What aren’t we smoking?

November 20, 2007, 7:08 PM UTC

Since we’re getting ready to go dark for the holiday, thought it might be a good time for a silly story. And this one might not normally be the best candidate — you’ll see why in a moment — except that I already shared it with the guys in charge, and they basically laughed at us Gen Y-types and called us nerds.

Some people, surprising as it may be, see Fortune and think “stodgy.” And I’d have paid to see their faces this issue, as they picked it up —with huge letters proclaiming, “What were they SMOKING?” on the cover — and realized this was not in fact a copy of Vice, but Fortune.

Though the PTBs no doubt went back and forth on whether such a Jon Stewart-esque question would be too flip for the cover of 75-year-old Fortune magazine, they decided to go with it. (Especially because, of course, this wasn’t just a snarky coverline, but sass specifically directed at cover subject and Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne’s alleged
Half Baked
extracurricular activities, reported in a Wall Street Journal story earlier this month.)

Based on the reaction when we saw it in the office, our bosses’ fellow Boomers agreed with the choice. But it’s the young people that got all stressed out. As a fellow Yer in the Fortune family told me: It’s cool, but I don’t know, it just seems a little “inappropriate.” Of course, that person made the comment somewhat sheepishly, and the minute s/he said it, we both laughed. How funny that, with all the talk about Yers’ irreverence and hipness, we’re actually the stodgy ones. (Can’t you just see the indie movie version: A bunch of us sitting around some neighborhood coffee shop, the ringleader saying, “I’m all for selling magazines, but at what cost?!”)

Guess the experts aren’t joking when they say our values are more like those of the WWII-era Traditionalists than those held by our free-wheeling Boomer parents. Maybe we just need to chill out. Or maybe this attitude is what’ll get us through despite our devil-may-care outlook. Are you often more uptight than your bosses when it comes to judgment calls like this one, or do the “adults” sometimes need to button up a bit?

And while you ponder that turnaround, have an amazing Thanksgiving. See you next week!