Friday, June 25, 2010

What's wrong with Millennials?

Our 2010 summer intern class has been here for three weeks and we haven’t lost a single one yet! As Vicki mentioned, we’ll be supplementing the intern posts with some tips and advice. So I thought I should let you know that we’re on to you.

Older generations have been thoroughly warned about Millennials. You’ve been referred to as the “entitlement generation.” We’ve heard that you don’t like hard work, you’re easily distracted and you’re responsible for the popularity of all these vampire shows. You’ve got the “60 minutes” crowd pretty freaked out.

I recognize that every generation wonders, “What’s wrong with kids these days?” Unfortunately, I’ve found some of these criticisms ring true in some of your peers. It only takes one bad apple to saddle you with a stereotype that will ride you into your entry into the workplace. So let’s not worry about if it was MTV or your hovering “helicopter” parents that “spoiled” your generation. Let’s work on shaking the stigma.

The first thing you’ve got to do is get your work done – on time. Set an alarm on your cellular telephone. Tweet a reminder. Do whatever you need to do to adhere to the schedule you’ve been given. That’s super important to old folks.

Secondly, multitask them to bits. There are concerns that Millennials have short attention spans. I’d argue that you just consume information differently from previous generations. Walking and chewing gum is the least of your worries. You’ve got email, your cell phone, Twitter and Facebook all getting snippets of attention. When an employer sees how much more productive a multi-channel mind can be, they might ask you for tips.

Third, if you feel that someone is lumping you in with the cast of the Jersey Shore, let your actions do the talking. Complaining will be dismissed as whining and will have an adverse effect because of that whole “entitlement” thing. Go above and beyond to prove them wrong. Rely on your fresh thinking and the quality of your work to win the day. If that doesn’t work, ask them for advice. That’s an easy way to turn a critic into an ally.

Hopefully, this helps. Feel free to leave comments below.

Mark Szczepanik
Director of Brand Voice

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