Apparently, us kids born between the years 1980 and 2001 have just been given a new nickname and it is the Millennials.
My father (who is really into me making this job my future career - yay for working from home!), sent me an article in the mail the other day from the Wall Street Journal. The article was really an adaptation from Ron Alsop's new book "The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workplace".
And let me tell you. This "shaking" they speak of does not include moving of one's hips to music - unfortunately this shaking is used in a more negative connotation.
In his book, Alsop speaks of a generation that have crazy expectations of how they see themselves at a company as well as in their positions. As the article says, "Employers realize the millennials are their future work force, but they are concerned about this generation's desire to shape their jobs to fit their lives rather than adapt their lives to the workplace."
We millennials grew up in a different era than our grandparents and our parents. We were told we could do anything, achieve anything, be anything we wanted to be. We got trophies just for showing up to practice. Even if we got C's and D's on our report cards, we got praise. And now that we're all grown up and entering the work force, we expect nothing but the best. We expect higher pay, flexible work schedules, and longer vacations. Why not? We can have anything we want and be anything we want to be. And if our employers don't like it? So what! We'll get it somewhere else.
The article really intrigued me mainly because as I was reading it I kept nodding and thinking, 'I totally deserve a pay raise' and 'I have so many talents they could never fire me'. Growing up with a sense of entitlement ingrained in my brain apparently can have some negative effects.
The article also addressed how managers have to adapt to a millennial's mindset in order to make their inexperienced and high-maintenance employee a more respective and effective employee. His tips to winning us over? Make sure that the job responsibilities that we explained in terms of how they will pay off for us in the end, explain the meaningfulness behind a subject, and place us in an environment where we feel like our views matter.
Alsop also says that if we are not given enough positive reviews mixed in with our criticism, that you may as well kiss us goodbye. Because millennials are not good with negative. We like the positive and a lot of it. Sure, we can take a negative hit, but follow that up with something positive. Alsop says if we hear too much 'no' and 'not that way' that we will up and quit because "millinnials break down in tears after a negative performance and even quit their jobs".
Have you been nodding this entire time too? Because I have.
I am so a Millennial. And some of the scenarios that the article talked about (like a guy who had gone through 3 jobs in one year and saw nothing wrong with it) don't sound like they came out of left field. And the part about needing positive reinforcement. That fits me to a tee.
I think what I really garnered from this article was the importance of asking for what you want and thinking you can be anything...but within reason. It's perfectly reasonable to want vacation time or more sick days, but taking advantage is bad employee etiquette. Respecting your employer is of the utmost importance, and thinking that you could potentially go from assistant to CEO in a year is utterly impossible.
While this article does speak a lot about entitlement, I don't think it meant to discourage. In fact, I really think it aids the employer. It tells them how to deal with us - delicately.
And while yes, I completely agree that I saw myself in the description of Alsop's "Millennial", I also think that over the course of the year and half that I have been in my first job I have grown up. I still think of myself as deserving, but I also know that to truly deserve anything I have to prove myself. And proving yourself takes a while, but once earned can take you quite far in your career.