7 Job Success Tips for the Millennial Generation

2 Oct

Hello all!  I’ve recently moved to Orange County and so the “urban” became a little more “suburban” hence the stopping of the blog.  I still think it’s worth continuing, though!  A topic at hand I thought I’d discuss is How to be successful at work, especially as a millennial.

There are many studies done on managing the Millennial generation (I would know because our office manager, probably a Boomer, invites me to sit on meetings where they discuss best practices on managing one of “us”!) and it’s safe to say, we are different than older generations, but not in a bad way.  Here’s my frank little list, gathered from my own experiences working in corporate America.  Feel free to sound off in the comments about your own views!

1) Improve your verbal communication skills.  With our head constantly stuck staring at our phones, it is hard sometimes for our generation to pick up the phone or make in-person meetings happen.  This is incredibly valuable for a few reasons.  Verbal communication often allows you to convey tone better than written communication would.  This also works in another way – emails are forever, so if you have some potentially bad news to share, it’s easier to do it in person so an email string isn’t forwarded around.

2) Network. It is so important to grow your personal brand inside your office as much as it is outside your office.  When you are involved in small office-wide things, people get to know who you are, and if they see success with passion projects, they are likely to call upon you to deliver other things for them.  One such example for me is I worked on a Diversity Day event for work, the Managing Partner seemed to like what I did, and then she called upon me to do other work for her that was more related to my job function.  She knew she could count on me because she saw my success in other areas – so important to build that personal brand!

3) Make friends at work, but be careful.  Don’t be that person who is constantly a negative Nancy – no one likes to be around them.  It’s important to find that balance – grow your friends network within the office but make sure you setup some boundaries.  Not everyone needs to know about your raunchy weekend hookups…

4) Take on new opportunities.  This is important.  We get bored easily so we’re always asking for new tasks, and often excelling at them (pat yourself on the back!).  But then again, our generation likes transparency, so if we hear that X person is being paid way more than us for us doing the same job, we are going to get a little upset.  We might kick and scream and whine to our friends and swear off accepting any new responsibilities (err… no comment if this is personal experience!) – but at the end of the day, we are only depriving ourselves of extra learning opportunities.  My Gen X mentor broke this one down for me, and I appreciate her very much for that.  Take a look at the big picture and how accepting new challenges benefits you and your professional growth.

5) Stand up for yourself. Now, I don’t suggest that you sell your soul when you take on new challenges.  If you really are taking on increasing responsibilities, you may deserve a title or salary hike to go with that.  Oftentimes, it is up to you to bring this up.  Start by creating a list of your accomplishments, new processes, succinct reasons why what you did was of value, do your research on websites like Glassdoor.com and Salary.com to gain competitive intelligence on like salaries, and request to schedule some time with your boss.  Go in to this meeting prepared, and just like you’d practice your elevator speech, practice this.  You can list off accomplishments and then make your dollar “demand.”  This is also where your communication skills come in handy – your salary negotiation talk should be had in person or over the phone so your boss hears your firm voice and has an opportunity to respond or talk this out.

6) Know when it’s time to move on.  This is also very important.  As millennials we are high achievers and love getting that gold star for a job well done.  Most of us (especially me!) came into a dismal job market.  I cried almost everyday at my first job out of college because I just didn’t have the mentorship to be successful at it.  This was a turning point – I realized that I just won’t be excellent at everything, and that was ok, and that it is ok to fail.  I left that job, struggled in this job market, and finally am in a place that I’m learning and am happy.  When it’s time for me to move on from here for the next big thing, I’ll know it.

7) Don’t burn your bridges.  Especially if you work for a small industry and want to stay there, don’t do this.  Leave a company graciously, be careful not to badmouth, even if you hated working there because they treated you like shit, there is no need to spread these rumors during your last two weeks there.  Sometimes, it’s just not worth it to assert that you were “right”.  You don’t want this to be the last memory of you to your peers.  Though, I don’t think this should discourage you from answering HR Exit Interview questions honestly, professionally, and thoughtfully.

This was super long, I know, but these are important lessons that I’ve learned in my 10 years working via my incredibly smart and talented Gen X and Millennial mentors.

Do you have any thoughts that you want to share? Any additions?  Feel free to sound off in the comments!


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