Millennials are defined as those born between 1980 – 2000 and make up America’s largest living group, even surpassing the Baby Boomer generation. What this means is that Millennials are highly influential in today’s economy, both as thought leaders and consumers.
Despite this influence, Millennials have continually received criticism for possessing self-centered, narcissistic tendencies. While there are positive opinions that the digital-savvy, always-plugged-in stereotypes of the Millennial generation make them leaders of the digital revolution, these characteristics are often seen through a negative lens. Many believe these tendencies adversely affect workplace habits and work ethic, making this generation lazy and unwilling to go the extra mile.
As a Millennial employee, how do you both recognize these stereotypes and rise above them to succeed in the workplace? There is no one-solution-fits-all equation, but there are simple ways to stand out. Here are five tips from some of our MakeOffices Millennials:
1. Don’t let roadblocks get you stuck.
When you reach an obstacle at work, remember that there’s always a way through our around whatever is standing in your way. It may seem old school, but hard work is the key to success and almost never goes unnoticed. Try little tricks like coming in to work 30 minutes early every morning to help you refocus and center yourself for the work day ahead. Shawn Bergin, one of our Community Managers asserts, “I’m never complacent. There’s always a way to work better and work harder. Whenever I feel like I’m losing motivation, I think of how hard my parents worked to get to where they are today.”
2. Have a positive attitude, and resist the urge to complain.
It’s no secret that Millennials are viewed as the laziest generation, apt to cutting corners and taking the easy way out. By showing that you have a positive attitude even when faced with a challenge at work, you are making a good impression with your supervisor, potential mentors, and business partners. Keeping your chin up and resisting the urge to complain will set you apart from the rest.
3. Be flexible and embrace the unexpected.
As a Millennial employee who is new to the workforce or working alongside peers with more years of experience, it’s a good idea to be ready for unexpected pivots. Our Training and Expansion Lead, Jordan Ciminelli, says “my to-do list can change at a moment’s notice, so I’m always prepared to adjust my priorities. While this can be stressful at times, moments where I’ve had to think on my toes have actually been the most beneficial to my professional growth.”
If you’re working for a startup or smaller company, it’s likely that you’ll have to wear multiple hats and respond to unexpected twists and turns. Rather than seeing this as a negative, view this as a valuable learning opportunity and a way to step outside your comfort zone.
4. Unplug and engage.
It’s a well-known stereotype that Millennials are constantly on social media or texting their friends. While it’s great to respond to emails immediately, remember to unplug every so often, especially if meeting with your supervisor or a client. This piece of advice seems like common knowledge, but we all need a friendly reminder to be more present at times. This one small adjustment makes you seem much more engaged and present in the moment, and also helps you stand out among your peers who are glued to their devices.
5. Embrace the challenge.
As the “underdog” of the workplace, there is greater potential to surpass expectations and really “wow” your colleagues. View these stereotypes as a challenge you can conquer and let it encourage you to work even harder.Alesandra Bevilacqua, one of our Philadelphia Community Managers, says, “nothing will be handed to you on a silver platter. I never expect special treatment,” she asserts, “and reminding myself of this keeps me grounded during those times when I’m faced with a daunting task at work.”
As a young professional, It’s easy to be so focused on what’s ahead and neglect the great progress that’s happening in the present. Keep these five tips in your back pocket for those days where it’s tough to stay motivated, and remember that it’s the small daily triumphs that add up to progress over time.