BEAN Seattle Blog
We have different ways of seeing the world than previous generations. For instance, one study by professors at Brigham Young University found that college students are more likely now to define "adult" based on certain personal abilities and characteristics rather than more traditional "rite of passage" events.
The Millennials are also called the "Trophy Generation", i.e. every kid gets a trophy i.e. you are the single most special and precious flower. Many employers are very concerned that Millennials want constant reward, i.e. "Can I be the CEO now?", and are not willing to commit to the job. We switch jobs incessantly, constantly complain about lack of recognition and rather take long vacations then work long hours.
At least, so they say. But are these things true?
Up to a certain point, maybe it's true. We value choices in choosing what we do, flexibility in how we do it, recognition if we are doing a good job and, of the paramount importance, the sense of mission and passion by doing what matters.
So, how can we, Millennials, retain our mobility and passion without being seen as "flakey" or "prima donna"?
1. Know Yourself (Nobody Else Will)
Don't put yourself in the mess of getting a job, quit because you really want to travel, cannot afford to travel, get another job, hate it because they don't "get you", and quit again. If you don't know what you want, how will other people? Get your act together before you go look for jobs, or better yet, get your act together before you go asking for job referrals. Don't screw your friends!
2. Do the Work (Shut Up)
Once you get a job that fits what you are looking for, do the work for a while before you suggest changes to the CEO. However difficult it might be for you to imagine, nobody gives a rat's ass about what your professors told you or what your group projects have taught you. Your classmates did not like smartasses who ask questions just to sound smart and your co-workers like that even less. Open yourself to the possibility that there might be things you need more than 4 weeks to completely understand.
3. Get Honest Feedback
I know you think you are awesome, but are you sure everybody else does, too? You might never know for sure with your friends, but with a 360 review, you can find out from your co-workers. Ask for anonymous feedback from your peers, managers and direct reports. You might be surprised with what you learn.
4. Be Able to Take Criticism
If it turns out that people don't think you walk on water, don't freak out! Nobody is perfect, and constructive criticism will only help you realize your full awesomeness down the line, after you absorb and act upon said criticism.
5. Be Able to Take Compliment
If it turns out that people DO think you walk on water, don't freak out! Don't let it go to your head. Be open to the possibility that your co-workers are too polite to point out areas you could use improvement. Do you know anybody's who's perfect? The odds are not good that you would be "The One". Be thankful for the positive feedback and really think about how you could do better.
6. Perfection Requires Dedication
Not everything has to be perfect, but if perfection is what you want out of your work and life, then it is going to require some dedication. Dedication, in many cases, looks like doing boring work from the outside. Often times, it IS boring work. That's the price you might just have to pay for perfection. It IS hard, and that is why it's called "work".
7. Don't Sell Out (Seriously, Know Yourself)
Let's say you thought you knew what you wanted, you found work that you thought will get you there, you asked for feedback, you learned, you improved and you dedicated yourself. Then, it turned out your work is soul-destroying and will never give you what you want.
Well, unless you have crushing financial obligations, don't settle with your work just for money. Life is too short. People remember (and will remember) John D Rockefeller and Bill Gates because of their philanthropic work. Do you know who John Jacob Astor and Alexander Turney Stewart are? They were all wealthier than Bill Gates in their days, but people will not remember them or their wealth that were built by fur and dry goods. Get out and do something else, like volunteer with BEAN!
8. There is more to Life
Let's say you thought you knew what you wanted, you found work that you thought will get you there, you asked for feedback, you learned, you improved and you dedicated yourself. Then, it turned out your work is every bit as fulfilling and rewarding as you thought it could be, and more!
Congrats! You have hit the jackpot! Now, don't be a douche (or douchess) about it. To over-quote from "Spider-man" the movie: "With great powers come great responsibilities." Don't get sucked into your success, because success tends to build a very isolating bubble around you. Get out and do something else, like volunteer with BEAN!