Bare minimum Monday may come back to bite you

Bare minimum Monday is the latest thing on the Internet—especially TikTok, that wellspring of youthful oversharing. 

Bare minimum Monday means what it sounds like: doing the bare minimum at work (especially office jobs) on Mondays. 

Slacking on the job at certain times of the week is nothing new, of course. And it isn’t limited to Gen Z white-collar workers. During the 1970s and 1980s, the prevailing wisdom was that you didn’t want to purchase a UAW-made automobile that rolled off the assembly line on Monday or Friday.

But Generation Z seems to be putting its own spin on the concept, to the cheerleading of the mainstream media. CNN gushes that younger workers are using “’bare minimum Monday’ as a form of self-care”. 

So goldbricking has now become yet another version of seeking safe spaces and avoiding microaggressions. Just what the younger generation needed: yet another reason for older folks (who still do most of the hiring) to perceive them as effete, fragile, and incompetent.

Of course, there has never been a shortage of 40- and 50-somethings who believe that the younger generation is leading the world straight to perdition. I’m from the original “slacker” generation: Generation X. When I joined the so-called “adult world” as a newly minted college graduate in 1991, I endured the subtle jabs of older colleagues and bosses who quipped that “young people nowadays just don’t know how to put in a full day’s work”. And that was more than 30 years ago. 

I worked in a corporate office environment for many years. I would like to tell you that I gave one hundred percent every day, but I would be lying. Almost no one, save US Navy SEALs, gives one hundred percent effort one hundred percent of the time. Human beings simply aren’t wired that way.

But I can tell you this: I had the good sense to at least look busy. In the corporate workplace, perception is at least 90% of the reality. One way not to convince your boss that you’re valuable to the organization is to make a “bare minimum Monday” TikTok video. As we all know, moreover: things posted to the Internet have a way of hanging around, and coming back to bite us.

For the sake of fairness, I should note that not all of the bare minimum Monday videos I saw on TikTok were from twentysomethings and Millennials. But most of them were. 

Such are the fruits of the younger generation’s tendency to overshare on the Internet (really, kids, it is okay to keep your private life private). Also, many people under the age of 30 believe that no one over the age of 45 or 50 can figure out the Internet. 

Google? Snapchat? Apps? Oooh….our hoary old noggins are spinning at the very mention of such things! I can’t figure out how to use Google without the aid of the high school kid next door, who is a whipsmart wunderkind of the Digital Generation.

So goes the cliché, and it’s one that many older folks would like you to believe. Trust me, though, as an adult who turns 55 this year: the secret code of the Internet has been broken. It was broken at least a decade ago. Even my 76-year-old father is pretty good with the Internet nowadays. 

Your 40- or 50-something boss can certainly navigate the labyrinth of TikTok. So can your company’s HR manager. That’s something to keep in mind, before you post a digital declaration of your fondness for bare minimum Monday, which essentially states that you make a habit of slacking off for twenty percent of the work week.



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