Generation X has witnessed a lot of societal changes between the time of our youth and now. Many of them have been odd and detrimental. And one such change is how society now accepts bossy subordinates ordering around . . . their bosses.
As soon as Gen X entered the work force, we knew we were at the bottom rung. And we accepted it. We were the new guys and we knew everyone was going to treat us like it. And we knew our superiors were going to be watching us to see if we’d be a good fit. We had to earn our place and employers would happily let us go if we weren’t up to their standards.
So in order to prove ourselves, we showed up on time every day and did what we were supposed to do. It was probably a pretty good idea to be cheerful too. And we tried to fit into the culture. If someone was a quiet guy but everyone else at the company was outgoing? It was on him to adapt. And if someone liked working alone but the company emphasized being a team? Boy, he had to figure out that one too. And the idea of talking back to the boss or challenging the culture never crossed your mind.
Indeed, as the new guys, we knew not to offer up any suggestions unless someone specifically asked us. We stayed in our lane and did what our bosses told us. After all, what did we know as people young and new? So we worked hard and kept our mouths shut. Being assertive was for people with experience. Simple enough.
Something happened somewhere along the way, though. I’m not sure of the exact date, but it really seemed to become common in the late 2010s. Suddenly, we started seeing stories about how an employee “boldly” sent his boss a list of demands. Or how a group of employees told their boss that things needed to change. It was weird. But what was weirder is that journalists and activists treated such people as if they were doing the right thing. Even weirder still, there weren’t many stories of instant firings in response to such insubordination.
And that brings us to where we are today. Subordinates now routinely make demands of their bosses. Their bosses often cave. And if they don’t do so right away, journalists, activists, politicians, and other assorted filth pile on the pressure to do so.
It’s outright bizarre. And yet it appears to be the new normal. I don’t have any radical solutions for correcting this either. After all, the way to correct this would simply be for BOSSES TO STOP LETTING THEIR SUBORDINATES BOSS THEM AROUND.
So that’s that. I guess everyone is going to pretend like this makes sense from now on. But Gen X, and older generations, will remember a time when bosses actually were in charge and bossy subordinates simply did not exist.
Top Image: Fake social media post for illustration purposes.