the Face of How We Work
A lot is said about the latest generation to enter the workforce. The Millennial presence has challenged the status quo, being the first generation to grow up entirely with the Internet and a gamut of 21st century instant-gratification technology. Often snarked on as “the trophy generation,” where there are no losers and everyone gets a trophy, it’s not surprising that Millennials have also brought a new air of confidence into nearly every company and industry in America and have caused colleagues and managers to stand at attention.
This confident assertiveness can be intimidating and threatening for some employers. To generalize, as we Market Researchers love to do, Millennials are quicker to speak up and ask for more responsibility and more flexible work situations than any generation before them . It would be natural for earlier-generation employers to challenge these seemingly brazen requests, insisting that Millennials spend longer proving themselves before being rewarded with the “trophy” to which they’ve become accustomed.
But when the new generation is seen less as a potential threat and instead appreciated for the opportunity they present, the rewards can be profound. This has been watchLAB’s experience with two rising-star employees, in particular. In only three short years at watchLAB, both Stephanie Mahley and Emira Bardhi have been promoted from entry-level to managerial positions: Stephanie from Assistant Recruiting Manager to Associate Director, and Emira from Recruiter to Project Manager, both also tucking several mid-level positions under their belts along the way.
While we’d love to be able to pat ourselves on the back for some strategic and well-oiled management training program that allowed this to happen, the reality is quite the opposite. The credit goes entirely to Stephanie and Emira for raising their hands to say, “I can do more. Let me do more.” And more they did, proving themselves capable of not only owning their current workload but scaling themselves to manage additional responsibilities, as well.
So naturally, when they and any other fully-achieving employee confidently asks to work from home or even from another city, we trust them to do so. And while it’s not only Millennials that are wanting and needing more flexible work arrangements, we’d attest that it’s because of their speak-up attitude that the wheels have been greased for previous generations to feel comfortable in asking for the same — Boomers so they can more easily continue to work past the typical retirement age, and Gen-Exers so they can balance work with their family and child-rearing responsibilities.
Instead of being met with apprehension or an intimidated eye roll, Millennials should be thanked for initiating a two-way conversation between employer and employee. No longer is it acceptable to sit idly by if you want to be noticed or promoted. The answer might not always be an immediate, “Yes,” but better to stick your hand up and make your aspirations known. That courage and confidence alone is trophy-worthy.
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Want to compare notes about the best camp sites in California or how to build an Adirondack chair with just a mitre saw and 2x4s? Give Heather a call. She loves meeting new people and learning about their experiences and ideas (even better if it’s with a craft beer in hand).
Latest posts by Heather McEneany (see all)