Everyone under 35 has heard the pervasive complaints: Millennials are entitled, lack work ethic, and can’t seem to look up from their devices even when crossing the street during a New York rush hour.
But as Millennials become the majority generation in the workforce, perhaps it is time to dig a little deeper, learn more about members of Gen Y as individuals, and bury – once and for all – the over-hyped stereotypes.
To help take us that direction, our sister site, Switch and Shift, asked members of YEC which Millennial myth has created the biggest obstacles for them, and how to beat those barriers while carving out an amazing professional life.
Here’s what they said:
1. We’re Constantly Distracted by Our Devices
Technology is changing the way everyone lives. This isn’t only true for the younger generation. While we may be more tuned in to the latest gadgets, that doesn’t mean we are too distracted to focus on being productive. In fact, millennials are often very efficient at using technology to find solutions and to communicate more efficiently.
2. We Lack Patience
One big myth is this idea that all millennials want everything “right now.” I can see how older generations arrive at this perception, yet it’s not so simple. Millennials want opportunity, and we want to know that all the things we want are possible. You can overcome this by asking for opportunity, not outcomes. Don’t ask for the salary, ask how you can earn it. Then go do it.
3. We’re Flighty
One of my companies is staffed completely with folk under 32 years old. Our culture, despite our all-Millennial workforce, is sharply loyal, which seems to buck the notion that Millennials seek temporary two-year or less stints. Because we have a carved out 10-year plan that we constantly refine and discuss, our team seems focused on the collaborative mission rather than the dull day-to-day duties.
4. We’re Not Driven
Most people think Millennials aren’t driven and want everything to come easy without working for it. The thing is that they are driven, just by certain things, such as work that gives back to the community or environment and is more meaningful to consumers. It’s not something we need to overcome, it’s something we need to embrace. It’s the drive to do more than work and to provide some good; the world needs that!
5. We Don’t Learn Anymore
There’s a myth perpetuated that young people don’t read anymore. Reading is being defined as having a hardcover or paperback book, and sitting in a chair and reading it — as if this was the only way to learn anything. Today we get to learn directly from experts via blogs, podcasts, etc. We have incredible access to knowledge, expertise and experience via text, video and audio. And we use it.
6. We’re Overstimulated
Millennials are used to having immediate access to news and events via the Internet. But this can numb them to moments that would usually be exciting or stimulating. My suggestion to overcome this obstacle is to take time to appreciate the unique and original instead of following trending news.
7. We Change Jobs Too Frequently
Interviewers, my team included on occasion, often view the short-tenured and numerous early jobs that many Millennials have had as a negative. Personally, I’d much prefer someone with varied experiences, who has tried a number of paths and then chooses to work for me, than someone who just knew what they wanted to do from childhood. Life experience outweighs industry experience every time.
– Brennan White, Cortex
8. We’re Entitled
It’s easy to believe Millennials are arrogant and delusional. Their ambitions and needs often seem far too grandiose. But that stereotype ignores the fact that our youth are smarter and more talented than ever. There are plenty of Millennials that are worth their weight in gold, and it simply takes an open mind to encounter and engage those that would be exceptional players on your team.
9. We’re All the Same
– Jess Levin, Carats & Cake
10. We Lack a Work Ethic
I have constantly run into the perception that I am from a “lazy generation,” which requires that I make sure timeliness is one of the most important factors in my company’s services. We want things done on time and beyond a client’s expectations.
11. We’re Lazy
Millennials are often described as lazy. My generation can overcome this myth by continuing to work hard and accomplish large milestones in business. Our generation is known for startups run by aggressive youths. I hope that will continue to counteract the negative myth of laziness.
12. We Don’t Respect Authority or Elders
The myth is that Millennials don’t respect authority or elders. However, the reality is that Millennials respect authority, mentors, elders and loyal leaders. Millennials work hard and listen to employers who also show a mutual respect for them. Millennials can overcome this myth by continuing to always treat their employers and colleagues the way they would want to be treated.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Switch and Shift and YEC!