"Your Chill Millennial Manager": This Actor's TikTok About Working For Millennials Is Extremely Funny Because It's True
"Honestly, I know that you were right and that I shouldn't have given the customer that food for free, but I just don't feel like dealing with it. So this is me pretending to give you a stern talking to until they're gone."
Talking about generational differences at work can be tricky, especially because we're all individuals and larger trends won't apply to everyone. But lately, I've been noticing more and more stories pop up in my feed about millennial managers bringing empathy with them to work, and it's honestly so refreshing to see, and I hope this trend continues.
Well, recently, 26-year-old nonbinary actor Amanda Ripley (@irxpley) posted a TikTok homage to the "chill millennial manager" archetype, and honestly, it's so accurate that I had no choice but to laugh.
In the clip, which is full of comedy gems, they role-play as a chill millennial talking to employees in a food service job. They start by saying, "Oh my god, Ripley, you're six minutes late, what the fuck? I'm just kidding. That'd be me if I cared, though."
They also suggest malicious compliance with annoying corporate rules, explain that corporate is coming, so they're going to be acting weird, and just generally embody that one laid-back millennial boss we all know and love.
The part that absolutely got me, as someone who worked in restaurants and maaaay have done this myself, is when Ripley says, "Honestly, I know that you were right and that I shouldn't have given the customer that food for free, but I just don't feel like dealing with it, and I'm kind of hung over today and I haven't, like, worked out how to grow a backbone in therapy. So this is me pretending to give you a stern talking to until they're gone."
And finally, they close out the clip by saying, "What's this? Two weeks' notice? Ripley. Oh my god. Dammit. No, it's really great. I'm really happy for you. Get out of here. I just realized that I have to hire someone else now. Maybe I'll quit too. Where are you going? Do they have benefits?"
The video has been viewed over 8 million times, with nearly 2 million likes and more than 15,000 comments. In the comments, basically everyone has worked for this kind of manager or been that manager themselves. And people are obsessed with everything about the video, down to the coffee stain on Ripley's hoodie. They really nailed it!
Ripley told BuzzFeed via email that in order to support themself as an actor, they often take on service jobs between gigs, so they've worked with all kinds of managers. "Some people become a manager and, with the small amount of power they’re given, use it to lord over you. They see themselves as part of the upper crust now, in charge of lowly workers and enforcing the rules of the higher-ups. They flex their power over you at every opportunity, treat you as a child, discipline you for wearing the wrong shade of shirt or something equally meaningless."
They went on to say, "The chill millennial manager, on the other hand, sympathizes and relates with their team members rather than their higher-ups. Because millennials joined the workforce in the wake of the neoliberal economic reforms of the '80s and '90s, they’ve become disaffected with the socioeconomic structure in general."
And they think that this kind of manager is so chill because they tend to be more on the workers' side than the company's. "The chill millennial manager feels that their alliances are closer to the workers they work with rather than the company they work for," Ripley said. "With a chill millennial manager, there’s an understanding that we’re on the same team, down in the trenches, and the higher-ups don’t understand how it really works down here. A good manager understands that true camaraderie between coworkers is more important than what shade of shirt you wore to your shift, and will level with you as an equal."
They also shared that the jobs where they've experienced this chill management style have absolutely been their favorites: "Those are the jobs where turnover was low and I enjoyed going into work. I have a new policy for myself as a worker now — if the worst part of my job is dealing with my manager, I quit. These jobs are hard enough with the heavy workload, low pay, and difficult customers."
Ripley also shared, "I name-drop Starbucks in this video, as I worked there for a short time and found it to be very, very difficult. I have great respect for anyone able to work there for an extended period of time, and want to express my support for Starbucks Workers United and all who are fighting for better working conditions and better wages."
To learn a little more about millennials in management, I also reached out to Lindsey Pollak, author of The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace. Pollak says, "I never want to characterize ALL members of a generation as behaving the same way. But I do believe that each generation reacts to the prior ones, and most people learn how to be a leader or manager by observing how a previous generation led or managed them."
She continued, "I have observed that many millennials did not feel supported by how they were managed at work, so they are doing things differently. They also lived through events like the Great Recession, during which layoffs were massive and many employees felt that employers didn't value them. I don't think millennials are necessarily more or less empathetic to workers than any other generation (and all individuals are, of course, different), but it makes sense that they would approach leadership differently because of the experience they had."
Now I'm curious — are you now, or have you ever been, a chill millennial manager? Is a chill millennial manager your boss right now? Let's talk about it in the comments!