‘Challenge us, Test us, Push us!’ – A Millennial’s Response
We believe that businesses will benefit from engaging and and empowering millennials in the workplace. I wrote an article for Virgin about the responsibilities businesses have to help millennials fulfil their potential.
Our regular (millennial) contributor Abbi Connor has given us her response…
Challenge us, Test us, Push us!
It is almost universally recognised that millennials are lazy. To many employers we are seen to be walking into workplaces with social media savvy, a desire for casual office dress and the ubiquitous university degree, feeling entitled to do the bare minimum for the maximum reward. In my experience and that of most other millennials, I know this is far from the case. Yes, we may be professionally promiscuous job-hoppers who are likely to change our careers multiple times, but rather than singling us out as fickle, it makes us stand out as a generation driven by a desire for satisfaction in our jobs.
Work / life integration is becoming increasingly important for millennials. As the average retiring age continues to rise, we seek out professions and workplaces that positively integrate with and impact our lives as a whole. Inclusive office culture and mutual respect between executives and employees, for example, make one feel like part of a team and like our work is being valued. Office spaces that encourage interaction – group areas, open meeting spaces, office sports teams, even office dogs – all help employees to connect on a personal level, as well as a professional one. Every office I’ve worked in since leaving university has taken this approach and I can say from first-hand experience that it’s incredibly effective for progress. As a people person I find it important to be able to relate to both my colleagues and my superiors on a personal level. I find that taking the time to get to know someone and what makes them tick is nothing but beneficial for a working relationship.
It is undeniable that degrees are everywhere, but aside from being just another qualification, the university experience is incredibly good at equipping young people with the skills they need in the world of work. Although my late-night essay writing and contemporary literature cramming sessions haven’t translated exactly into my charity communications role, they taught me to challenge myself, set personal goals and targets, and always strive to learn more and be better in everything I do.
Four years of higher education is hard work, so to be subjected post-graduation to months of mindless excel inputting and general desk monkey work for little to no pay (just to get your foot in the door), is incredibly disheartening. Challenge us, test us, push us! When we enter a new job fresh-faced and full of ideas, we want to put our hard-earned skills to work! Our engagement with social issues – desire for equality and diversity in the workplace, more women in top positions, and an increasing awareness and intolerance of sexual harassment in the workplace (to name a few) – means that we are engaged with both our personal and professional environments and are striving to make them better for everyone.
So ultimately, as a generation of employees, millennials may sometimes be bottomless brunch obsessed / ‘dress down Friday’ loving clichés, but as Sophie writes, by 2020 we’ll be occupying half the workplace. In order to make the most of the potential across all generations, it’s time for businesses to stop combatting and seek collaboration.
Studied English Literature and Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds
Lover of peanut butter, coffee and good books.
Works in Events and Communications Support at Cherry Trees, a charity for children with disabilities.