Blessed to be back for another week of the Millennial Minute.
Poll question of the week, have you ever felt trapped in a job role? Last week while facilitating a professional career course at a local HBCU, we were asked to discuss an article called The Cruelest Thing You Can Do to an Employee and Your Business. The author John Logan basically says “The cruelest thing you can do to an employee and your business is give them a title and draw a box around their name.” I immediately thought about when I first got into media sales and the word disloyal, another common word I hear with our generation.
When I accepted the offer for my first media sales job, I was …
- Hype to be at the Company I had admired for years
- Excited to be starting in a new city and
- Ready to take over the world! I was a sponge, taking it all in. (advice: being a sponge/lifelong learner will serve you forever. Never stop learning!)
So, within my first year, I was labeled a “rising star” and I had managed to excel quickly in my core role. But I had the “itch.” Many of you know this feeling. You are doing something well, settling in, and then you have an itch to do something else to stay fulfilled. Now, I am allergic to complacency, and I know many fellow Millennials are the same. I avoid that feeling like the plague (and I encourage everyone to check their complacency meter every once in a while). After all, doing well and being fulfilled are not the same thing.
Over the years, I noticed several areas in the workplace that I believed I could impact. Me being me, I decided to share some of my ideas and solutions with upper management. I remember this so vividly. I was in conversation with our General Manager at the time, she stopped me mid-sentence, grabbed my shoulders, and said “Brittney, we are so excited to see your enthusiasm and we love it. But, you’re still so young in the industry, I just want you to worry about selling. Don’t worry about all of those other things.” I wish I had a snapshot of my face that day when I heard that. Probably looked something like. I put on the best fake smile and walked away thinking #youtriedit but from that conversation, I was more determined than ever to do all the things I intended. The easiest way to challenge me is to challenge me.
What I wanted to tell my manager (which I later did) was that I had specific goals when I took this job offer and a very aggressive timeline. But for me, that is what I was used to. My parents always held us to greatness and we stayed striving for more. When I went to college, my peers were some of the most motivated and driven people I had ever met (shoutout to #HowardU). So naturally, when I graduated it pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and go for that I wanted, and I did not believe I needed twenty years in my industry to reach these goals.
A couple thoughts..
Millennial to Employer:
- Don’t box your people in, especially Millennials. No, we are not just whining give me more, we are standing up because we want more and are eager to earn it! I have heard employers use this formula: Millennials expect too much from Companies + then become easily unhappy + which leads to jumping Companies = disloyalty. I say we expect more from Companies because we invest so much time, talent, and energy into where we choose to work. We are worth it!
- Encourage a culture that values multi-talented, hardworking employees. Especially those who have the ability to take the company to the next level for many years to come.
- Establish growth goals and timelines then follow-up. We don’t want a micro-manager, but we do want to know you value us for all we have to offer and that you look at us as individuals.
Also, just know, gone are the days when you can say “just be glad you have a job.” We don’t want to hear it. We want to invest ourselves completely and get a commitment back, mutually beneficial. Now, on the other side.
Millennial to Millennial:
- Pay your dues, earn the respect, become the expert. You want to be respected and acknowledged for your work? Put the work in and make sure it’s tight. Don’t ever let your professional brand or work ethic come into question. Like me or not, I’m going to make sure you respect me on a professional level.
- Become a valued asset wherever you go. Once you have become settled in your primary role, especially with a new position, then begin to find ways to inject your talents in other areas.
- And always remember, business is business and you won’t always get your way. Look at the bigger picture and ask yourself, how does what I am doing or not doing effect the company as a whole? Everything is not a personal attack.
I say all this to say, maybe we do expect more from our workplace or have job hopped, but it’s not because we don’t want to earn it. We want the resources, opportunities, and knowledge to excel quicker and smarter than before. Many of us know our value when we walk in the door and know that with the right support we can only go up from there. Therefore, if we are not appreciated and acknowledged for our work, yes, we will find another work environment. But, who wants to stay in the wrong work environment, given another opportunity arrives? This may be considered different than our previous generations, but it’s also not a negative. Essentially, we should not be less valued because we work hard in a Company for two years, versus twenty. Now, don’t get me wrong, Vets are valuable and essential to your team! But who’s to say you couldn’t leave a lasting impact on a company in two years, did you need twenty?
Until next time, stay dope Gen Y!