A Message to Millennials: Survey Says Grow and...Grow Up!
3/28/2013 12:41:00 PM
I deal with youth and young adults all the time and they amaze me with their confidence. I love it. But sometimes, I know a few of them will have their face cracked when reality sets in. They just know they are going to get a job as soon as they walk the stage. The just can’t fathom making less than $80k a year –even though their major has a median starting salary at $25k! And willingness to adapt? Nope – the corporate world should love them as they are!
Bless their hearts. Proverbs 19:2 says “Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.” And these millenials are enthusiastic but some lack knowledge about how the real career world operates. CNN contributor Ruben Navarrette, Jr. wrote an opinion piece on millennials in the job market, saying, “millennials are tech-savvy, highly educated and have incredibly high self-esteem even if they haven’t done much to deserve it.” Ouch! But with some of my conversations, I agree.
Millennials, usually defined as those in the 18-to-29 age range, do have some great qualities. However, their desire for upward mobility combined with immaturity are often hard to deal with. Recent research from the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania showed the level of professionalism among new hires has decreased in the last five years. Issues that contributed to this label include: punctuality, regular attendance, honesty, attentiveness, sticking with a task through completion, and even appearing arrogant during their job interviews or after their hire dates, according to the survey. Fifty two respondents said new employees arrived at the office with an air of entitlement. In the article, “Are You Too Immature at Work?” by by Meredith Lepore, she lists some things that identify if you are too immature at your job:
1) You don’t pay attention to instructions
2) You look at rules as guidelines
3) You pout when you get in trouble
4) You don’t understand when things don’t go well
5) You have been told your attire is not professional more than once
6) You are constantly late
While some older adults are guilty of these things, there is still a lack of respect for older professionals and a sense of “gimme” for some of our young career aspiring peeps. Back to CNN article by Ruben Navarrette, Jr., and information from Monster College’s article, “Don’t Be Such a Millennial”, here are some facts for our young up and comers:
The perfect job myth. Naverrette points out that the unemployment rate for millennials is currently at 14%, compared to the national rate of 9.2%. There are a variety of reasons for this. First, millennials are competing against men and women who have been laid off and are therefore more experienced. Second, because of the recession, many companies have downsized. Third, millennials are holding out for the perfect job. They want the job they dreamed of in college – in the big city, with the perfect pay and plenty of paid days off. And while the perfect job is out there, it might not be the perfect time to go after it. We’re living in one of those times where “beggars can’t be choosers.”
The entitlement. In the workplace, you should have no sense of entitlement. Employees that garner attention from their bosses and qualify for performance-based raises keep their heads down, work hard and make it clear that they care about doing well by asking their boss questions like:
• How am I doing
• What can I be doing better?
• How can someone in my position work to advance here?
The attitude. In addition to hearing my co-millennials complain about raises, some say, “I’m not doing that task. It’s not part of my job description.” No matter where you work, you’re on a team. Remember all of the clichéd sayings your high school sports team emblazoned on t-shirts? There’s no “I” in TEAM. “Team” means Together Everyone Achieves More! Well, the same applies to the workplace. There will be times when you have to do a co-worker’s task or job. Whether it’s because they’re a slacker or don’t have time, it doesn’t matter. You have to help the rest of your team pick up the pieces.
While there is nothing wrong with wanting success, the expectation of automatic promotion isn’t real. Wanting to have life better than how you grew up is admirable. But don’t look down on older employees who have real life experience who can help you move up. Look for mentors in your field that you respect and actually listen to advice that could be beneficial. Goals and dreams are certainly attainable and you should pursue them. But to be arrogant, hard-headed and entitled? No ma’am! To be unwilling to change and have a “take me as I am” or a “I got my degree!” snobbery? Let it go sir! Even if you have to start in a pay grade lower than expected, get your foot in the door and work hard, whole learning as much as you can. One day your work will be rewarded.
Operative word one day….even if it’s not “today”.