Outpacing Millennial Stereotypes

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.

High Maintenance

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.


4 thoughts on “Outpacing Millennial Stereotypes

  1. Hi James- There are no better words for the way that millennials are perceived than entitled and high maintenance. I touched a little on this in my blog, but it seems to me that everyone on the outside seems that we have had everything handed to us. Regardless of those individuals who have, there are a lot of millennials that have worked their butt off to get where they are today. I also do not know why people think that aspiring for feedback is considered “high maintenance” It seems to me that hoping for feedback is one way to make yourself a better person for the good of something greater.

  2. I like the structure of your post, it is really clear about logical. And I agree with you opinion that only we can solve these issues for ourselves. Because most of the millennials now above 18, they need to take responsibility of themselves. I believe that most of us are trying to change the stereotypes. We all learn enough knowledge to prepare us for work, but sometimes we are avoid the practical skills like the communication skills. So I think we need to improve ourselves in future career.

  3. I think you did a great job talking about feedback rather than receiving praise. I believe that we do ask how we did on a project all the time because we want to hear that we did well. However, in order to learn and better ourselves I agree that we need to ask in a more open ended/minded manner. By getting feedback about our work will enable us to learn and work on ourselves! I hadn’t though about that!

  4. The two major stereotypes that are associated with millennials that you mention, “entitled” and “high maintenance”, are very common in the minds of generations before us. We may appear entitled, but I believe we really understand the dedication and work that is required in this world in order to achieve success. The majority of us are willing to put in the time in order to do our part. I think that there are millennials out there who do feel entitled, and this small group paints a bad picture for all of us.

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