Millennial–a label given to those born between 1981 and 1996. There sure is a lot of talk about this generation in the workplace. Not great talk, at that. Millennials seem to come with stereotypes and a bad reputation before they may even start their first day working at a company.
Are you a Millennial? If so, let’s get one thing established. You don’t need to live up to the stereotype others may have placed on you. Be yourself and show your colleagues the great qualities that tend to thread through your generation. Some examples may be your push for inclusion, civic-minded goals, and sustainable practices.
Here are three ways to overcome stereotypes that may have been placed on you:
1. Make a point to understand their perspective
Their perspective. That may be hard. Perhaps your boss gets frustrated when you do not want to work on the weekend, and it seems like no matter the outcome one of you is unhappy with your quantity of work hours. Take a moment to stop and think about why your boss is getting frustrated. Is it because they value hard work, which to them translates to putting in extra hours? What is the root of the frustration?
Each situation is different, but if you feel comfortable perhaps you would be able to approach your boss and explain other ways that you demonstrate your value for hard work, aside from working overtime. Is it your diligence throughout the day? Or what about how you make a point to keep your phone away or limit your use of it during work hours? Did you go out of your way to help a colleague with a project they were working on? Hard work might look different to different generations.
2. Focus on what is in your control
Focus on what is in your control. Did your coworkers write you off as a “millennial” the second you walked in the door? Don’t dwell on it. You can’t control what people think about you or how they act, you can only control your own actions. Don’t let their assumptions of who you are based on your age define you.
3. Give it time
Finally, give it time. Over time, your coworkers will get to know you as they work with you and learn about you. Show them what a great person you are! They will be glad that such a great millennial was hired at their company.