As a millennial in the workforce its apparent the biases coworkers and managers have towards our generation. It takes significant effort and hard work to prove very general stereotypes wrong about you. Let’s face it though, however much we would like to think these stereotypes are unfounded and unfairly conceived by older generations stereotypes start somewhere. These impersonal beliefs about our age group started due to individuals that fell directly into these categories. There’s no denying these people exist. We work with them. We are friends with them. We take classes with them. This is where it falls on us, as individuals, to prove that we don’t fall into these employment pitfalls. Magazines, such as Forbes, have even started to realize the effect stereotyping has on business. Employers are passing on fantastic applicants due to these preconceptions due to their generation. As a worker, only we can solve these issues for ourselves. This article will go over five general stereotypes about the millennial generation and specific manners of getting past them. Both of these stereotypes I believe are our biggest issues to face and are taken from a US News article: 5 Workplace Stereotypes About Millennials That Aren’t True.
Millennials are looking to rise to the top without “paying their dues.” Essentially this means we are looking to enter the job market with a mid level job, while expecting to rise to the top without the hard work older employees have put forward to get where they are. This comes off as highly disrespectful. The whole “respect your elders” takes a whole new face when recently graduated students are entering the job market with close to comparable pays as seasoned employees due to inflation, standard of living increases, etc. Beyond this we are seen trying to move up quickly without learning the basics first.
The best solution for this is to expect to learn from those more “weathered” employees. The Huffington Post displays this as a valuable gift of our generation; “a Quest for Mentors.” There is a lot to be learned inside of the workforce. While school has prepared you for entering the workforce and laid the basic foundation for the tools necessary to start a job, it has not granted all of the skills necessary to work as efficiently or effectively as necessary. Much less the “tips and tricks” of a trade that can make life so much simpler. Have your fellow employees as resources to learn how to do your job better.
Millennials are looking for constant amounts of praise and/or rewards. We are seen as a generation that thrives off of benefits, the “what will this do for me” mentality. If you’ve ever taken a Human Resources class, this is clearly a preconception about our generation. It’s covered multiple times throughout the semester. Honestly, this isn’t the worst general belief. The difficulty of this is moving past the reward or praise and turning it into feedback.
Feedback is what our generation craves. Communication is key truly holds true with us. Transitioning into the workforce from academia isn’t new; everyone must go through it. The difference with our age group is that we value open communication significantly more than those prior. We are looking for feedback on our performance to improve more rapidly and become better employees. To waive the thought that you are looking for praise at every step of the task, I’ve found it’s better to phrase your concerns with managers in a more open manner. Rather than “Did I complete this objective correctly?” say “How do you think this project went?” or “What could I have done differently?”. Using this language leaves open critical feedback as an option for your manager. Further these types of conversation are not necessary at every milestone of a project, instead save them for the times in between or near the end of a project. A manager will voice their concern or direct you differently if they find issues along the way, don’t waste their or your time.