I get intimidated very easily, especially when I am trying to impress someone. I currently work for a company, Pure Barre, where I am the second youngest staff member, and one of the overall youngest clients in the studio. I am surrounded by hundreds of people that are a part of generation X, and they expect perfection under every circumstance. This group is criticizes millennials for being lazy, entitled, and too technology focused. While it can be frustrating that older groups believe these stereotypes, the best thing you could do is make a conscious effort to prove them wrong. At Pure Barre, I try to respond to emails as quickly as possible, volunteer my time when they need help, and ensure that my coworkers see me as a reliable and responsible person. Although these may seem like little things, people do notice, and will take note of it.
The Assumptions: The list of stereotypes is extensive and range all the way from narcissistic to job hoppers. However, instead of letting these remarks get under your skin, we should take the criticism with a grain of salt and learn how to address the assumptions made about us. There is a high chance that going into an interview, the employer is going to be a part of this generation that sees the younger, less experienced kids as a future concern. Therefore, thinking ahead and making the conscious effort to analyze every choice before you make it, will decrease the chance of conflict later on. When it comes down to it, you need to show that you are capable of getting your job done, despite the hundreds of temptations and distractions that surround us on a daily basis.
Technology isn’t a bad thing: Growing up with a deep understanding of technology is a bittersweet quality. We understand the importance of timeliness and speed, and know how to filter through a vast amount of information that is readily available. However, we struggle when it comes to paying attention for long periods of time and face to face communication. That being said, it is important incorporate technology only when it is necessary and appropriate. For me, social media is the tool to success when it comes to my Campus Representative position at Pure Barre. It is the most effective way to reach a large amount of people. However, in the studio itself I have to make sure to actually engage with clients face to face. Those in person connections are so crucial in developing positive relationships.
Experience is everything: Unfortunately, having a college degree in today’s society is not the “make it or break it” point. Since more and more people are going on to pursue higher education, we have to go out and work full-time internships with no pay, and take extra classes simply to gain an extra skills that will put us at a higher competitive advantage. Although it comes off as “job hopping” to some, it is okay to experience different work environments when starting out, even if it is just for a couple of years at time, because it means you are growing and moving forward. The important part is to make the most of each of those experiences, and foster good relationships that will be beneficial in the future during the time there.
Jobs that don’t feel like work : Something I have learned from coworkers and role models in my life that are apart of Generation X, is that it is easier to make sacrifices if you are doing something that you’re passionate about. Sometimes our generation can come off as entitled because we have grown up constantly being rewarded for every little thing we do, but nothing compares to the internal satisfaction that comes from working hard at what you love. Even if the pay isn’t spectacular, and it is a long uphill battle to get things done, it is worth the struggle because we know we are more than just the “Participation Trophy” generation.
Every generation tends to feel superior to others, but instead of building walls up we should be learning from each other’s experiences. Just because our generations may have different values and ways of approaching things, doesn’t mean one is superior to the other. Generation X and the Baby Boomers are making an effort to understand what our needs are, so we should also be reaching out to them for advice that will help meet their expectations.