirit.

  9. anon today and tomorrow*

    #5: I don’t think there’s anything immature or unprofessional about adults wanting to celebrate their birthday. I take my birthday as my floating holiday every year because I don’t celebrate any other of the big holidays, so I consider it my true holiday of the year. And I do think everyone should get their birthday off if they want it (I’ve interviewed at two companies who do give birthdays off). It seems ridiculous to me that people can get excited about Christmas or Easter or Thanksgiving, but getting excited about a birthday makes people think you’re immature and unprofessional.

    If your employee is making these comments in conversations that make sense – like coworker Sue is asking about meeting for a project on Tuesday, and your employee says she’ll be out because it’s her bday – there’s nothing really wrong with that. It’s no different than someone saying they’ll be out because they have a doctor’s appointment or are taking their kid to an event. TMI, but nothing egregious. If she’s bringing up her birthday every other conversation or multiple times a day, then I think you have to tell her to tone it done.

    1. Everdene*

      One of my team is in his 60s and takes a whole week off for his birthday every year. He’s already asked me for the week off for next summer. This isn’t an age thing, but still might be annoying if they keep going on about it!

    2. Frannie*

      I take off my birthday week. I definitely don’t toot it around the office and will so many privacy laws no one would know unless I told them (which I don’t – I’m getting too old and want to avoid their next question would be to ask how old I am).

      But I don’t think there is anything wrong if someone is excited about their birthday and mentions it at work as to why they won’t be in on that day. Everyone shares pointless information at work and it really should just be taken as, in one ear out the other. There are more annoying things than this to tolerate in the workplace.

        1. Murphy*

          +1 As long as you’re not trying to force their festiveness on everyone else, let people enjoy things.

      1. hbc*

        I agree 100%. In fact, one of the marks of professionalism (in my opinion) is not dragging much of your personal highs and lows into the office. You don’t need to pretend you’re a robot, but gushing about your birthday, Thanksgiving, your new baby or your black belt, or moaning about your landlord, MIL, or medical issue should be limited.

        And if you turn your personal preference for never working on your birthday or whatever into a general statement about What Everyone Should Do, you’re basically announcing your immaturity.

        1. Anononon*

          This comment kinda makes me laugh. Your first paragraph is more or less you stating What Everyone Should Do. (Including “in my opinion” doesn’t change that.)

        2. Leslie knope*

          So don’t pretend you’re a robot but also don’t ever talk about your personal life?

        3. Mad Baggins*

          I agree. Of course it’s fine to chat with others on breaks, but I don’t think it’s professional to go on and on about personal topics at work.

    3. kiwimusume*

      Yeah, this really depends on the tone and context. My read is that maybe she has a chip on her shoulder about it, and that is unprofessional. My company is very pro taking time off on birthdays and such (in fact, today is my birthday and I had the day off to celebrate like I do every year) but we also have our own stuff going on and sometimes we need to be reminded about each other’s time off when we’re scheduling projects. It’s not malicious and all the employee has to say is “remember, I’ve got X day off for my birthday”. If one of my coworkers said “You KNOW I have that day off for my birthday! Nobody should have to work on their birthday!” I’d need them to take it down several notches, not because being excited about your birthday is unprofessional but because they’re escalating something that could have been solved by just calmly reminding the person that they have the day off. If that’s the way this employee is talking about it, I can see why that’s a problem.

      1. Washi*

        And I think I would find that true regardless of the holiday. If you worked in an industry known to require coverage 365 days a year and went around proclaiming “You know I have Christmas off! No one should have to work on Christmas!” when in fact, many people do need to work on Christmas, I think that would also rub people the wrong way.

    4. SwingingAxeWolfie*

      “And I do think everyone should get their birthday off if they want it (I’ve interviewed at two companies who do give birthdays off).”

      Unless you were born on 29th Feb, then it doesn’t count ;)

    5. Alton*

      Yeah, I don’t celebrate Christmas or other major holidays. I also like taking my birthday off because I take very little time off in general, and it’s a nice excuse.

      It sounds like the employee is making some comments that are a little unrealistic, like the “no one should have to work on their birthday” thing. That might be making her look out of touch. But I don’t see anything weird about taking your birthday off.

      1. SignalLost*

        There’s nothing weird about taking your birthday off. There’s a lot weird about telling all your coworkers why you’re taking it off, which is true for most reasons to take time off anyway, and gets an extra layer of ick from the fact that a lot of people use incessant mentioning of their birthdays as gift-grabs. Very, very few people ever need to know why you won’t be at work, only that you won’t be.

        1. Alton*

          I don’t think it’s weird to tell people why you’re taking time off unless it’s something really personal that wouldn’t be work-appropriate (like, I don’t know, going to a kink retreat). It can be out of touch to talk about it a lot, but some amount of social interaction at work can be normal. I’ve had co-workers ask me about my vacation plans before. It’s very normal. The employee here might be out of touch or coming across as self-centered in the amount that she’s bringing it up (and the manner in which she’s doing so), but it’s not like she has to keep her vacation plans a secret.

        2. Antilles*

          There’s a lot weird about telling all your coworkers why you’re taking it off, which is true for most reasons to take time off anyway
          Really? I don’t think there’s anything weird about mentioning why you’re taking off casually as part of the conversation. As long as you don’t harp on it, saying “oh, yeah, I’ll be out on Thursday and Friday; going on a ski trip this weekend” or “I’ll be in late Monday, have a roofer coming in” or whatever seems completely normal to me.
          If the other person doesn’t show particular interest in following up on the topic, then it should stay with nothing more than the brief mention, but I certainly wouldn’t think it’s odd that someone offhandedly mentioned it.

          1. bonkerballs*

            Right? I have a vacation trip to Europe coming up in a few months and it’s been booked for even more and everyone in the office knows about it. As soon as it got put on the shared calendar people asked me if I was doing anything fun with my time off and I told them my plans. And it’s come up in conversation several times since then. The idea that I would never talk about why I would be out of the office is baffling.

          2. The Other Geyn*

            I don’t know if I just work in an area with an oversharing office culture, but from my experience (as well as my friends’ and family’s experience) it’s pretty common to let co-workers know why you’re out of the office. If anything for the purpose of “oh yeah I’ll be doing this and therefore please don’t email me about a work related thing and expect me to answer it right away.”

    6. DCompliance*

      I don’t really think it is unprofessional to say “I am taking off for my birthday” or “Everyone should have off for their birthday.” However, I have run into coworkers who are so excited for their birthday they don’t realize how many times they repeat these sentences which I see as equally annoying as anyone repeating the any sentence over and over again.

      1. An Amazing Detective-Slash-Genius*

        +1. I get that it only happens once a year but you can only mention it so many times before the reaction becomes “okay, uh what do you want me to do about it?”

        FWIW, birthdays are huge in my family at every age…we write personal messages in Hallmark cards for my grandparents, aunts/uncles/cousins, everybody. I get that not everybody is this way but there can be reasons other than perceived childishness for people to enjoy their birthdays.

    7. Snark*

      “It seems ridiculous to me that people can get excited about Christmas or Easter or Thanksgiving, but getting excited about a birthday makes people think you’re immature and unprofessional.”

      Because Christmas and Thanksgiving are traditionally holidays centered around family, and for a lot of families, it’s just about the only time all year they get to spend with their families. It’s not so much about you as it is about the togetherness and nostalgia and traditions. On the other hand, getting super worked about your own birthday is, by definition, getting super worked about a celebration that is exclusively about you, and it can come off as very self-centering for an adult to make a big deal about non-milestone birthdays.

      Now, that doesn’t mean that if you take the day off you’re self-absorbed, because I’ve taken a few birthdays off to take a hike and visit a brewery and generally do me stuff. But if you’re excitedly spamming your friends about your birthday week and planning big events, yeah, that can come off a little badly.

      1. bonkerballs*

        Quite honestly, I find it really sad to think it’s immature to want to celebrate ourselves.

      2. Delphine*

        Eh, I think that’s reading far too much into why a person might enjoy celebrating their birthday. And I say this as a person who has never celebrated a birthday.

    8. AnotherLibrarian*

      I tend to agree. I always take my birthday off and when people ask why I’m taking a vacation day mid-week, I often remark that it’s a birthday gift to myself. I don’t think there’s anything strange about this and I’m surprised how many comments seem to think birthdays should be super private or celebrating them as an adult is totally immature.

  10. I heart Paul Buchman*

    Well, I’ve learnt something. I always thought that X was between baby boom and 1980, Y was 1980-1995 or so and millenial was people born around the millenium (who would be 15-25 now).

    I wonder if your co-worker is under similar assumptions? I always thought millenial referred to ‘digital natives’ born with the internet and screens etc which certainly isn’t the case for those born in 1985. Doesn’t really excuse the behaviour but it probably does explain why they feel ok with forwarding these jokes to you.

    1. nunia b.*

      For a while, there was the term Echo Boomers. It was used for the children of the youngest Baby Boomers but the name didn’t seem to stick. So, that would mean they were born around 1980-1995, give or take a few years on each end of that range. Some of the characteristics of Echo Boomers are that most of them were raised in environments with pre-arranged play dates, group projects and peer counseling in schools, were heavily scheduled and programmed and protected by parents and other authorities,always wore a helmet while riding a bike (f0r example), and rarely allowed to go anywhere alone, etc., such that they are great team players but have little to no leadership or decision-making abilities.

      Echo Boomers are supposedly always looking for acknowledgement or permission from peers and colleagues, so they lack the desire to lead or have trouble stepping up to take charge of anything without gathering opinions from everywhere and constantly asking someone else what they should do. I remember in the early ’00s there were news specials and books written about Echo Boomers, and they said things like Echo Boomer kids don’t know what to do if they’re just left outside or somewhere alone. They would be perplexed if they couldn’t connect online with someone or do something as a group. Anyway, I remember all this from some news program that made it all seem so problematic.

      Since the term isn’t used anymore, I wonder which generation Echo Boomers are considered part of now? I guess they are part of the Millennials, but I admit I always think of Millennials as being 20s and younger. I’m surprised that Millennials includes the 30s. I was born in one of the last couple years of the Baby Boom generation. So, what is the current age of Gen X people now?

      1. AcademiaNut*

        The definitions are wildly variable, but Millennial seems to cover from 1980 to early 2000s birthdays (according to Wikipedia, the term was coined in 1987, referring to kids in preschool.) That means that the oldest Millennials are nearing 40 , and people are using “young people these days” terminology for people who are closer to menopause than puberty, and are old enough to be grandparents.

        I’m in my mid-40s, and am on the later part of GenX, whose definition stretches far enough to include people in their 60s.

        1. nunia b.*

          I just did a little reading around and most researchers and demographers say Gen X starts in 1965, although a few say it starts in 1960, which is the year I was born. I’m 58, so I don’t think anyone in their 60s would be Gen X, although I think of Kim Gordon as more Gen X than Boomer even though she’s 65 now. Now, I recall the Baby Boom was always cited as 1946 through 1962 or ’64, but now apparently there is the Generation Jones label for the youngest boomers like me. Gen Jones supposedly had “no defining political cause, as opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War had been for older boomers,” according to Wikipedia, but I don’t agree with that. When I was a kid, the Vietnam War was a huge part of my culture. We all wanted POW bracelets! We made anti-war posters and my mother’s cousin came home from Vietnam wounded. It affected us. I read Ms. Magazine as a teenager. Are they saying that political causes only affect a person as an adult? And musically, I was too young to go to Woodstock, but I wanted to! And we played the album at slumber parties. When I was in high school in the 70s, I felt like I was born too late to be a real hippie, whatever that meant. These days, I tend to date people who are younger, although oftentimes people around my age “get” me more than people of other ages. I don’t feel like I identify with any generational category – the whole concept of categorizing generations is weird and confusing!

      2. Clare*

        I have no idea where that description of “Echo Boomers” came from , but I was born in the 80s and literally nothing in that description is accurate.

        1. blackcat*

          Likely it came from criticizing our parents’ parenting.

          I do recall my age bracket (folks born in mid/late 80s) as being part of a “boomlet.” There were simply more children born in that time frame than either the 5-10 years proceeding or the 5-10 years after.

        2. aebhel*

          It’s a lot more true of wealthy/upper middle class people, and there’s a general cultural amnesia that anyone who isn’t wealthy/upper middle class even exists.

          (I was born in 1985 and none of that applies to me at all either, but I also grew up in a poor rural area, so.)

        3. Curly*

          This is probably a bit late, but when I was in university the generation following the boom was bust and then the echo was children of boomers. There was a book about it called Boom, Bust and Echo which was assigned to one of my classes.
          The bust generation turned into Gen X, made famous but the Douglas Coupland book..

      3. LJay*

        There are very few millennials under 20 now. Anyone under 18 would be Generation Z for sure.

        The definition of millennial I use is born from 1982-2000. Most definitions I see are somewhere around those numbers. I’m born in 1986 and I’ve never seen a definition of millennial that doesn’t include my age. (Though I do make claim to be in the Xennial or Oregon Trail Generation because I think there are significant differences in experience between people who remember the internet as something you logged off from and who didn’t have a cell phone until college age, never mind a smartphone, and kids who have grown up connected 24/7.)

    2. Project Manager*

      Millennial covers a wide range. I’m technically one, but I’m very different from the ones I know because my formative experiences were different. For example, I was an adult on 9/11 (a young adult, but an adult), while most millennials were in K-12. That’s a big difference.

      I prefer Generation Oregon Trail for my label. Younger than Gen X, older than millennials, don’t really fit with either. I was cleaning out my desk a while back and found the perfect example – transparencies that were compatible with inkjet printers. Old enough to have used transparencies in school but young enough to have printed them on an inkjet printer – that has got to be, what, a five-year age window?

      (And yes, I threw them out. Their time has passed.)

      1. Nye*

        Yes! The 1980 start date is so weird to me. I was born just after that, and definitely feel like I’m in a different generation/culture than people who grew up as digital natives. How that’s not the generational dividing line is bizarre.

        1. Nita*

          Yes. It feels a little weird for 20-somethings and 30-somethings to be lumped in the same group. It may have made sense back when most people were already “settled down” in many ways in their 20s, but these days it’s taking young people so much longer to get on their feet. For most of my friends, life in their 20s and in their 30s couldn’t be more different.

      2. blackcat*

        I actually do think that a logical generation dividing line here in the US would be folks who were old enough to be aware of pre 9-11 politics/ the pre 9-11 world order.

      3. Anononon*

        I was in middle school on 9/11, but I remember using transparencies throughout school, and we played Oregon Trail.

      4. buffty*

        I’ve heard the term “Xennial” for our generation (Oregon Trail, young adult on 9/11), and I’m partial to that label. I’m not quite old enough to be Gen X, but definitely participated in the tail end of the flannel/grunge days. I’m not quite young enough to feel like a Millennial, but I’ve been on the Internet since grade school.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          Yup – we had largely analog childhoods and digital adulthoods. I got my first email address and cell phone in college.

        2. Everdene*

          I’ve seen the Xennial generation and I kind of get it but not 100% convinced. As a xennial I would be in the same generation as my partner (5 years older) and I think we have a clear generarional shift between us – home ownership. This might be a UK thing but in his early/mid 20s my partner bought a house! By himself! He paid the deposit with an interest free credit card! I can think of no one my age who could have dreamt of doing that. His sister (3 years older than me) bought a house around the same time. By the time I was early/mid 20s getting on the housing ladder was an achievable dream, for one day. By the time my younger siblings hit mid/early 20s getting a job, let alone a mortgage, was a dream.

          Also I had a mobile phone/email address while still in school. He was an adult before then. He got student grants, I had loans. We’re different generations.

      5. Lexi*

        I was born in 1980, and I go with the Oregon trail or Xennial generation label too. The years for that are 1975 -1985.

      6. Snark*

        The Oregon Trail Generation buried their best friends Loser and Butthead outside Laramie. We forded the river – and lived. We didn’t buy any wagon wheels and we made it anyway. We seen some shit.

        1. hermit crab*

          I’m 32 and just realized that I got a Facebook account (ca 2005) before I got my first cell phone (ca 2007). (For the first couple years of college, I posted a list of four-digit on-campus phone extensions in my AIM away message for people who wanted to reach me. I was/am that cool.)

        2. Lizzy May*

          Does it make a difference if I got that facebook account back when you had to be in college/university to get one?

          1. Snark*

            It’s more like, did you complete the main body of your schooling when social media was a significant part of your social life or was social media more a part of your adult, post-school life? Because I think the experience of being a college or high school student when Facebook was a major thing fundamentally differentiates that cohort from those of us who got a FB account after we graduated.

            1. Tau*

              I’m not sure I’d lump “college” and “high school” into the same category, there. I got an FB account during college (same as Lizzy May, back when it was only recognised university e-mail addresses) and I’ve always felt this to be pretty different from what it would have been like to have it available in school. I may not have completed my schooling when FB became a thing, but I was still an adult.

              …although honestly I’m not sure I should be participating in the generation talk at all because I’m not sure how much sense it makes to apply them internationally to begin with.

      7. MissDisplaced*

        I consider Generation X to be born from 1965 to 1980. However, some older Millennials may find they align more with GenX if they were born in the early part of 80’s.
        Likewise, people born between 1960-65 may not really feel “Boomer.” For example, President Obama (born 1961) is technically considered a Boomer, but seems to exhibit much more of the GenX ethos than Boomer. When I think of Baby Boomers… it was being born post-WWII, growing up in the ’50’s and Vietnam that really defined that generation. But if you were only born in the 1960’s, well it’s unlikely you’d remember much about Vietnam as you would’ve been just a kid. I have a lot of friends born in that time period of 60-65 and they’re kind of a lost or in-between generation really. I suspect it’s the same with actual Millennials and GenZ, there’s a bit of overlap.

        1. Cat Herder*

          Born in 1960, which means I was 15 when Saigon fell. I assure you that I (and my sibs born between 1961 and 1965) remember the Vietnam War exceedingly well — it was on tv every night at dinner. People we knew (friends, neighbors, relatives, teachers, classmates) had family members who were drafted and served. We had POW bracelets. We wrote a weekly letter to my mom’s cousin serving in Vietnam and she read his letters to us. It was in the newspaper, magazines. It was discussed in school. I have a particularly distinct memory of My Lai when the coverup hit the media.

          Also remember very well King and Kennedy assassinations (not JFK, that’s too early), police riot at the democratic national convention in Chicago, race riots, anti-war movement, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta and the grape and lettuce boycotts, feminist movement and Title IX.

          It was pervasive, and it was formative.

        2. Kris*

          My husband and I are two years apart in age, but he’s technically a Baby Boomer (born in November 1964) while I’m a Gen X. He has nothing in common with Baby Boomers and if anyone refers to him as one he gets really touchy.

      8. KatieZee*

        I still have a box of inkjet printer transparencies… I can’t quite bring myself to throw them out because I remember how insanely expensive they were when I bought them. I should probably let that go.

        I do think that’s an interesting example of the “Oregon Trail” gen! I hadn’t thought about it, but that product did inhabit a strange niche of time where hand-written transparencies were viewed as less professional but digital presentations were still a rarity. I used them to present at conferences and in class during undergrad.

      9. tusky*

        I was a junior in high school on 9/11, but we definitely had transparencies printed on inkjet printers. This–technology–is the most interesting part of the generation classification subject. The term millennial seems to cover a really wide range of change in computational/communications technology, such that it feels an age difference of only a few years can mean drastically different experiences. I also think class must complicate the extent to which technology defines generations, especially around the edges (i.e. cell phones were just starting to become commonplace when I was in high school, so some people my age probably didn’t have one until they were an adult).

      1. tusky*

        Yes, I think these kinds of examples throw the utility of large generation classes into question. I’m 33, and I had email in high school, but also primarily made calls via land line or pay phone (until the end of high school, when I got a cell phone, and even then it was only used while out of the house, on a kind of emergency basis) and never saw a DVD player until college.

    3. Ender*

      I remember being told this too the first time I ever heard the term “millennial” it was in a presentation about marketing where it was used to refer to people born around the millennium. Gen Y was 1980 plus.

      But somewhere along the way it changed to mean “people who came of age around the millenium”. Which means “born around 1982” I guess, though I don’t know if there’s a more accurate deacription than that.

      And I haven’t heard anyone say “digital natives” in years. Though that used to be a descriptor too when I was doing my marketing module.

      All in all, it’s all a bit silly coz there is so much variation in people within each category that the categories don’t help all that much.

      The main difference in culture I’ve noticed is “people who had access to internet in their teens” versus “people who didn’t have access to internet until they were adults.” That’s the defining characteristic of the big culture shift between “gen x” and “millennial” in my experience. But the thing is it depends on parental income level as much as age – plenty of people in their 40s would have had access to the internet in their teens but would be classed as gen x and plenty of people in their 30s and even 20s didn’t have access until they were adults even though they might be considered millennials.

    4. megan*

      I’m 25, and I believe Millennial is roughly born between 1982ish-1996. Anything after 1999 I would say is firmly firmly generation z– those born completely tech intergrated (grew up with smartphones, wifi, tablets, and social media). I have a 13 year old sister and she and her friends and their lifestyle are totally different from mine. I’d say i feel more akin to a 32 year old than an 18 year old in terms of music, shows we watched, and childhood. but thats an opinion!

    1. Maggie*

      Oh good, it’s not just me. Whip can explain #4 to us? Is she going home because of her addiction? Is coworker calling her bf when she goes home early so bf will be suspicious and watch her/try to catch her (maybe) fall off the wagon? I’m so confused.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        Well, if she had a gambling addiction and was swinging by the casino on the way home…
        If you left early you theoretically wouldn’t come home late and therefore wouldn’t get caught.

        1. Ender*

          That’s what I thought – except she says her employer is encouraging her to go early and she has nothing to hide. Which implies her employer knows why she’s leaving early. I can’t see any employer encouraging someone to leave early to go feed their addiction so that’s what’s confusing me.

          Maybe she means her employer randomly tells her to go home early and on those days her coworker assumes she’s going to feed her addiction when she actually isn’t? It’s very confusing.

      2. another STEM programmer*

        I thought it could be something like shopping, maybe? Where the time she spent doing whatever the addicting thing is would be noticed, so if she left work early, then she could do the thing and get home around the same time she would if she had left at the usual time.

    2. Richard*

      The way I read it, it’s that the coworker is notifying/warning the boyfriend that the OP may be out engaging in the non-substance addiction if not home early.

    3. Daisy*

      I read it that the friend’s using concern about the substance addiction as an excuse to tattle to the boyfriend that LW4 left work early (and therefore passive-aggressively insinuate that she’s having difficulties she’s not telling him about).

    4. Rollergirl*

      My assumption is that it is a sex addiction so leaving early would maybe be to have rando sex with some dude from Tinder. Hence tipping off the boyfriend?

      1. Julia*

        See, I was thinking shopping – if OP cheats, the boyfriend should know, but tying in with the letter from yesterday or the day before, it’s probably not on co-workers to out her.

    5. SS Express*

      I think she means that the coworker is “tattling” to the boyfriend that she isn’t where he thinks she is and therefore might be sneaking off to do whatever she’s addicted to.

      1. Not Australian*

        Which also brings in the disturbing implication that co-worker considers the boyfriend to be OP’s ‘keeper’. Okay the addiction thing could just about stretch to provide a fig-leaf for this, but only if the co-worker was genuinely concerned about OP – which doesn’t seem to be the case.

    6. McWhadden*

      My take is the co-worker is telling the boyfriend because she assumes LW is indulging her addiction or, at least, wants BF to think that. Like the LW must be watched at all times.

    7. Anastasia von Beaverhausen*

      Shopping comes to mind. And ex friend is calling BF to rat out OP if she cuts out early to go to the mall.

      Sex addiction counts but substitute protitutes.

      Gambling and the race track.


    8. Les G*

      What folks are saying. The addiction gives her a plausible reason for “concern.”

      And, uh, to the few folks guessing what the addiction is: don’t you think there might be a reason she didn’t specify? And that reason was not because she wantef to hear your theories.

      1. Glomarization, Esq.*

        This. The nature of the addiction is wholly irrelevant to the problem and proposed measures to take at hand.

        1. Pollygrammer*

          Agreed. Although advice columns are inherently entertainment for readers as well as assistance for letter writers, I think we do need to remember that the letter writers are real people. Salacious, gleeful sleuthing (OMG is it gambling or sex??) is kind of awful.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Yep, the specific addiction is completely irrelevant to the issue. The OP either has it under control or doesn’t, and as Mommy MD said, it’s none of the cow-orker’s concern if it’s not affecting her work. I think the OP mentioned that it’s a non-substance addiction to indicate that it’s not an addiction where immediate health/life/death should be a concern, which might make it slightly more excusable to butt in.

      3. Jaydee*

        But isn’t this Family Feud? If we identify common non-substance addictions, don’t we win a prize?

      4. MissGirl*

        Yes, she doesn’t want us speculating and the specificity doesn’t matter to answering the question.

      5. Dr. Pepper*

        I read the comments on what it might be more as “what exactly IS a non-substance addiction?” because for most people, drugs and alcohol come to mind when the word “addiction” comes up. Addictions to shopping, gambling, sugar, sex, exercise, etc aren’t as well known or understood by people who have never experienced that manifestation of addiction.

    9. Delta Delta*

      My first thought was that maybe OP was going to a (Nonsubstance Addiction) Anonymous meting when she leaves. Why the coworker would call the boyfriend – regardless of the circumstance, isn’t clear.

      Because I can be a jerk, I might say to co-worker, “hey, I’m leaving early. I’m stopping at the gym on my way home. When you call boyfriend, could you ask him to pick up something for dinner?”

      1. Narise*

        Oh yes I would do this too! Add “when you call my boyfriend to tattle on me because you have nothing better to do, ask him to pick up something for dinner.’

    10. What's with today, today?*

      I have no idea what this question is about. I usually agree with Alison’s advice 100%, but if a report came to me and said “Please tell X to quit tattling about my leaving early to my boyfriend.” I would, well I don’t know what I would do, but I can’t imagine it being positive.

      1. What's with today, today?*

        Let me clarify. I don’t think this is a manager problem. I think this is a boyfriend and ex-friend problem. I do get that ex-friend is a co-worker, but this is too 8th grade to take to a manager, IMO.

      2. BethRA*

        Because X is harassing the OP? I agree that there is a boyfriend problem here, too, but it’s also a “coworker getting overly involved in someonelse’s business” problem.

        1. bonkerballs*

          Exactly. I would absolutely go to my manager if a coworker of mine kept harassing me and my boyfriend by contacting him to tell him my whereabouts.

  11. Observer*

    #4 I was wondering where you are going when you leave early, and why? But then I realized that that’s really a side point. The REALLY important point here is Why is your even having these conversations with ex-BFF? She’s being a nasty piece of work, to be sure. And, you should definitely tell her to knock it off, then ask your manager to tell her the same thing.

    But the fact that your BF is taking reports from her is very strange.

    1. Daisy*

      The LW might not be discussing anything with the ex-friend; she knew about the addiction from when they were friends, and now she notices when LW leaves work early.

      1. Observer*

        So? It doesn’t matter how the ex-BFF knows about it. It still is NOT her place to “report” to BoyFreind, and he should not be taking reports, either.

        1. Morning Glory*

          I think there was some confusion here because of a typo; your first statement seems to ask why the LW is talking to ex-BFF (hence Daisy’s response), not why the Boyfriend is talking to ex-BFF (which I think you meant).

    2. Rosemary7391*

      I don’t think we can surmise the Ex-BFF is a “nasty piece of work” from such a short letter that obviously has a whole lot of backstory missing.

      1. Lara*

        Reporting another adult to their partner in order to police their behaviour = nasty piece of work.

          1. Excel Slayer*

            Yeah. The BF shouldn’t be trying to ‘police’ OPs addiction by going behind their back and asking ex-bff to spy on them.

          2. Colette*

            If the OP wants help, that’s on her to ask. The boyfriend can’t fix the OP’s addiction, and he can’t even effectively help without her consent.

            1. Anon for This*

              Maybe it is something she asked him to do at some point, but is still resentful when he actually does it.

              It doesn’t make logical sense, but I get it.

              I have issues with spending money. I’ve asked my boyfriend to watch my spending, and made it so my debit card alerts go to his phone because I want to get my spending under control, and I felt like if I couldn’t hide or lie about what I am spending my money on it would help. I also wanted him to flag it for me if he saw I was spending money on unreasonable things or in unreasonable amounts.

              I do still bristle sometimes when he does flag things for me or ask me about it. Even when I asked him to do it. And even when he is right that I don’t need to be spending $150 on another piece of luggage when I already have too many pieces of perfectly good luggage and at the very least need to get rid of some of the old ones that I don’t like before I buy any more. And even when he is right that if I don’t cut some of my spending that he will always wind up paying for the bulk of things for our household and that’s not fair. It doesn’t make sense, but in the moment I really want that piece of luggage and I really resent him for calling me out on it even if I asked him to do it, and I resent myself for making that harder for me in the moment.

              I could see a situation where the OP, when she was feeling like she needed to do something to fix her addition issue, asking the (now-ex) friend to notify the boyfriend when she left work early for similar reasons. If boyfriend knows that she left early, he can check in and make sure she is not off doing whatever she is addicted to. But then, now that it is actually happening, she resents the friend and the boyfriend because she really wants to go do whatever it is (I mean she is addicted to it after all, the compulsion is strong) and this is making it more difficult.

              Thus the asking if it is against the rules or illegal for her to do this. If she asks boyfriend to stop talking the calls or the block the number completely or whatever, she has to have a larger discussion to discuss the addition issues with him, and admit that it’s so out of control that she doesn’t want to be stopped from doing it. If the friend has to stop because it’s against the rules or laws or whatever, then OP can continue thinking that she has the addition under control and didn’t stop the calls because she wants to go indulge the addition, she wanted the calls to stop because they were wrong and infringing on her freedom. And then when she does want to go indulge the addition on her way home after leaving early it’s just something that happened again just this once, and not something she purposely had to tear down part of her support network to make happen.

              “Slipping up just once”, and “I had a system in place to make this not happen. But I wanted to do it so much that I purposely dismantled the system in order to do it,” are two different levels and it’s harder to mentally excuse the first than the second.

          3. Ender*

            I think it’s a case by case basis honestly. If OP has her condition totally under control and hasn’t gambled or cheated or whatever in years, then you could say that ex-BFF must be a “nasty piece of work”.

            However if OP doesn’t have her addiction under control and her addiction is causing negative effects to the BF then I think BF has a right to know. For example I know a couple where the addict partner gambled away the mortgage money and ended up getting the other partner into debt as a result. OP and BF share a home so it’s entirely feasible she has got him into debt in the past if the addiction is gambling. Or as others have proposed if OP is leaving early to feed her sex addiction that would also be BFs business as she is potentially putting his life at risk by having sex with other partners and risking STDs.

            Given that BF apparently is taking the calls from ex-BFF, it seems pretty likely that OPs ex-BFF is still friends with BF and both are still concerned about OP. Adding to the fact that OP said she “struggles” present tense with her addiction, I think it’s more likely that BF and BFF are both still in “I can save them from their addiction” mode and haven’t yet accepted that the only person who can save an addict is themself.

            Looking at it from the other angle – imagine I had a friend who was an addict. They ruined their partners life but their partner forgave them. Somewhere along the way behaviour related to their addiction made me fall out with them, but I am still concerned about them and still friendly with their partner. When I think she is falling off the wagon I let partner know because 1 he is at risk from her activities and 2 we are both concerned about her and want to help her.

            1. Nita*

              That should still be between OP and the boyfriend. Unless the BFF is part of the relationship, they don’t know everything that goes on between them and should stay out. Having your own personal police officer sounds pretty hellish. OP doesn’t even mention what the addiction is or how serious it is, so she could be being put through this over nothing worse than an occasional shopping spree.

              1. Ender*

                She says that she “struggles” with addiction so it sounds like a lot more than an occasional shopping spree.

                I agree with you in one sense that it’s on the boyfriend to either acknowlege that OP is an addict and is not going to change and end the relationship, or else to allow her to be responsible for herself and tell the BFF to stop calling. However love is a funny thing and lots of people with the best of intentions end up feeling unable to end relationships with addicts and fall into the pattern of trying to police them and help them end their addiction. Usually it all ends in tears- usually the tears of the non-addict.

                Maybe my perspective is skewed because I’ve never had a serious addiction but I know lots of people who’ve suffered as a result of their partners or parents addiction. So I tend to side with the people who love addicts even when the addict keeps on putting their addiction ahead of their partner and kids. Loving an addict is an awful situation to be in and not I hope either OP gets over her addiction or else her BF gets out before the addiction destroys his life too.

                1. Ender*

                  Just realised that sounds pretty bad – I primarily hope OP gets over her addiction. However in the sad but statistically likely event that does not happen, then I hope BF gets out before it’s too late.

                2. Ender*

                  And full disclosure – I also have loved an addict and gone through a lot with them, so I definitely have less sympathy for addicts than someone with no experience of addiction at all.

                3. Delphine*

                  It helps to not read more into the letter than is there. The OP’s coworker informs OP’s boyfriend whenever she leaves the office. She does so under the guise of concern due to the OP’s addiction struggles. That’s the issue and that’s it. We don’t know if OP is currently struggling, if she asked BF to keep checks on her, if BF wants to keep checks on her, if their relationship is strained due to the addition–nothing. Your spiel about having less sympathy for addicts is unnecessary, irrelevant, and unwarranted. I don’t think a person who writes in and mentions struggles with addiction needs to read that kind of stuff.

                4. Lara*

                  I’m sorry Ender, that you went through a bad experience, however I need to correct your statement. Statistically the majority of addicts recover, and do so with zero treatment.

                  I think it’s extremely unfair to OP to label her a lifelong addict. I really am sorry that you went through a hard time and had a bad experience but your experience is not universal.

                5. Ender*

                  Well we do know that she struggles with addiction because it’s literally the first line of the letter. We also know that she has had what she calls “failures” which seem to be related to her addiction. So I don’t think I’m reading much into it that isn’t there.

                  either the BFF is acting out of malice or she’s acting out of concern. Given that we know OP is in the middle of addiction, that it seems the BF is happy to receive the calls, and that addicts are frequently in denial and interpret attempts to reduce access to their addiction as attacks on them, I think it’s more likely that the friend is acting out of concern than malice.

                  I agree the concern is pointless and all attempts to help an addict are useless unless they themselves want to change. But that doesn’t mean it’s malicious to try.

                6. Ender*

                  Also Lara, addicts that survive their addiction do recover because addiction seems to have a natural lifespan, but it usually takes a long time and typically leaves a trail of broken career, broken relationships and often broken families in their wake.

                7. Lara*

                  Again Ender; I sympathise with your pain but you are making wild generalisations about addicts at one end of the spectrum. I’m not bothered on a personal level but it’s rather unkind to OP. She is not identical to your ex because purely because she has an addiction. For all you know she’s on the mild / middling level and is doing pretty well.

                  But even if she wasn’t, her ex friend has zero standing to interfere in her life. It’s a massive violation of privacy and counter productive.

            2. Anon for This*


              If this was unwanted by the boyfriend, he could not take the calls, block the friend, change his number.

              If it was unwanted by the OP completely, why would she have allowed it to happen at all without flipping out on both the first time? Why would she introduce the friend to the boyfriend at all? Why would she not mention any issues with the relationship with the boyfriend in the post or dump him completely?

              Why is a problem that the ex-friend calls? Presumably if the OP is leaving on the up-and-up, not leaving work to indulge the addiction, and communicating with her boyfriend, it shouldn’t be a problem for him to know that she left work early. It doesn’t mean she definitely needs to tell her boyfriend exactly where she is, but a “left work early, not going to gamble, probably going to meet some friends for dinner” or whatever isn’t that invasive.

              And if he is abusive, and she is leaving work early to go to a support group that will help her leave him or something A. She probably would have mentioned those two factors in the message to Allison, and B. She has bigger problems than the ex-friend giving out her location.

              Plus, you would think a friend of 20 years would generally side with you in most things, rather than ratting to your boyfriend, unless they had a good reason to.

              Those factors, plus mentioning that she struggles current tense, and that the friend takes pleasure in her failures so apparently there have been failures, makes me really think that the poster is in the active throes of addition and looking to indulge in it and is being outed by these calls.

              I mean, obviously this is all wild speculation.

              But I would really be interested in knowing the details of the falling out with the friend of 20 years, the circumstances under why these calls started (who initiated the arrangement), where the OP is going when she leaves work and why it is a problem for her boyfriend to be notified, etc. Those bits of information would paint a lot fuller picture.

              Like, yeah, maybe the friend is overly invasive, and the boyfriend is controlling enough to seek out/take this information and run with it, and the OP has been clean for a year and is surrounded by shitty people. (Again, in that case she has bigger problems than these calls and should probably be looking for a new job and a new boyfriend).

              But without the details it could be either situation or anything in between and it’s hard to make any sort of call on this without the background.

              1. Lara*

                Having another adult police you is a massive intrusion. OP says they used to be friends which is presumably how they know each other.

                I agree with you though in that I’m massively side eyeing the boyfriend. If a friend of my partner called me every time he left work early i’d tell them to get a life and lose my number. Him indulging this is… worrisome.

                1. Ender*

                  I’d say his “indulging” this is a clear indicator that he is worried about his girlfriend and her addiction and wants to try to help her.

          4. Lara*

            Yes. Deputising a co-worker to spy on your partner is extremely bad behaviour. Taking it upon yourself to police a former friend is almost as bad.

        1. Yorick*

          I think it’s super inappropriate behavior, but it could really come from a misplaced desire to help. OP and boyfriend should tell the coworker to stop doing this.

      2. Dove*

        Well, there’s a reason she’s an *ex*-BFF and the LW does state that the ex-BFF “takes pleasure in [her] failing”. So we can reasonably assume that the ex-BFF isn’t a cinnamon roll.

      3. Les G*

        The OP says her friend takes pleasure in her failing. I’m pretty comfortable surmising that such a person is a nasty piece of work.

    3. Les G*

      To be fair, we don’t know what the boyfriend’s response to these reports is. The only data we have is that Ex-BFF makes them.

  12. McWhadden*

    I am so not a birthday person. But unless there’s more this should be left alone. She’s not being particularly unprofessional. She is excited and has mentioned it once too many times. Everyone does that sometimes when they are hyped about something.
    And the woman in my office most excited about her birthday every year (or birth month she says) is in her 50s. It’s not an age thing.

    1. Les G*

      I agree that being excited about one’s birthday is not limited to a particular age group, but the optics of spreading the birthday joy around the office may be less kind to a younger employee.

      1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

        I’d give younger employees more of a pass on birthday joy than older ones because they haven’t had many yet. The tiresome ones are 50 plus and still want their birthday acknowledged like an 8 yr old.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          People so young they can give their age without having to first stop and do math. (Which in my experience kicks in mid-20s.)

        2. bonkerballs*

          Personally, I find it tiresome when we decide older people aren’t allowed to enjoy things anymore.

    2. BeenThere*

      My MIL gets pretty obsessed with her birthday. She tells everyone it’s coming up. She has done this as long as I’ve known her (a loooooong time). She also likes to announce how many cards she got. At this point, I think it just makes her feel wanted. She is elderly and doesn’t get out as much as she once did. She gets a pass (from me) on this.

  13. Liza*

    LW2, if this is a role you’re particularly interested in, but that tends to vanish quickly due to popularity, it might be worth putting together a standard set of materials for applications. Keep your portfolio regularly updated if your industry has a tendency to require them, and save a template of any other supporting materials based on the person spec for this job. That way, if a similar role comes up again, you don’t have to worry about spending days putting your application together, and you can just rattle it off with minimal amendments.

  14. babblemouth*

    LW1: my team is made up mostly of millennials, and we decided the best way to fight the stereotypes is to mock them. We’re collecting all weird headlines we come across (latest: “Millennials killed mayonnaise”) as well as stock photos of what millennials are supposed to be doing, and put them up on a wall. People stopped mocking us now – or at least they’re laughing with us, not at us.

    This won’t work if your office environment isn’t casual obviously, but if it is, it’s quite a fun way to make a point.

    1. Early30sMillenial*

      Oh GOD the mayo article. The headline is bad enough, but it turns out that it’s also got a nice thick veneer of racism on it (“millennials don’t want white foods! they want ethnic foods! HOW DARE”) for extra wtf.

      For those who enjoy tabletop games, check out the microgame Millenials Are Killing (linked in my name). Makes fun of this whole ridiculous trend.

      1. Baby Fishmouth*

        The mayo thing was also weirdly sexist! I burst out laughing at this line: MY SON JAKE, who’s 25, eats mayo. He’s a practical young man who works in computers and adores macaroni salad. He’s a good son. I also have a daughter. She was a women’s and gender studies major in college. Naturally, she loathes mayonnaise.

        1. an infinite number of monkeys*

          The daughter shall remain nameless!

          I’m Gen X, but if there’s a feminist anti-mayo club, I want in.

          1. Kat in VA*

            Oh god, me too. Mayo is the devil’s sauce. I can tolerate it in something (like tuna fish) but as a condiment?


            1. Allison*

              Right, I don’t mind a minimal amount in a lobster roll (I prefer the warm kind with drawn butter, but they’re not as common and usually more expensive, so I’ve learned to like the cold kind with mayo), but one of the reasons I hate catered lunches with sandwiches is that most of the sandwiches have mayo on them, or mustard which I also dislike.

        2. Bea*


          I just now, pushing 35, accept mayo on occasion. Because my dad’s tuna was 95% mayo, no thanks.

          Mayo based salads are mega trash.

      2. Erin*

        I’m white and technically a millennial. I’ve hated mayo my entire life. It’s made with vinegar, vinegar is disgusting and only good for cleaning up grease. I don’t buy mayo because my husband doesn’t really care for it either. Why bother buying something you’re not going to eat and just waste? Plus I’ve known so many people to get food poisoning from bad mayo, that I have no desire to give it a second try.

      3. babblemouth*

        When I first saw the title of that piece I thought for sure it would be a heavily tongue-in-cheek article mocking the whole genre. Nope. It was serious.

      4. Mockingdragon*

        Holy cow, thank you for that. I’m CRYING.

        “Anytime a Millennial player receives a Trophy, all other Millennial players will receive Participation Trophies, which are mechanically indistinguishable from Trophies, but we know they are unearned.”

    2. Pollygrammer*

      Alexandra Petri wrote an “opinion piece” in the Washington Post called “I am sorry for killing everything: A millennial’s confession.” It is hilarious.

      “They would be made to suffer. I would murder everything they loved. First, the nuclear family. Then, golf. Then, the American Dream.”

      1. Lizzy May*

        Yep. I’m killing diamonds, mayo, the car industry, bar soap, cereal, cruises, and napkins. (And just so you don’t think I’m a gross person, I use cloth napkins at home because it’s cheaper and less wasteful.)

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          … How are they killing cereal? If you are busy doing electronic stuff, cereal is easy to make with one hand.

          In fact, I think I recall MIT’s gaming box included cereal as the obvious thing to eat in a 20 hour RPG campaign.

          1. Mockingdragon*

            Apparently, cereal requires using dishes that have to be cleaned, and we’re too lazy for that.

    3. Justin*

      I wish we could kill mayonnaise. What awful stuff.

      My coworker slathers her fish with a giant helping of mayo every day and I wanna die.

      But that’s a good idea.

    4. Angela Ziegler*

      My friend group of millennials do this all the time. We joke about avocado toast, the death of the golf industry, and why you don’t need to buy paper napkins when paper towels will do just fine.

    5. Hipper than Thou*

      Wannabe’s try to fool us by substituting “aioli” for mayonnaise. However, those of us in the know know that nothing beats fresh home-made-from-scratch mayonnaise. (That poison sold in bottles belongs in a landfill.)

    6. Dr. Pepper*

      That article was just ridiculous. I couldn’t even finish reading it. That said, I’m a Millennial and I love mayo! I don’t glop it indiscriminately on everything, and honestly I tend to avoid the mayo based foods at picnics because, uh, lots of mayo out in the sun on a hot day equals a nasty trip to the loo later. But I put it on sandwiches and have a modest amount in tuna salad and make flavored aolis to go on hamburgers. The best is when I can get it together and make my own. It’s actually really easy and worlds better than anything off the shelf.

  15. Mommy MD*

    Obnoxious coworker is not your boss I’d tell him straight up “I don’t want to hear about millennials again”. If he continues, “why are you so obsessed with this? It’s weird”.

  16. NYWeasel*

    With OP#1, I really think this calls for the patented Miss Manners technique of purposely not understanding the joke and forcing him to explain it out to you until it becomes super awkward for him.

    1. Indie*

      I was thinking the same thing:
      “I don’t understand I thought automatics came in much earlier anyway?”
      “So are they saying that everyone under 40 regularly takes selfies, or are they saying these particular girls made a faux pas. Both things can’t be true. Confused?!”
      “Is my understanding of millenial correct? Your latest joke make me think so. I thought it now refererred to most people under 40. Thoughts?” Followed up with “then I don’t understand the joke”

      No one wants to be constantly explaining their jokes!

      1. Washi*

        I’ve found that this works really well if it’s a peer or someone you have some authority over – as a volunteer coordinator, I used basically the socratic method on volunteers who made iffy statements, particularly about race, that I wanted them to think through a little more without putting them immediately on the defensive.

        But when I changed jobs and tried to use it on my boss’s comments about various groups of people, and I just got a lot of glares and eye rolls. I think it just came across as insubordinate and made her think that I was dense and had a bad attitude, not that she should rethink her comments. I ended up settling on “hmm, I haven’t found that to be true” + subject change, which at least allowed me to register my disagreement before moving on.

    2. Pollygrammer*

      My technique is to go with a Homer Simpson-style tenuously related and factual statement in a tone of daydream-y inattention.

      “Agree” with him:

      “…yes, a millennium is a thousand years

      “Yes, people are born in years.”

      “That’s true, people do sometimes do and say things.”

      1. Katniss*

        Or really turn it around and quote Homer on older folks:

        “Old people need to be isolated and studied so it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be of use to us!”

        Note: don’t do this.

      2. LW #1*

        “That’s true, people do sometimes do and say things.”

        OMG, thank you, but now I’m just stifling giggles at my desk

  17. The Commoner*

    #5 I think LW should NOT have a “career limiting behavior” discussion with this employee for being excited about her birthday. Seriously over reacting. If I were an employee that would come across horribly, especially if I’m from a family/background that puts more emphasis on those days. Be annoyed personally and keep it to yourself….because unless said person is disrupting the work environment which is probably indicative of some other issues.

    Yesterday was my birthday. In our team meeting I was outed by another coworker to the team (meaning I didn’t broadcast it). After the happy birthday statements, several members of the team asked why I was working (and hadn’t taken the day off). My reply included how I would have missed our team bonding and that it was the only day I was in town to claim my Starbucks free item.

    1. Erin*

      honestly I’d prefer not to work on my birthday. But it’s not the end of the world if I must. It’s nice to use an extra day off to do whatever you want. It’s kinda like a scheduled mental health day, and if you dread getting older gives you something to look forward too. Even if it’s just sleeping in and not commuting to work.

  18. I Am Still Furious!!*

    #4 – I’d like to give my take on this. As someone who was married to someone with a gambling addiction, I can tell you being in a relationship with someone who has an addiction is exhausting. Addicts lie, cheat, steal, and do whatever they can, no matter who it hurts, to chase their addiction.

    It’s entirely possible the OP’s boyfriend has contacted ex-BFF and asked her to tell him when the OP leaves early so he’s aware of it. We are all assuming ex-BFF is just out of the blue calling the boyfriend, and while that could be true, the opposite is also likely. My experience taught me that even if my husband was seemingly following a schedule, often times he was off gambling when I thought he was working, and I’d find out when someone said, oh hey, I saw “John” in Anytown the other day, it was good to see him. Of course, I thought he was anywhere else but there. Yes, I also reached out to people to ask them if they saw him in a certain establishment to let me know. When I caught him gambling, he was angry and would ask how I knew he was there. I didn’t tell him, but that’s how he felt – not upset that he was gambling again, but mad at whoever “told on him”.

    As far as the ex-BFF, addicts burn through friends and family pretty quickly, usually borrowing money and either not paying it back or taking forever to do so. There’s always an excuse. Or they steal from friends and family, and in my experience, the friends become fewer and far between the longer the addiction lasts.

    I’m not excusing anyone’s behavior here – just pointing out there could be something else at play than the ex-BFF taking pleasure in the OP’s failure and taking it upon him or herself to call BF.

    And if you’ve been following my posts on the weekend, yes, I filed for divorce, I just can’t and won’t deal with his addiction any longer.

    1. WS*

      This is true, but it’s still tattling on an adult’s behaviour, and if it’s arranged between the ex-BFF and the boyfriend, it’s even more important that the OP addresses it. There absolutely could be other things at play, but the OP gets to decide that for themselves.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      IASF, you know I have all the sympathy for you and all the disdain for your ex, but the OP and BF are dating, not married, so if he has such strong concerns about her addiction that he’s violating her trust by talking with ex-BFF behind the OP’s back, he probably should at least take a break if not actually break up with the OP, or else trust that she has it under control and block ex-BFF’s calls/texts/emails. If they’re really serious he could try couples counseling, but outside monitoring without the addict’s permission doesn’t work, because it means the addict isn’t invested in their own recovery. Now, if the OP had asked people to keep an eye on her and try to get through to her if she starts to spiral, then that might work. But that’s not what’s happening here.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Outside monitoring without the addict’s permission doesn’t work, because it means the addict isn’t invested in their own recovery.

        This. It means trust is dead, and so you should start redefining the relationship to be something not based on trust. LW and this guy are not married, presumably don’t have children together–don’t date someone you can’t trust.

      2. Turquoisecow*

        Yes, exactly. If you don’t have trust in the relationship, the relationship is not going to work out. If the BF is soliciting these reports, he needs to own up to OP. If he’s not, he either needs to tell the ex-BFF to cut it out or admit to OP that he values the information, and therefore doesn’t trust her to manage her own recovery.

        If she isn’t managing her recovery, that’s another conversation, but what definitely won’t help is knowing that her every move is being watched and commented on. The BF needs to either trust her or not trust her, but not pretend that she’s trustworthy while getting reports from her coworkers.

    3. MusicWithRocksInIt*

      My mother is an alcoholic – and it can be so hard to find the weird fuzzy line between trying to control the addiction and controlling the behavior of an adult who should be able to make her own choices. There is a point where you start to treat them like a child because you are so, so frustrated that they cannot control themselves and you can loose track of what it would look like from the outside and how much freedom you are taking away. But then when you ease up and treat them like an adult all they want to do is go back to the addiction. It is exhausting and heartbreaking and a very, very hard line to walk. I really don’t have any advice, this is not a game I have won, but the ex-BFF and the boyfriend may be seeing this in a totally different light and may have lost track of social norms when it comes to this situation.

    4. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I had the same thought about boyfriend enlisting ex-BFF’s help. If that is the case, OP has a boyfriend problem, not a work problem.

    5. Holly*

      I had the same thought as you, as someone having a family member who is an addict. It doesn’t sound like he ex-BFF is necessarily in the wrong or that the BF doesn’t want this info!

      Also, best of luck to you I’m happy you’re taking the action you need.

      1. Lara*

        It does though, in every scenario. Take out that she has an addiction, the severity of which we have no idea, and this is classic domestic abuse, with the collusion of outside parties.

    6. EPLawyer*

      You handled things best for you. You did what you did until you are sick and tired of it.

      But for some people it is better to realize the trust is gone already and not seek out validation that you cannot trust the person. If you are at the point that you need others to keep tabs on your significant other its time to get out. Not continue to keep tabs on an another adult.

      If Boyfriend is at that stage, he needs to get out. Not continue to find proof that the LW can’t be trusted.

      Plus we don’t know if the person is indulging the addiction or not. SHe says all leaving early is approved by manager. So I guess it’s okay to leave. It is not someone else’s job to then police it.

    7. I Am Still Furious!!*

      Thank you for the comments – I do understand this, it’s not OK that a coworker is providing info to the BF, and the OP has every reason not to approve of it. I was trying to provide another perspective as to why this is happening past the ex-BFF taking joy in the OP’s perceived failure.

    8. hbc*

      I thought this scenario (coworker and BF coordinating) was pretty likely too—if some busybody from work was telling my husband about my comings and goings, he’d have blocked their number by incident 3 after giving them an earful.

      OP, if this is true, you are going to be limited in how you can address this at work. “Jane is using the number she obtained years ago to make harassing calls to my partner about my work schedule” doesn’t throw any shade on you. “Jane is helping my boyfriend keep tabs on me, and I can’t get my boyfriend to stop, so I want you to fix it for me” is going to move you a notch down in your manager’s eyes.

      As a manager, I would still tell Jane to knock it off, so you have to decide whether keeping an untrusting boyfriend and cutting off his info supply is worth the professional hit.

      1. LJay*

        Yeah, absent all the other stuff, as a manager, if this was brought to my attention I would absolutely asks for it to stop. And the first phrasing would be much more effective on me than the second.

        I don’t necessarily think the boyfriend is in the wrong for wanting this info, or that the exfriend is in the wrong for giving the info, but as a manager that isn’t mine to arbitrate.

        A coworker giving any third party information about an employee’s work schedule without that employee’s explicit, contemporaneous permission is mine to deal with, so it would be dealt with.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          I would want to know if boyfriend had expressly requested that the phone calls stop. Kind of like that letter where the boss was texting the wife and waking her up and she was mad. If the contact is unwanted, then yes, it’s mine to deal with, but if boyfriend doesn’t mind or actively solicits the information, that makes it a lot stickier.

    9. AnonSurvivorVictim*

      Being informed on by someone you (used to) trust is a heady violation. Knowing that someone you trust such as family is hearing those things is another sort of violation. Trying to reconcile all of that later on is something I’m still working towards.

      My perpetrator was contacting my family to tell them that I’m an addict and alcoholic when I am neither and have never had issues with substances or alcohol. “She’s at the bar again” or what have you. I might occasionally joke about my job driving me to drink or needing a drink because of something, but that doesn’t mean I’m actually going home and consuming alcohol. The only drugs I’ve ever taken are prescribed by doctors or OTC for allergies or colds. The closest thing I have to an addiction is puppy and kitten photos/videos and reading.

      1. Snickerdoodle*

        Gross. My ex told his friends I was consuming far more alcohol than I was because it made the breakup my fault. He left out the part where he was verbally abusive and I dumped him.

      2. Observer*

        That’s sick. But, the OP actually *does* have a problem. So there is a bit of a difference here.

        It’s still not the right way to handle it, but it’s a different class of violation.

    10. Not a Mere Device*

      I have a lot of sympathy with you too, but when it gets to “my spouse/datefriend is lying to me regularly about something I wish they wouldn’t do,” I think the right answer is either “I’m breaking up with you” or, if there are legal or practical entanglements (like a shared home), talking to a lawyer about how best to break it off.

      If I ask my friends or partners to keep an eye on some aspect of my behavior (whether it’s drinking, gambling, or remembering to pay the electric bill), that’s cool. If they take it on themselves, that starts to be iffy. If it gets to “we all know Not A Mere Device has a problem, so I’m going to call her partner and tell him she left work early, in case she’s slipping” that’s very iffy.

      This one is clearly over (my idea of) the line of inappropriateness because LW not only hasn’t asked for that sort of checking in, she clearly doesn’t want it. Explicitly or not, those reports position the boyfriend as the adult/authority figure; the ex-BFF may also be trying for that sort of role, calling “home” to say that the LW might have been doing something wrong when she “should have” been at work, even though her manager was fine with her leaving because they were overstaffed.

      1. Snickerdoodle*

        Yep. If your spouse/datefriend is lying to you regularly despite repeated discussions, counseling, etc. it’s time to leave. It doesn’t have to involve an addiction; lying is a problem that isn’t likely to limit itself to one topic. (E.g. ex of mine lying to me about how much time he spent hate-following a former toxic friend online, etc. Unsurprisingly, he lied to me about a bunch of other stuff as well.)

        There’s no indication that the OP has been lying about the addiction to the boyfriend, but if that has happened, I could understand the boyfriend wanting to know what she’s up to even though that’s inappropriate. Still, though, it sounds very much as though the coworker is trying to rat out the OP to the boyfriend for sheer drama, and the boyfriend needs to tell her to stop, block her number, etc.–or if he’s encouraging and escalating that behavior, it may be time to move on from the relationship. As somebody else said, the OP has a boyfriend problem, not a coworker problem.

      2. Lara*

        It would be a violation even with people who cared about OP; the fact that this person is an ex friend makes it a lot more skeevy.

    11. Ender*

      This post reminded me of you. I’ve known a couple of addicts in real life and I tend to take their descriptions of situations related to their addiction with a large serving of salt. Denial is a powerful thing!

    12. Nita*

      That sounds terrible, and I see where you’re coming from. But the answer when you don’t trust someone to this point should be divorce (unfortunately), not a private police force made up of the people close to them.

      At least, that’s my take coming from a somewhat controlling relationship. I suppose that if my other half was a really awful person, he could paint our disagreements as “me being an addict” (though you’d laugh if you knew what I’m addicted to!) and ask people to police when I leave the office “for my own good so I don’t get fired.” And because he is a bit controlling, and the only way I can hold on to my mental health is sometimes doing my own thing without his knowledge, this possibility is hair-raising. I can’t even imagine how trapped and hopeless that would feel.

    13. Anon for This*

      Yeah, I mentioned this above.

      I struggle with – I wouldn’t say compulsive shopping, but impulsive shopping definitely. To the point where I will overspend and not be able to cover my bills sometimes, leaving my boyfriend to have to cover me.

      I don’t want to do this.

      So I asked my boyfriend if he would be willing to monitor my spending and call out if he sees me blowing too much money on stuff I don’t need. I initiated this. I took his phone and made it so he sees my debit card alerts.

      I still resent it when he sees the alerts and calls me out on buying things that I don’t need. And I get defensive. I’m not happy I was stopped in the moment, I’m annoyed I got caught, or annoyed that I can’t go out and buy a laptop or whatever because I know I will get caught in the system I made for myself.

      I think it’s entirely possible that the OP may have asked for this arrangement herself at some point. Or entirely possible that the boyfriend did.

      And really, if the ex-friend took pleasure in her failing, why would she be calling the boyfriend to give him an heads-up rather than just letting the failure happen for her to be smug about after the fact?

      1. Lara*

        Or, alternatively, OP is absolutely fine and ex BFF likes to stir trouble by implying that OP is relapsing every time she goes to run an errand or put some laundry on. And OP then has to go home and justify her whereabouts even though it was all innocent. Bear in mind that usually, when a person is constantly monitoring and policing another person, we call that domestic abuse, not ‘care’.

      2. Pibble*

        I think if something as significant as “I asked exBFF to do this some time ago, but now no longer want it” was in play, the OP would have mentioned it in the letter! (It’s possible the boyfriend went behind OP’s back to conspire with exBFF to keep tabs on OP, but if that’s the case, it’s not an excuse for exBFF’s behavior — BOTH boyfriend and exBFF are acting entirely inappropriately in that scenario.)

        Also, I assume the reason exBFF tattles immediately is so she can get the drama stirring and smug feeling about OP’s perceived failings every time OP leaves early, since she’s no longer BFF and therefore can’t actually know the actual details of OP’s life.

  19. MuseumChick*

    #1, I would be so hard for me to not respond to the video with something like “Wow, yup, typical baby boomer. They just hate it when anyone under 40 does literally anything. ”

    Honest, that I know its probably a bit passive aggressive but this is the kind of attitude I would have towards anything he says against millennials, flip it around, also using a neutral tone of course.

    1. Pollygrammer*

      “Those lousy millennials, with all their killing mayonnaise and their not obnoxiously mocking other generations.”

    2. Holly*

      I’d be careful with this. Federal age discrimination laws kick in at 40, so a comment about a baby boomer could run afoul of that while a comment about millennial a wouldn’t.

    3. Iden Versio*

      I’ve definitely done this with some unpleasant relatives who bemoaned the state of “young people these days.” It was particularly satisfying to see them scrambling for a response. But yes, it’s passive aggressive and should be used sparingly and on the right audience.

  20. Lady Jay*

    I’m in higher ed. My birthday is in early May. During finals, usually. I have spent the past ten or so birthdays grading stacks of papers.

    Birthdays just aren’t what they used to be, y’all.

    1. Nessun*

      Agreed! Work in accounting, birthday in late March…time off is Not Gonna Happen. I can deal with that.

    2. Iden Versio*

      My last few birthdays have been truly awful, so I don’t make a big deal out of them (I’m 26, so I’m probably somewhat close in age to the coworker in OP’s Letter). It’s a bit eye roll worthy, but I would let it go unless it gets to the level of Kelly Kapoor birthday-esque obsession.

  21. Taryn*

    A really cool perk of my current job (and one I’ve never seen elsewhere) is that we aren’t allowed to work on our birthdays. If you’re hourly fully time, you get 8 hours of holiday pay and the day off, and if you’re part time you get 4 hours of holiday and the day off. Sounds like the employee from #5 should come work with me, because not only is her oponion super valid at my company, it’s a mandatory part of our culture lol

    1. BeenThere*

      I know people that celebrate half-birthdays too. Can you get a half day off for that!? LOL

      1. CMart*

        I buy myself a half-cake for my half-birthday and bring that into the office. It’s a tradition I keep hoping will catch on with others so there will be more cake around, but alas I’m the lone weirdo.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          I like that idea lol. Any excuse for more cake!

          We acknowledged half-birthdays growing up because my brother and I have birthdays almost exactly 6 months apart so we would usually each get one gift during the other’s birthday celebration. I still have a pretty clear memory of my brother opening a present on his birthday and pulling out a dress and my dad was like “oh, huh, is that not your size? I guess we’ll just have to give it to MCMonkeyBean.” I thought that was a pretty cute tradition. Thanks, dad!

  22. Kanye West*

    “Sansa, I am very happy for your birthday and imma let you finish. But Arya had one of the best birthdays of all time … of all time!”

  23. Bookworm*

    #5: Setting aside the age thing (which could certainly play a part of it), I get suspicious of people who insist on making a really big deal about of their birthdays. There are certainly exceptions (a milestone, they’ve had a hard year and maybe they were looking at the possibility they weren’t going to see their next birthday, etc.), but I’ve found these types are very “ME ME ME” even outside of their birthdays. My own anecdotal story that has nothing to do with anything but I’d wonder if that is reflected in her work ethic, too.

    Good luck with that.

    1. Delta Delta*

      Adding to this. I had a very good friend in college (whom I love dearly, then and after all these years) who was very sheltered and immature when she arrived. Her birthday was in November. For the first 3 months of school, every conversation was peppered with things like, “guess what’s happening in 46 days!” Finally someone said something like, “so, you’ve been talking about this a lot. Are you hiring a marching band, or something?” By the 4th year she was comfortable and the birthday chatter subsided to just the week before her birthday. It seemed pretty clear this was all rooted in her insecurity. It was still sort of bothersome, though.

      On the other hand, I remember her birthday every year.

    2. MLB*

      Yeah, I don’t think it has anything to do with her age, I think it has to do with the fact that she’s a person who craves attention. Personally I would just ignore her when she mentions it – if you don’t give her the attention, she (hopefully) will stop. I don’t like being the center of attention, but I will joke around with my husband, my dad or a close friend and tell them “hey it’s my birth month/week” or “you only have X number of days to buy my gift”. But doing it at work with people you aren’t particularly close to screams “Pay attention to MEEEEEEEE”.

    3. Indie*

      Certainly very possible, but wouldn’t this be more obvious from year round ‘me, me, me’ statements, than from once a year birthday comments? Making a fuss of yourself once a year would be the opposite of that.

      1. CMart*

        “Making a fuss of yourself once a year would be the opposite of that”

        Oh hello– you’ve pinpointed exactly why I get hyped about my birthday. Since I’ve rarely had the luxury to take the actual day off (I do when I can!) I recognize a Birthday Week and treat myself to all the things I don’t during the rest of the year. I think getting my nails done is frivolous, but hell, it’s my birthday week! Going out for lunch instead of brown-bagging it is a quick way to overspend, but it’s my birthday week!

    4. Justin*

      I can see why people think that.

      As a child, I lived far from school, and (mostly due to racism and classism) other parents wouldn’t really let people come to my house for playdates, but they made an exception for my birthday party. So it was the one day a year I felt embraced by my peers. It remains important to me.

      So maybe let’s not assume.

    5. Ja'am*

      Another point of view could be that she has not had the opportunity to celebrate her birthday much up until now (due to busyness, poverty, mental holdbacks, etc.) and is really excited to finally be able to do something.

      Personally, I have had a hard time most of my life in dealing with celebrating my birthday (bullying, insecurity,and general feelings of worthless/”I don’t deserve it”) and I’m finally getting to a point where I am feeling better and getting more comfortable about it. I do see how it would be annoying when someone keeps bringing up anything unsolicited, especially when it’s a privilege not many people in your audience has, but I think I would feel even worse than I had before if someone chastised me for being excited about my birthday or tried to take that excitement away from me.

      Certain comments like saying everyone should take their birthday off, should be addressed if need be, OP5. But this is not all in all an egregious offense, please try to let it go if you can.

    6. McWhadden*

      I don’t think that’s always the case. Some people just want someone to be happy or excited about.

    7. MCMonkeyBean*

      I like to make a deal out of birthdays in general, whether mine or those of the people closest to me, just because that’s what we did in my house growing up. My dad was the type to fill your room with balloons while you were sleeping or put stickers that say “You’re super seven now!” on every surface of the house. So now I am the type of person to wake up two hours early to decorate the house and make a Steven Universe themed “Together Breakfast” on my husband’s birthday.

      I know that my husband’s family was different so if I want to celebrate my birthday in a significant way it’s probably up to me to plan it (I was a little irritated with him that one year he didn’t even think to get me any cake though. C’mon husband, you know how much I love any reason to eat cake!). I wouldn’t expect other people in my office to care but I would probably still mention that my birthday was coming up and that I was excited if we were talking about weekend plans or whatever. I am a very excitable person and I love holidays, and as a non-religious person the two holidays I care about the most are Halloween and birthdays.

  24. tango*

    #4: why isn’t the boyfriend shutting this all down by telling the coworker when she calls to stop calling him because he doesn’t care what she says, to never call him again and then hang up? He can then block her number. That seems a reasonable step at this point to do to stop unwanted contact. Or is the boyfriend fine with the calls but it’s the OP who wants them to stop?

    1. Snickerdoodle*

      Yep. As others have said, the OP has a boyfriend problem, not a coworker problem. I agree that he needs to have the OP’s back and shut that down. If he doesn’t have her back and respect those boundaries, the relationship is in serious trouble.

      1. Pibble*

        To be fair, we have exactly zero knowledge of how the boyfriend is responding. It’s possible that he’s not backing OP up, but it’s also possible that he needs to be able to contact exBFF for legitimate reasons, and she’s using that connection to try to stir drama, despite his attempts to shut it down. The possibility that he’s part of the problem is definitely something OP should consider, but let’s not throw him under the bus with absolutely no evidence.

        And even if OP has a boyfriend problem, she also has a coworker problem. There is absolutely no excuse for someone to keep tabs on a coworker for the coworker’s boyfriend. ExBFF has serious judgement and boundary issues and that shouldn’t be swept under the rug because it’s possible the boyfriend might also be contributing.

  25. Delta Delta*

    It sounds like the people in both Letter 1 and Letter 5 need a small dose of, “oh, knock it off.” Maybe it’s just me (and there has been no way I have been able to write this without sounding like a curmudgeon), but people who go on and on about the same topic can be a little bit boring. Eventually the only way I can deal with this is either to say, “hey, knock it off” or to just walk away entirely when the topic starts.

    1. BeenThere*

      Or “Yes, so you’ve said…” as you roll your eyes and walk away. (FTR, I don’t even mention my birthday at work. I just hit a milestone and I never said a word.)

  26. KayTea*

    RE: question #2,

    Is it bad taste to apply during business hours? Can HR people see that? Will they think you’re lazy for applying while you should be working?

    1. Caledonia*

      I think this is an over thinking question.

      You could be on holiday, on break, in a country with a different time zone. You could be unemployed.

      I really don’t think it matters.

    2. MLB*

      I don’t think so. Most people have some down time during the work day (or at least a lunch break), and if you have a reasonable and supportive manager, they should encourage you to move forward with your career. That said, if you’re in the middle of a major deadline, and they notice that you took a half hour (or more) to apply for a job internally when you should have been working, then yeah it could look bad.

    3. Judy (since 2010)*

      Especially since this is an internal posting, I think it is completely OK. It is company business to apply to this job. But I’m exempt, and manage my workload myself mostly.

    4. TeapotSweaterCrocheter*

      HR people CAN usually see that, yes. Whether they do anything with it probably depends on the person – meaning, follow Alison’s advice to get the best you can, as soon as you can.

      I work in HR and have some recruiting experience, and it matters not to me. I might raise an eyebrow at a 2AM application, but wouldn’t give it another thought unless it turned out to be gibberish.

      Additionally, as Judy points out, this sounds like an internal posting. I know for some internal postings (my current company included) you might actually have to be on your company’s network in order to apply; an application in the middle of the day makes perfect sense.

  27. BeenThere*

    My #1 job hunting rule is that I am always job hunting. Even though I am in a position I love and plan to retire from, I have my resume updated …. just in case. The just in case might be a position that is even better than my current one (the only way that would happen is if it were a much shorter commute) or my office makes cuts. One never knows!

  28. Clorinda*

    #3: Don’t say “I blocked Facebook.”
    But definitely DO say, “After our last discussion, I worked on being much more deliberate and proactive about how I manage my time and workflow, and I tried a few different techniques until I found a combination that works for me.”

    1. KRM*

      I think it’s probably OK to say something like “I’ve found a software/app that helps me structure my time, and even gives me a 5′ break when I need it, and it’s allowed me to become much more focused”.

      1. Washi*

        Yeah, like maybe they could say it’s something like the Pomodoro technique, which you can get a browser extension for.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I’d be hesitant on this, as the obvious follow-up seems “Great, which one? So I can recommend it to other people.” Whereas becoming more deliberate about structuring your time reads as an answer in itself.

        1. Admin of Sys*

          That’s what I was thinking as well. Whenever anyone at our office tries a new productivity app, it gets shared around and debated. (and then adopted by a random collection of the people, creating yet another thing for team processes to be split over / confused by)

    2. Lizzy May*

      This. You can be vague and say it’s about finding a way to organize your day that works for you. Focus on what you do now and not what you were doing before.

    3. Chalupa Batman*

      Agreed. There’s no negative spin to “I’ve taken steps to manage my time better,” the chances of being asked for more details is low, and if they do ask, it would be easy to answer honestly without expressly saying “I stopped spending all day on Facebook!” And kudos to you for recognizing and addressing the issue. There’s nothing wrong with needing a little help to break a bad habit.

  29. Flo*

    #5 – I’m almost 40 years old and have been working in professional settings for 20 + years – and I still get excited about my birthday and take the day off work! I think this one sounds like a sour grapes kind of manager, to be honest.

  30. Erin*

    I like to take my birthdays off. It’s a present to myself. If she has the PT to do it let her.

    1. MCMonkeyBean*

      It sounds like they don’t have a problem with her taking the time off, just with being excited about it.

  31. Casual Fribsday*

    Regarding birthdays, I’ve noticed that my experiences (and therefore expectations) around my birthday (mid July) are different than those of people who grew up with birthdays during the school year. Even in a year round district, I never had school on my birthday, and as an adult I’ve taken the day off of work every year but one (I really liked that job). My wife, born in November, rarely takes her birthday off, because being free for the day is not a thing she associates with bithdays. Both of us are content with how we celebrate, and I wouldn’t say I’m more into my birthday than she is.

    Given the timing of the letter, some of that could be at play here as well.

    1. Bea*

      Mine is during the time school is starting. Worse, after compulsory schooling, it’s when most universities start. So even at 18, why take the day off? My friends were away at school. So your theory is pretty spot on for some of us.

      1. Qosanchia*

        Same for me, and throughout college, I worked in Dining Services on campus, so time off during August and September was Not Done. I like it when I can take my birthday off, but it’s never been a goal for me.

  32. JustAnotherHRPro*

    #5 – well I guess I am immature at 41, because every year on my birthday I have Georgetown Cupcakes delivered for my whole team. It kind of harkens me back to the times when you would bring in cupcakes for your class in Elementary School. My coworkers love it, and only a few actually know the reason why I do it on the same day every year.

      1. Grey*

        I’ve made the occasional post for a few years now, but I’m not really attached to the name if you want to use it.

        1. grey*

          I’m new. I think we are fine since I went all lower case anyway :) Especially if you post rarely. Anyway, hello Grey :)

  33. doingmyjob*

    Ah, the birthday thing. We have someone in our office who is over the top about their birthday The latest thing is that they put a “birthday countdown” sign up at their desk announcing how many days to their birthday. That, coupled with comments about what kind of cake they want, what song to sing, where they want to go to lunch (we don’t do birthday lunches) and all the other stuff is something I find really uncomfortable. This person is nice and kind and I am sure there is no intent to make anyone uncomfortable but I just don’t know how to respond to all of that.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      “Celeste Aida.”
      “One Night in Bangkok.”
      Bolero–hummed by the entire office.

      1. doingmyjob*

        That’s great!
        I am just trying to enjoy her joy. She really is quite nice and I like her. It’s just that I don’t know if these are some kind of hint and I am supposed to do something other than what I would normally do, which is to say happy birthday?

        1. MissDisplaced*

          Of course it’s a quiet hint… Else why do it?
          But you’re not obligated to do anything more than wish her a happy birthday or give her a card or something.

    2. Sports Night Nut*

      Now that “Happy Birthday” is in the public domain, it can be sung without any royalty issues. No more resorting to “O, Dem Gold Slippers” or “Giammo, Giamm0” by Giusppe Verdi, or “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum” to celebrate.

  34. JustMyTwoCents*

    LW 3 – I also struggle with being easily distracted by shiny things (like AAM!) during my workday, and I’ve been actively working to improve my focus. I’d just go with “I’m really working on improving my focus at work” or something like that.

    LW 5: Are you my boss???!!! LOL I just turned 59. I am an admitted birthday brat and have pretty much never worked on my birthday! In fact, my last birthday fell on a Tuesday, and I may have said some things similar to the comments you cited from your employee, so I was feeling a little nervous there for a minute!! (but my boss is younger than me and I’m pretty sure the ship has sailed on me being referred to as a “younger employee!!) My employer actually gives employees a birthday holiday, which I think is awesome. Anyway, I’m a big believer in letting people use their time off for whatever floats their boat, assuming there’s no huge negative impact on work or their available time off.

  35. blink14*

    OP #1 – we’re around the same age, I kind of hate how I’m classified as a Millennial. There is a HUGE difference between someone born in the 80s and someone born in late 90s or early 2000s (there’s not a clear ending on the Millennial generation yet). My brother and I are about 7 years apart, he was born in the early 90s, and just in those 7 years there’s a big shift.

    There’s such disdain for “Millennial” culture and habits, but a lot of times I find that people are probably really referring to the next generation, which is termed Generation Z. The first generation to grow up with internet as a norm, the older end of that is in their early 20s, and there’s such a huge cultural difference between even someone in their early 20s and mid 20s right now, it’s crazy.

    Your co-worker shouldn’t be making these comments, but I also think a lot of these comments generally fall into the category of “what are these crazy young people doing”. American culture has changed dramatically in our lifetime, so the change for those who are older is even more extreme. I find myself surprised and sometimes appalled about how the next generation acts, it’s so different from how my world was even 5 years ago, and drastically different than my world as a teenager.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      My brother- and sister-in-law are a year and a half apart in age, and could hardly be more different. (One is the consummate yuppie, one still a hippie.) Each has more in common with my much-younger spouse, who is a whole different generation per the official cut-offs–they are boomers, we are Gen X. And I have never seen a Gen X stereotype that made me think “Oh, well, that’s us to a T–and so uniquely distinctive from my brother-in-law and my daughter.”

      I have to give a nod to my brother-in-law’s observation that after around age 30, none of the changes you notice in your body are ever for the better. I think that dovetails with Alison’s observation re things that tend to be true of people who are a given age–like early 20s new to professional work, late 20s outgrowing patience with your friend who still wants to party like you’re 21–regardless of the decade in which the observation is made.