Lazy. Irresponsible. Sensitive. Entitled.
These are all words employers commonly use to describe our generation as we begin to forge our way into the real world.
Too many employers look at our generation and think we are too devoted to social media, too self-indulged in our own desires and are not willing to respond to constructive criticism.
Some employers say millennials have lost the ability to think critically in challenging, real-world circumstances and that this generation has always been given the resources to promptly and easily find the answers.
Jean Twenge, associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, told the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2007 that younger people are all about “the focus on the self and doing what’s right for [themselves] rather than following social rules or rules of the society.”
Twenge adds that when millennials enter an interview, they typically come with “an air of entitlement, acting as if they are doing the company a favor by applying to work there.” Once hired, just a title is what they want rather than focusing on what they will actually contribute to the company.
For the percentage of millenials not like this stereotype, these generalizations are insulting and frustrating as we begin to make our way into the workplace. We know they are not representative of our entire generation.
The only way to prove this perceived mentality of our generation to be false is to make ourselves more marketable to future employers. It is our job to rise above these notions set upon our generation.
Our mindset must stray away from the need to get ahead in our chosen profession, but rather to focus on gaining practical experience from seasoned professionals who can mentor us.
The little things in the workplace also have monumental impressions. We need to always show up to work on time, dress professionally, have a positive attitude and and show willingness to produce work that is competitive and worthwhile.
We need to willingly ask our bosses for feedback, so we can always try to improve, learn and grow our job.
Most importantly, our generation needs to go out of the way to impress employers and produce quality work to diminish the animosity and bias many employers have about hiring young adults fresh out of college.
Every generation comes with harmful stereotypes that must be turned into strengths. For example, the Generation Xers, born in the post-Baby Boomer era, were known for their rebellious, hands-off spirit during their formative years. Therefore, they are known in the workforce for their high level of autonomy and self-sufficiency.
As Millennials who grew up in a techonology-saturated culture, our savviness and innovation have the potential to far exceed other generations.
We have to learn that we must market ourselves better as professionals in order to gain access to professional careers which we have all spent so much time, stress and money working toward.
When the time comes to enter the workforce, don’t let the words lazy, irresponsible, sensitive and entitled define you or the way you approach an employer. Let’s take charge and work toward changing our generation’s persona in order to leave a better legacy.