The “Look at Me” Generation

Millenials, dubbed the “Look at Me” generation, have been thought of as being entitled, self-centered, disloyal, and lacking motivation in all facets of their lives, but especially in the workplace. Additionally, the way we as millenials communicate and work with members of older generations in professional environments has come under scrutiny. The workplace has evolved a great deal from when the Boomers and Gen Xs were running the show. In order to megenerationcreate an efficient yet innovative workplace moving forward, communication will continue to be key. In their article focusing on this element of communication, Myers and Sadaghiani analyze how differences in values actually affect millenials’ performance in the workplace as well as how they interact with members of their organization.

With waves upon waves of millenials entering the workplace, the first challenge they will inevitably face will be learning the social norms and expectations of the organization they are hired by. Since millenials hold the values of independence and flexible working conditions in higher regard than other generations, they may be viewed as lazy by their older coworkers due to them wanting to start work at noon, but work late into the night.

I have experienced first hand this disconnect in values when it comes to socialization within an organization. I currently work for a smaller firm with around 12 employees total in the office during most days. The younger employees, recent college grads or still in school like myself, value having the freedom to work from home on certain days or to take power naps in the afternoons because we believe we work better in flexible environments. The older employees and managers are very schedule oriented. They go to lunch at the same time everyday and go home the same time everyday. While there is nothing wrong with routine, it is clear that their values are a little different and thus dictate how they work in a different way.

Our comfortability with technology is a trait that could be perceived as self-centeredness or acting condescending by older generations. It is important to realize that older generations may feel “threatened” by how easily and how often we utilize gadgets to help solve problems. To combat this, we should help coworkers without as much technologic know-how to attain skills that could increase their productivity. We as millenials could achieve this by offering instructional workshops to make these older coworkers more competitive in the working world. By doing so, millenials could also build connections with potential mentors with more work experience in the professional world who can offer feedback on areas where they aren’t as strong. We should also make an effort to utilize written communication such as email as a means of setting up Face-to-Face meetings.

Millenials are also stereotyped as disengaged but in actuality, we are multi-taskers at our very core. Growing up in an era where information is just a mouse click away has shaped the way we problem solve and we normally have a lot of things going on at once that we try to accomplish simultaneously. This also makes us very adaptable and means we are comfortable using lots of different mediums of communication and team managing. Apps being adopted by millenials such as Slack and Trello make project management within teams easier. A way we can combat the stereotype of being disengaged is to introduce other older members of the workplace to applications and tools such as these to make multi-tasking easier for them. This will in turn benefit communication for the whole office if everyone is keeping up to date with the status of projects via the office Trello board. Go millenials!

Who We Really Are

Sure, at times we as a generation live up to some of the stereotypes of laziness and selfishness. But they certainly do not define every essence of who we are and how we contribute to the global economy. In order to combat the aforementioned stereotypes, we as millenials must utilize our unique values and the strengths we do have to seize our place as the leaders of tomorrow.

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5 thoughts on “The “Look at Me” Generation

  1. Hi! I really liked how you gave a real world, personal example of how there is a disconnect in the workforce between generations. Many of the older generations are very set in their ways, and I myself have seen this too. In one of my jobs many people felt like they had to stay at their job for those 8 hour days, even if they had nothing to do. I also loved how you said we are multitaskers and not disengaged, I 100% agree with that statement. Our technology has made us great at problem solving which I think is critical in the workplace. Great job!

  2. Hi Jonathan, great post! I really liked that in your article you highlighted technology as a communication barrier rather than something that usually think of as something that helps us in everyday communication. The gap between older and younger generations is very much based on technology and I liked that you suggested that millenials should teach some of these aspects to their employers. I thought it was very insightful that you pointed out specifically those updates in technology as it grows more and more complex could be the solution to this gap in the workplace. Great work, can’t wait to read more in the future!
    -Maggie

  3. This blog post was presented in a really good way. I like how you stated all the stereotypes that are associated with us as millennials. Rather than listing them as you go, you lay them all out and continue the rest of your post with your counter argument and viable solutions to overcome these stereotypes. You make a good point about how millennials function and work better in flexible environments. That is a really good observation and is probably why Human Resource departments at companies like Google and Facebook encourage more freedom through the work day, to encourage and promote creativity, which adds to the overall productivity of the business. Millennials will function much better in an environment like this, and it was spot on of you to point that out.

  4. Hey Jon! I thought you did a really nice job on this blog post. Including the story from your own personal experiences about the different working structures of different generational employees was both interesting and a great way to provide relevant personal knowledge to the topic. I also liked your concluding paragraph. It really summed up the thoughts and previous points you had made in the post and provided a nice “call to action” that all your readers could act upon. The only small thing I would add, would be to insert another picture in the lower portion of the post to break things up a little, but this is just personal preference more than anything. This was an overall great post and I look forwards to reading what you come up with as the semester progresses.

  5. Hey Jon great job on the post. I really enjoyed reading about your personal experience with the issue of having a fixed schedule or being flexible and able to work at home. I agree with you in the fact that I love getting all my work done at home and I really do not know if I could sit in a cubicle for 9 hours straight. I like the idea of teaching the older generations how to utilize technology and be more efficient in the work place. Another great point you made is that yes we may come off as a little lazy but we get our work done in a way that makes sense to us and also in a timely manner. Great work and I can’t wait to hear more about later subjects throughout the semester.

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