To the older generations; to those 20, 30, 40 years into the workforce; to the ones who look at 20-something employees with a preconceived notion of their work ethic and their company loyalty:
We are not what you think.
Millennials are shadowed by a bad reputation. According to the world, we’re entitled, require constant hand-holding, are “job hoppers,” and have little to no work ethic. Given this image, it’s semi-understandable why you roll your eyes and expect the worst when you interact with us, particularly in a work setting. But these assumptions are dead wrong, and by believing and perpetuating them, you set us up for failure.
We are not entitled.
It’s a common myth that we expect the best jobs right off the bat. Honestly, that would make the whole job-search thing so much easier. But that is by no means what’s expected, and most millennials recognize that as an entirely unrealistic situation. In fact, millennials are graduating from college into “one of the worst job markets in recent history.” Any job is a good job in our book, especially since we need to pay off those monstrous student loans.
We do not require constant hand-holding.
Millennials are perceived as super sensitive and generally clueless when it comes to the professional world. Let’s be honest -- entering the real world is pretty jarring, especially immediately following the four-year roller coaster that is college. Everybody needs time to adjust. That being said, millennials don’t need significantly more time to adjust than anyone else. Once we get the hang of it, we’ll be just as self-sufficient as other employees, and equally as valuable.
We are not “job hoppers.”
Because of the aforementioned terrible job market, employment opportunities are few and far between for those entering the workforce. The job market is not what it used to be, and accordingly, job security is not what it used to be. Growing up in this environment, we’ve developed a much weaker sense of company loyalty; loyalty is not something we expect from employers, and not something we feel the need to return. This results in us changing jobs more often than previous generations of workers, but doesn’t warrant the negative label “job hopper.” We are forced to make these kinds of decisions to support ourselves in this economy.
We do not have a poor work ethic.
There’s no other way to put this: millennials work hard. In the struggling job market, we’ve been forced to work harder for the opportunities we’ve been given. As I mentioned before, jobs these days are scarce, and good jobs are even scarcer. That means that when we get a job, we put in the work because we don’t want to lose it. We recognize the value in having and keeping a job and building up job experience.
Moral of the story: we don’t fulfill the negative stereotype that has been attributed to us. Millennials don’t need to be the cause of your workplace eye rolls, and we are not the cause of extra stress in your day. Furthermore, we don’t want to be. We’re here to do our job and do it well, just like you. We are valuable additions to the workforce, and it’s time everyone started seeing us that way.