First Choice Staffing NYC Blog

Millennials: Mind the Gap

Posted by First Choice Staffing NYC on Jan 23, 2015 3:02:00 PM
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Millennial helps Baby Boomer on the computer
“The generation with unrealistic expectations”
“The ‘job entitlement’ generation”
“The wildly ambitious generation”
“Millennials Cannot Take Constructive Criticism”

If you are a Millennial, these trending phrases may sound familiar because this is what has been circulating around the working world about you. As a Millennial myself, these blanket statements seemed slightly offensive until I took a step back and evaluated the truth some of them had. And while we could go into a deep analysis as to why and how these stereotypes have originated and how they’ve permeated the current marketplace, we’ve decided that’s probably not the most productive use of our time. The bottom line is that we do not want these stigmas sticking with us as we enter the workplace.  We’ve dedicated this post to offering some useful suggestions to combat our tainted reputation and, ultimately, to work towards closing the generation gap!

Phrase #1:  “Unrealistic Expectations”

How to React: Don’t get impatient and frustrated if your employer can’t magically advance you through the company as quickly as you want. Be reasonable with what you ask of your supervisors and make sure you’ve hit goals for them in your current position before you’re asking for the next best thing.

If you’re doing your job well and not being recognized immediately, it’s probably nothing personal. Sometimes positions just aren’t open, but whatever you do don’t jump around from job to job every 6 months to a year for the sake of a small salary increase and change of scenery. Take our word as Recruiters; jumping around companies will look worse on your resume than not getting a promotion within 6 months.

Phrase #2:  “Job Entitlement”

How to React: Right now you’re not that special. Well, I shouldn’t say that. You’re very special! But in the grand scheme of the operations of a company, you’re inexperienced. Look at your lack of expertise as an opportunity to become special. Being appreciative for every opportunity is important. It’s a kind of karma that will move with you throughout your career. You’re building a foundation and the connections you make now are ones that you’ll want to keep for a long time.

Some tips for coming off UN-entitled:

  1. Tardiness. Be on time or even early and stay late especially when your team does. This will prove you’re reliable and may present more opportunities to observe and learn from senior staff members. Entry-level roles may not be as challenging as you’d like, but avoid becoming complacent. It’s a vibe that’s hard to miss and your supervisor will catch on to it too.
  2. Don’t wait to be told what to do; instead get through your tasks as efficiently as possible and come up with some creative new ideas to propose that can add value to your employer.
  3. So you find yourself with some down time, it happens! If you’re bored, don’t let your eyes wander to social media or your phones. Ask for more tasks, ask others if you can help out, think ahead and do things that you may not usually have the time to do (ex. there is always something to organize!)

Phrase #3: “Wildly Ambitious”

How to React: Stay that way…but to a certain degree. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Having ambition is an incredible quality, but the way you demonstrate it in the work place is a social skill worth honing. Employers are looking for ambitious young people but keep in mind they’re not looking for arrogance. They want to see you working hard and learning from those around you. Having a positive and open-minded attitude goes a long way!

Remain patient and accept that, in most cases, it will take longer than a couple of months at a company to move up, even if you are exceeding expectations. If you are curious about a promotion, consider having a discussion with your supervisor about new projects you can get involved in or ideas you have.

A company is more likely to invest more time and training in an employee that shows interest in growing with the company rather than leaving for the next opportunity that comes along. Loyalty is a characteristic that many employers look for in hiring candidates.

Phrase #4: “Millennials Cannot Take Constructive Criticism"

How to React: Take a deep breath! No matter what age you are, criticism is a hard pill to swallow. We aren’t going to be perfect at our jobs and if we can better ourselves through feedback from our colleagues, wonderful. Of course, that doesn’t mean hearing about the ways you need to improve is a pleasant experience. Our advice is to let them know that their criticism has been received. The reason employers think we can’t take constructive criticism is because we are quick to become defensive and to justify our actions instead of stepping back and taking the time to process the information. 

As Millennials, we must re-train ourselves on how we receive criticism and see it as an opportunity to grow professionally.  We can no longer expect to receive only praise. Remember, Not Everyone Gets A Trophy. Yes, we’ve been given opportunities but its how you seize that opportunity that defines who you are in the workplace. Actions speak louder than words so when you receive constructive criticism, don’t only acknowledge their feedback but show your employer you understand and make cognizant changes in your routine.

And lastly Millennials…in almost every case, Baby Boomers will not be as fluent in technology and social media as we are. This will frustrate you but remember this is also what makes you so valuable to companies today. We are the future and the Baby Boomers know this. They have the experience and you have the tools, together we can achieve a harmonious balance once we start appreciating one another’s assets in the workforce.


Interested in reading more on this topic? Check out these books we’ve personally recommended for you:

"Not Everyone Gets A Trophy", Bruce Tulgan

"Understanding Y", Charlie Caruso

"The Next America: Boomers, Millenials, and the Looming Generational Showdown", Paul Taylor 

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Tags: tips, career advice