Nov 13, 2012
It was the perfect job. A flexible position with an interesting company, and an exciting new learning opportunity.
One problem: my boss-to-be was a Millennial.
I’d been out of the work force for a few years, enjoying full-time motherhood. So the idea of reporting to someone who was (nearly) young enough to be my son was a small concern.
But the “Millennial” thing? Scary.
In a review of The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace, Publishers Weekly stated that “Millennials are tarred as flighty, entitled, self-involved dilettantes.”
All I knew about Millennials was what I’d heard in the media, seen online, or read in a book. I’d never actually worked with one.
So in the months that followed, I was relieved to discover that my new boss was not self-centered, entitled, lazy, or fragile, as the Millennial myths claimed.
In fact, he’s taught me a few valuable lessons.
1. Persistence Pays Off
Part of the appeal of my new job was learning the “right way” to grow a business online. But I soon discovered that there is no right way….there’s just figuring out what works for your particular situation.
And that the “figuring out” part takes some persistence. Which has never been my strong point.
I’m more inclined to focus on what doesn’t work and get stuck on poor results for a while.
But not my Millennial boss. He says, “No biggie. Let’s check out this other approach.” And off we go to try again.
2. A Little Hustle Never Hurt
When we’re seeking some attention for a new promotion, I start outlining a strategy on how to attract the type of attention we’re seeking.
Meanwhile, he’s already in five Twitter conversations, getting introductions to the influencers who can help us.
If he wants a little extra cash for an upcoming vacation or activity? He’s got side hustles lined up for whenever he needs them.
Lazy? Not a chance.
3. Someone Else Has Had This Problem, Too
If I had to pick single word to describe my Millennial boss, I’d choose “resourceful.”
Repeatedly, I’ve seen him take on a new problem, and an hour later he’s fully researched our options, obtained guidance from his circle, and has potential vendors on deck to resolve it.
He has taught me that we’re likely not the first person to face this issue, and step one is to find someone else who has dealt with it.
4. Consider Your Audience
Most impressive, though, is his attention to the differences between his perspective and the views of others. Especially our other team members.
People communicate differently. Some speak fast, some are more deliberate. Some folks want all the details, some prefer a general overview. Our team is varied, and he factors that in whether he’s communicating via email, phone, or in person.
This is not effortless. It takes consideration, attentiveness, and forethought.
I’m beginning to think that those Millennial myths are actually just sweeping generalizations. How about you?
Michelle Agner blogs at Careertopia where she helps her fellow careerists find, excel in, and enjoy careers they actually like. You can check out their FREE ecourse “How to Find the Perfect Career Fit For Your Personality”.