Growing up in a time of such economic turmoil and transition in the nature of the traditional workplace, sometimes it feels like we’ve become the generation that people love to hate. Despite all the negative articles that may come up in your Google searches of what employers think of our generation, you have to keep your head up and brush off the nasty blog posts. It’s true that our generation is characterized by some defining traits and values that differ drastically from those of our predecessors. Remember though that different is not bad—it simply necessitates adjustments on both ends.
What We Bring to the Table
There are plenty of reasons to love working with millennials! We are:
Highly Driven: Having been raised with the expectation of being able to juggle school, friends, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, job searches, and more growing up, we are naturally equipped to work in high-pressure situations and juggle the many balls that continuously land in our court. We set our goals and standards high, and you better believe that we’re always fighting to reach them.
Resourceful: Growing up with a world’s worth of information at our fingertips, we have developed an insatiable curiosity, and are motivated to search for answers to our questions in any way that we need to until we find them. Every day, we see business practices shifting more and more to include new, emerging technologies, and there’s no doubt that we’re naturals when it comes to learning to maneuver any new gadget or service to fit our needs.
Team Players: Because of the peer-to-peer nature that characterizes our generation, and the heightened sense of community that these connections create, we are more likely than any other age group to be excellent team players—a trait that increasing numbers of employers look for in candidates.
What We Can Work to Improve
When it comes to the reasons why employers are hesitant to appreciate us as workers, it is important to examine these reasons more closely and figure out how to resolve them or look at them differently, instead of letting them stand as obstacles.
Needy: Many claim that because we are the “trophy generation”–having grown up getting used to being rewarded for simple participation and just being who we are—that this translates into a generation of workers who seek constant feedback and approval. Receiving feedback on your performance and learning how you can improve in your role is educational and directly beneficial to you as a worker. However, be conscious of how often you ask for feedback; if you think that seeking outside opinions on your performance may be starting to be perceived by others as dependence on your co-workers, then tone it down a bit, ask for feedback in moderation, and have confidence in your abilities to perform successfully.
Too Connected: It is often said that our generation is guilty of being so plugged into our devices that we’ve lost the ability to interact in person. When you hear this accusation, instead of getting defensive, take the comment to heart and tuck your phone away for later; we can all be guilty of recoiling to our phones every now and then, when we could be engaging with those around us instead. Despite the fact that online networking is what we have been taught to practice in order to succeed in today’s job market, face-to-face encounters are just as crucial as the electronic ones. If applicable, you could also take this as an opportunity to discuss with your co-workers that the potential that social media and online networking have to revolutionize the way that companies do business today is growing constantly, and that those opportunities for expansion and advancement might be beneficial avenues for your company to explore.
Impatience: OK, so maybe members of our generation tend to be impatient, more so than other generations. Not that we’re excusing it, but it makes sense–after growing up being accustomed to having information and results in front of us at the push of a button, it’s almost impossible to not understand where members of our generation are coming from. When you find yourself in professional settings, one way to combat a lack of patience is to familiarize yourself with your role, your industry, and how things around you typically work. If you come into a position with the knowledge that certain processes take time, and more often than not, the success of your efforts will develop gradually rather than in front of your eyes, you will be more prepared for the slower working pace that will likely confront you.
Love us or hate us, millennials are the future of professional industries. That is why instead of fighting about whether we’re better or worse than previous generations, the most beneficial solution for all is to spend time understanding each other, and making efforts to adapt to certain situations when necessary. After all, just like members of the previous generations, we only want to succeed, and success is so much more rewarding when we’re helping each other to achieve it.