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Millennials listen up — 25 Old Fart Rules that you Need to Learn

Millennials — the tech savy, short attention spanned 20-somethings are entering the government workforce in record numbers. They’re often lauded as the tech saviors for the older, outdated workforce. But there are still a bunch of things these young employees can learn from their predecessors.

Mark Babbitt is CEO and Founder of YouTern. He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program the 25 Old Fart Rules that Millennials need to learn in order to be successful on the job.

Millennials listen up — 25 Old Fart Rules that you Need to Learn by cdorobek

Mark’s 25 Old Fart Rules: We’ve highlighted some of our favorites

  1. There is no such thing as “I can’t do that” – or – “That’s not my job”.
  2. There is no time for divas, drama, victim statements or whining.
  3. Nothing is more impressive than good, old-fashioned hustle.
  4. Humble confidence is the second-most impressive trait.
  5. Unless you’ve worked out alternative hours, saying “I’m not a morning person” is beyond lame.
  6. There is almost no such thing as a dumb question (ever hear of Google?)
  7. GOOD questions are a sign you are sincerely interested in growing – and learning.
  8. Challenging status quo with “why” questions is a sign of intelligence (and leadership).
  9. Saying you are going to do something turns it into a commitment – and a responsibility.
  10. No trophy will be given for “effort” – you are measured on results achieved, only.
  11. Just as important as results… is the attitude shown while achieving.
  12. What you were taught in school, for the most part, doesn’t apply here… adapt, quickly.
  13. No glory will be given for learning what you already claimed to know (or what you should know)
  14. Self-learning the skills needed for just-in-time problem solving is called “amazing”.
  15. 99.9% of the time, we learn best when we’re not talking
  16. No credit will be given for just showing up; amazing things happen when you do show up.
  17. Consistently being late for – or missing – meetings is not cool; your reputation will be affected.
  18. Coming up with idea after idea is great… turning your ideas into usable solutions is gold.
  19. To quickly earn the respect of your team, mentor as you are being mentored.
  20. Failure is only good if you – and we – learn from the experience
  21. When a problem needs fixed or a customer needs assistance… never, ever wait to be asked.
  22. The quickest way to make your way to the top is a willingness to work with us at the bottom
  23. Without goal setting, planning and measurement… you can’t produce something scalable and repeatable
  24. Don’t ever wait for permission to lead.
  25. The “Golden Rule” still applies.

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Julie Chase


  • Challenging status quo with “why” questions is a sign of intelligence (and leadership).

However, in DoD, there is a directive/policy/order for everything you do. Stop saying, “This is stupid, I’ve got a better way, an innovative way.” It’s not going to happen. As Pharoah said in the old movie: “So it is written, so it shall be done.” I understand this directive/policy/order was written before you were born, just deal with it. I was in high school when it was written, I sympathize.

The computer on your desk, belongs to Uncle Sam. Yes, he is “watching” you and so is your supervisor. No, you can’t plug your Ipod into it, or your smartphone. No, you can’t download Pandora and stream your fav tunes…No, you can’t use a thumb drive or plug anything into the machine that is not authorized by a a directive/policy/order or in compliance with the NMCI network contract. Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, et al are for use on YOUR OWN TIME, not work time.

Cloud computing is “light years” away here, don’t look for it anytime soon. If the network is not responding, it could be several things. Downloading another batch of security software, which throws the program you are working on into chaos, or the network is just normal. Call tech support….and wait. If you get the blue screen of death, your computer my go to the tech hospital and there is no set time you will get it back. (it’s not in the contract). So get close to an old fart and hope he/she will share their computer with you.

If you don’t like the fact it takes 5 minutes to boot up your computer in the morning, do what we old farts do. Get a cup of coffee or in your case a Monster drink loaded with 3x the caffiene, walk around the office and tell everyone good morning. Play a quick game on your smartphone. (DO NOT PLUG INTO YOUR computer) also keep the volume down, we don’t want to hear the blips and bleeps as you wipe out the aliens on planet Wen.

Our OS is Windows XP. Don’t bother whining, it will be a waste of tears. We are using Office 2007. Old to you, new to us. We are thankful to be just over the 5 yr mark of the new century.

We don’t have “alternative hours” here. Read the directive/order/policy on that.

Basic office supplies will be doled out based on funding. IOW, if we don’t have the money, you’re not getting it.

12. is a good one. And true.

I realize dear, millenial it took you 6 months to apply, submit paperwork, jump through several rings of fire to get here. Just know, we old farts, “been there, done that, lived it for the last 25 yrs.”

Oh and did I say, “Welcome Aboard”!