Written by Miranda Hassen
As a young millennial, I’m new to the workforce. I’ve been told over and over again that each generation is different; raised differently, in different environments. From my perspective, we millennials are in a unique position as the first generation to grow up in a technological environment where we could learn about anything we wanted, with having virtually unlimited resources available as quickly as we could type into the search bar.
I’ve been told on numerous occasions that the youngest generation is always looked down upon. It’s no big deal, they say. It happened to the Baby Boomers, it happened to Gen X, and it happened to Gen Y. Forbes wrote an entire article about the inaccurate stereotyping of millennials. In a YouTube video that has since gone viral, Simon Sinek talks about the disconnect millennials feel from their superiors when they join the workforce.
And, I’ve also been told that these generational differences can make or break a workplace environment.
If you’re a manager, a supervisor, or a CEO, this is what I want you to know about the hard-working, goal-oriented millennials:
1. We don’t know everything about social media or computers
We are the first generation in human history to grow up with technology integrated into our childhood. We watched it evolve firsthand. But that doesn’t mean we’re experts. Sometimes our bosses make the assumption that we are knowledgeable in every aspect of a computer, from IT to social media to email marketing, simply because of our age. The truth is nobody is ever truly a “jack of all trades.” We learn a specific set of skills through out experiences, just like you did.
2. We’re coming in…insecure
As teenagers, we were told we had to go to college in order to get a decent paying job. Then we were told we had to get an internship to have experience on our resumes. Then we were told we had to have several internships because one was no longer good enough. Then when we were ready to graduate, we started noticed that many job applications said, “Master’s degree preferred.” Where do we go from here?
Sometimes our bosses make the assumption that we are knowledgeable in every aspect of a computer, from IT to social media to email marketing, simply because of our age.
All these added expectations have led to many us feeling like – even as entry-level professionals – we don’t know enough. We aren’t good enough. And we will never understand because we are too young and naive.
3. We’ve got some stuff to work on…
We spend too much time on our phones. We can be reluctant to communicate, especially when we are intimidated. We don’t always see things in the long-term because we are so used to things happening seemingly overnight. We need to stand tall and accept some personal accountability.
And we need more leaders and mentors that will help us build up our confidence. We need to know that it’s okay when we mess up. We need someone to remind us that success will come in due time. We need someone willing to work with us to build a trusting relationship.
Simon Sinek posted a response video to the original Inside Quest talk, where he presented an idea that I love. He proposed that instead of having a “self-help” section at bookstores, we should encourage a “help others” industry instead.
Show us hospitality and model teamwork so we can learn how it works. And remember that sometimes, we need a little push, need to know you are rooting for us and trust us. Being surrounded by working professionals that have been in the business for over 10, some even 20 years, can be intimidating after all.
But I promise that there are still plenty of us millennials out there that are eager to learn, yearning to make a difference, and striving to succeed. We just need your help in taking the first steps.
Miranda Hassen is social media enthusiast, freelance writer and virtual assistant. She’s a Midwestern girl with a love for travel and photography. You can usually find her at a local coffee shop or catching the latest blockbuster movie.