The common descriptors for Millennials in the workplace are “lazy” and “unskilled.” Their lack of professional experience coupled with a self-centered attitude makes them seemingly unsuitable for promotion, or so many leaders like to insist. However, how much of this negativity towards the new workforce is unmerited? Truth is, lots. J.T. O’Donnell, in an insightful article for Inc., argues that it’s not Millennials’ work ethic that prevents them from succeeding, but rather their lack of understanding of what Donnell refers to as the power of perception. Essential, how you present yourself is more significant than your talents and abilities alone.
So, if you’re a Millennial looking to stand out from your peers. you should start to recognize the power of perception, step out of your cozy zone of comfort, and avoid these 5 common pitfalls. In doing so, you will showcase your value to the company, and make yourself a candidate for a well-deserved promotion.
1. Working Just Enough
Are you a notorious clock watcher who won’t stay a minute past the obligatory time you’re required to be at work? This could be damaging your credentials. By only working just enough, you are giving the impression that the work you’re doing isn’t all that important to you. Instead of leaving right at quitting time each day, stay 15-20 minutes late once or twice per week to finish up tasks or discuss relevant information with your boss. It’s a small time investment, but it will prove your commitment.
2. Staying Inside Comfort Zones
Don’t only do the tasks assigned to you, if you can take on more responsibility, seek out more responsibility. There is always something to be done, try to anticipate the needs of your boss and do it without having to be asked. This is especially pertinent if you can find things to do that will save the company money.
3. Being Problem-focused rather than Solution-focused
When you bring problems to the table, also provide solutions. If you’re simply pointing out issues – e.g. broken processes, lagging projects, etc – without offering ways to fix it, you’ll be perceived as critical rather than proactive. .
4. Working too Slowly
In an environment where time is money, taking too long to finish projects in the name of “perfection” isn’t going to do you any favors. Be productive, but produce fast. A good rule of thumb is to find out what your employer’s deadlines are, and complete the work well in advance of those deadlines.
5. Seeming Indifferent
Odds are, your employer isn’t going to promote you if you lack enthusiasm for the work you’re doing. Make it a point to express how delighted you are to be on the team, and go out of your way to make that apparent.
Being a successful Millennial in the modern workforce is no easy feat, but making a concerted effort to rise above the reputation of your peers is key to making progress in your chosen industry.
What have you done in your job to stand out from the crowd? What steps have you taken to prove to your superiors that you not only can, but will go the extra mile?