More than a Millennial: Going Beyond the Label
“Lazy,” “always on the phone,” “entitled,” “expects things ASAP,” “know it all,” are just some of the labels Millennials will have assigned to them before they even arrive for their interview at a prospective employer.
In May 2016, just hours away from receiving my undergraduate diploma, I started to reflect on my time in college that was about to come to an end, and what my life might look like in the coming months and years. I thought about how, the moment I walked off the stage, I would be ready to conquer the world with a diploma in my hands to prove I can do it. But as it turns out, I forgot to take one thing into account when thinking about my career—I’m a Millennial.
You’ve probably come across articles describing Millennials and providing advice on how to deal with us in the workforce. You might have also watched the viral YouTube video of Simon Sinek discussing this subject in an interview with Inside Quest. Generally speaking, there appears to be quite a few misconceptions about what Millennials are really like and what it is that we want in the workplace.
Before I even graduated, I set big goals for my future, one of which is to be a CEO one day. The practical idealist that I am, I also knew that it will take more than an ambitious dream and a lot of hard work to achieve this goal...I knew that I would have to find a workplace and mentors that will support my goals and help me grow. Fortunately, it wasn’t very long before I came across an interesting opportunity with a local startup. This new business focuses on improving the recruitment process by leveraging marketing strategies and creating opportunities and systems for clients to engage with talent. When I was offered a job here, it wasn't because I was the most qualified person out there for the position my boss envisioned for me; rather, it was because of the desire he saw in me to learn, grow, and think disruptively.
As I was invited and encouraged to share my opinions, I took the opportunity to do so by making a few suggestions for processes improvement that I thought would benefit the business. Most of those ideas, while recognized and appreciated, were not acted upon. And to my great surprise, even though my title suggested so, I was not actually seen as an expert. So I decided to do what I do best—translate my ideas into concrete solutions and show by example how this would help us out. After a few weeks, the founders of the startup took the time to look at what I had done and seemed to have an Aha! moment. All of a sudden, I wasn’t seen as an inexperienced right-out-of-college Millennial anymore. That day, I became a valuable member of the team.
I was trusted with my idea that turned out to highly benefit our new business and saved us thousands of dollars. I was seen for who I am and what I have to bring to the table, without any labels that place me in a box. Today, the co-founders call me a “crucial part of the team.” We call our team a “tribe” and we discuss issues with respect, value each other’s unique skill sets, and encourage each other to learn, try new things, and listen to each other.
Being a Millennial at this company means something so much more. I encourage members of my generation to continue being curious and focus on building a career that will make them happy. I also thank the previous generations for taking a chance and giving us the opportunity to prove that we can make a difference. As Nicolas Cole writes, we don’t have to solve the problem of world hunger right this moment, but we should be able to pursue our dream of doing so.
Maybe we do need to be reminded to be patient every once in awhile, but doesn’t every generation need this reminder? Regardless of our age, we all need patience, courage to pursue our ideas, and a supportive environment to encourage us. After all, it’s all about matching the right talent to the right opportunity.
Links and Other Interesting Stuff:
Learn more about Millennials in the workforce by checking out this report with interesting statistics.
Working hard on your resume but not hearing back? Check out these resume tips to make your resume stick!
Interested in joining a local company? Check out current open positions at Hub Labels Inc.