It’s an uphill battle for millennials in the workplace. We come into a role and the Baby Boomers already assume we take on the stereotypical millennial personality. We can’t keep our shoes on, we aren’t serious about work, we only think about “what’s in it for me.” That just isn’t true. It’s hard to constantly prove your professionalism and commitment to your company’s mission when the higher-ups often interpret and portray your generation in a negative light.
So today, I’m going to share my tips for success for the millennial generation in the workplace. Every job I’ve had, I’ve worked very closely with people that are much older than I am, and thanks to these tips, I think they actually respect my work and my opinion.
1. Be present. When you’re in a meeting or having a conversation, be in the room. Provide opinions and insights and offer helpful suggestions when appropriate.
2. Dress appropriately. Save the body-con dress for the club, wear shoes you can walk in, and wear tights or stockings in the winter. Major bonus points.
3. Say YES! When your boss or co-worker asks for your help on a project. Always say yes. Take on the extra work. You can sleep when you’re dead and will prove to be a valuable team player.
4. Ask questions. Show you are interested in the work that others are doing by asking questions about their projects and areas of expertise. Also, if you aren’t totally confident in the work you are doing, ask for clarification. It’s ok, but always make sure you have explored every other option to figure it out first.
5. Offer to help. Go the extra mile and offer to help with things that might be out of your specific area, but you can see an extra person is needed. Volunteer to attend the night time and after work events. Offer to host the baby shower for your co-worker. Step up and show you care.
6. Sit at the table. You’re a member of the team, sit at the table with the higher-ups in a meeting and be confident that you are good at your job.
7. But move if you’re asked…If they decide they don’t need you to help with this project or they want to bring in a consulting firm, don’t get offended just politely remind them that you are here and willing to help if they need you.
8. If they don’t give you a purpose, find your own. Many of us need a purpose to the work we are doing. Maybe we want to help people. Maybe we’re trying to further our career. Either way, if the purpose is not explicit, find your own purpose. Are you doing this to earn money to buy a house? Are you trying to save money for your future? Find what motivates you to get up every morning.
9. Be patient and willing to help. More than likely, you will be a little more technologically advanced than your bosses. That’s ok. If they ask you how to do the same tedious task on the computer over and over again, do not get annoyed or impatient. Always be willing to help. They are trying to learn too. Create a partnership that is beneficial for both of you.
10. Have a student attitude and jump at opportunities to learn. The people older than you in the work place have a lot of experience and even more contacts. Use their expertise and network to learn things. When an opportunity arises to learn a new skill, take it! You never know what skills you may need down the road.
What tips do you have for working with older generations in the workplace?