I honestly feel like so many people are talking about Millennials in the workplace nowadays: we’re the “instant gratification” generation, we make the worst employees, blah blah blah. For those of us that were raised to be hard workers and insanely self-sufficient, the stigma attached to the Millennial generation can be obnoxious and seemingly undeserved.
For those who may not know, Millennials are those that were born between the years 1981 and 1999. Other generations believe Millennials are:
- Entitled, lazy, and exhibit no loyalty whatsoever
- Constantly in need of feedback and praise
- Addicted to technology
When you have myths like that working against you, you may discouraged and find it difficult to try to overcome the stereotypes. To help you, here are few ways you can overcome the Millennial stamp and be young AND successful in the workplace:
- Always be curious and willing to absorb new information. If your company offers workshops, take them. If they don’t, research free classes/seminars/whatever in your area and bring them to the attention of your boss. If he or she thinks that it might be worthwhile, they may even let you take time off work to attend – especially if you emphasize the fact that you’re growth as a professional will result in growth for the company. [Boom.] They’ll be impressed with your loyalty and dedication to seeing the company succeed.
2. Network and build relationships the old fashioned way. We live in a world where digital communication rules and older generations believe that we have completely lost the art of face-to-face communication. To prove them wrong, I strongly encourage you to go back to the old ways of doing things. This could be anything from sending hand-written thank you notes, inviting a co-worker/boss that you admire out to lunch, or simply asking them how they are doing while you’re both waiting for the Keurig to free up. [“So how about them TIGERS?”] To put it simply: prove to them that you’re not completely useless when it comes to any type of offline communication. Let them see what a beautiful personality you have, sunshine!
3. Try to be as independent as possible. If you’re new to a project or type of work, it’s completely understandable if you need to ask for a little guidance – this is especially true for us recent graduates. However, it’s not okay if you’ve been there for a couple of months and you need to ask a superior for constant feedback and/or more work to do. For example, I am the content lead at my company, which means I write copy for websites we design. If I finish copy for an entire website, I’ll take the time to double check my work, look for SEO workshops online to improve the quality of the work, and/or jump into another project that I know is going to pop up later down the road. If I ran to my superior every single time I finished a project and begged for something else to do, he’d probably think I was completely incapable of taking the lead [i.e., this girl needs to be constantly babysat and will never make a good leader]. If you’re really at a loss as to what you should do next, by all means ask your superior what projects you should put on your to do list – just don’t be afraid to be a little independent when it comes to completing your work!
4. Take responsibility for mistakes and give credit where it is due. If you seriously eff up, own up to it. You are going to look a thousand times worse if you try to come up with flimsy excuses [“I’ve just been really distracted lately because I just CAN’T figure out why Solange attacked Jay-Z in the elevator like that!”] or if you try to blame the problem on someone else. If you messed up, admit it to, apologize sincerely, and assure everyone that it won’t happen again [and then legit don’t let it happen again, capisce?]. On the flip side, if you are being praised for a project you completed with another co-worker, make sure they receive praise as well. Or if you receive praise for a project you actually had nothing to do with, make sure you let the person know who actually dunnit.
5. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. I know you’ve probably heard this phrase a million times [maybe literally, IDK. I don’t know your life.] but hear me out. If you work for a non-traditional company like mine, the dress code is pretty much nonexistent. My boss has no rules when it comes to what you should or should not wear; he simply asks that you be smart about your fashion choices [read between the lines: don’t show up to work dressed in booty shorts.]. If your company has a similar dress code policy, I still want to encourage you to dress to impress. This does not mean you should show up in a full-on pantsuit, but it does mean that you should come up with creative ways to dress cute, comfortably, and still look like you’re about take the [insert profession] world by storm.
Here are two outfits that [I think] are stylish and still acceptable in a relaxed dress code environment: