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  • Workplace Advice: 4 Tips on How to NOT “Act Like a Millennial”

    Millennials (generation born between 1982 and 2004)  get a bad rap in the workplace. Remember that TIME cover that said millennials are the “me, me, me generation?” In it, it says:

    They [millennials] got this way partly because, in the 1970s, people wanted to improve kids’ chances of success by instilling self-esteem. It turns out that self-esteem is great for getting a job or hooking up at a bar but not so great for keeping a job or a relationship. “It was an honest mistake,” says Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor at Florida State University and the editor of Self-Esteem: The Puzzle of Low Self-Regard. “The problem is that when people try to boost self-esteem, they accidentally boost narcissism instead.

    millennials

    Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a lot of comments alluding to, “he/she’s just being a millennial,” or “that’s millennial syndrome” in the workplace. Here’s the thing, I am a millennial. So I can’t help but take some offense and some responsibility for this. While many don’t personally portray the negative characteristics often referenced and associated with the “typical” millennial, these comments make me ultra-sensitive about how I behave, and how I am perceived at work.

    tips-for-millennials-in-the-workplace

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    Given that I now have almost a decade of professional experience, and manage a team, I wanted to highlight some of the ways I’ve found people become respected members of their teams in the workplace, millennial or not.

    Here are four tips on not caving or embodying this negative stereotype {that you should follow, STAT}:

    1. Recognize that you are not the smartest person in the room. Sure, you might be smart and talented. But there are likely people you work with who have more experience than you. It doesn’t matter if they’ve never heard of Snapchat; you can learn from these people in a variety of ways: how they handle a crisis, the way they present to clients, the way approach team problems, their knowledge of the industry you’re in. Respect their role, the years they’ve put in, and know your role.
    2. Never go to your manager with just a problem. Ever. Doing this shows a lack of resourcefulness and lack of respect for your manager’s time. If you have an issue or a problem, bring it up to your manager with the following:
      • How you have already explored all obvious options/avenues to solve this
      • 2 or more possible solutions or opportunities, given what you know and what you’ve explored

      Use your peers, teammates, and other resources around you {even Google} to get as far towards a solution or working solution as you can without your manager. This advice was given to me by a professor in undergrad and it has served me very, very well.  

    3. Communicate positively and be a team player. When receiving credit at work, make sure you share the accolade with people who helped you along the way. Showing you recognize team effort’s and peoples’ contributions show you’ll be a good manager, and more importantly, a good leader.
    4. Put your laptop down and phone away in meetings. Yes, even internal ones. It shows respect for the person leading the meeting, and truly allows you to be 100% invested in the meeting mentally. I work in social/digital marketing for Fortune 500 clients, so if I am able to do this, it is possible. If you must be connected for work or personal reasons, that is OK, just politely let the meeting lead or the team aware ahead of time so they’re not thinking, “the millennial’s on Instagram during a meeting again.”

     

    These are just a few of the ways I’ve tried to combat the stereotypes of millennials in the workplace. Have some tips to add? Share in the comments below!

     


    Written by:

    Hannah Redmond is a Digital/Social Media Strategist and Consultant who is going on her 6th year living in Hoboken, and 1st year being a Hoboken Homeowner. She works in an ad agency in Manhattan leading social media strategy for global energy, CPG, and entertainment clients. On the side, she is an entrepreneur, public speaker, dog-lover, world-traveler, and Zogsports-er. She is also a proud Terp (Undergrad) and Scarlet Knight (MBA).


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