Embrace being a millennial in your workplace
WITH JENNIFER CAMEROS
SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT HAWAII CHAPTER VOLUNTEER, AND A RECRUITER AT KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS
The workplace may seem like a daunting environment to enter for all of you fresh college graduates and young professionals. Be prepared to answer pop-culture questions, explain youth slang and be called a millennial by your superiors. Don’t take it as an insult, however. Prove yourself in the workplace with your performance and break free from the misleading judgment of this term.
Q: I look younger than I am and I feel like it affects the way I am treated. How can I stop this?
A: Looking younger or being called a millennial can give off the common perception that you are inexperienced, entitled and/or lazy, ultimately affecting how you are treated as a professional. However, there are many things millennials can do to change this perception. Experience takes time, but you can also be proactive in seeking out professional development opportunities to continue to grow or find a mentor. Finding a mentor is a great way to build another connection/network within your field, receive career advice and ask an experienced professional questions that you may not be comfortable discussing with your co-workers or boss.
Q: How can I be seen as an equal by my co-workers or boss?
A: Take the initiative and time to build rapport with your co-workers and boss, get to know them and find common ground whether in personal interest, communication styles, etc. As you continue to work with your co-workers and boss, identify each other’s strengths and areas of improvement and find ways to collaborate together to knowledge share and learn from each other. Show your co-workers and boss that you are able to make valuable contributions.
Q: How can I prove myself to my boss and break the millennial mold?
A: Prove yourself to your boss with your performance. Make it a point to arrange reoccurring meetings with your immediate supervisor to set operational and professional development goals, track how you perform toward those goals and discuss feedback on what you do well and areas you can improve on. When setting operational goals, think outside the box and ask for additional projects and/or responsibilities beyond of your comfort zone. However, ensure that the operational goals you set are achievable, as you wouldn’t want to set yourself up for failure.