There are currently five generations in one workplace, with the baby boomers running the show. Baby boomers are those in their fifties and sixties who are the workplace managers, directors and CEOs; idealistic, optimistic and thinking primarily about their retirement. The modern workplace was designed by these people, where the most important factors are time-keeping, organisation and showing your face.
However, you as a millennial (those born in 1980 and onwards) might have different priorities, and you are starting to infiltrate the workplace. You’re independent and, having been told that you can have what you want, are willing to work to be successful. You also value flexibility in the workplace, maintaining a suitable work-life balance, whilst you want to work with a organisation rather than for them.
The culture of the workplace will take a while to evolve, and for those of you currently leaving school or university and looking for work it’s hard to know what to do when you’ve got to be employable now as well as develop yourself to remain employable in the future. 65% of children entering primary school today will end up working in job types that don’t exist yet. How can you plan for the future when you’ve no idea what’s going to happen?
As it’s not possible to concentrate your energy on doing everything under the sun to combat that constant pressure to be perfect here are a few quick tips to help you gain both that first job and a more fruitful, long-lasting career.
Don’t rest on your laurels
Whether or not you go to university keep learning and keep curious. Stay out of your comfort zone in the workplace and ask for things that will keep you on your toes. Keep your mind fresh by learning new skills, whether it’s a language, coding, cooking or anything in between.
Step out of your comfort zone
Find opportunities to mix with people outside your social group, and spend some time with others in different circles, or in the local community. If you stick to those you know you’ll reinforce your own ideas, and never know what you don’t know. Volunteer with a local community group, and once you start, you’ll find it easier to connect with people of different backgrounds, as well as finding it rewarding.
If you want to learn about a career path or an industry or how someone got to where they are now email them or message them via LinkedIn and ask whether you can take them out for coffee and talk to them.
Skills not grades
While more and more people are gaining degrees, more and more companies are re-defining their job specifications in terms of skills and personality. Soon you won’t be able to rest on that degree, and you’ll need a diverse and concrete range of skills. If you are confident you’re qualified in some aspects, take a chance and learn something completely new to build up your skillset.
Build your online reputation
Creating an online presence through social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn and blogging apps such as WordPress can help you build your reputation and your personality. This reputation can be a way to sell yourself and make yourself heard. Because the internet is a level playing field, it’s easier for digitally savvy people to find work and you never know, employers might just come asking for you.
Think like a flea
In The Elephant and the Flea Charles Handy writes about what happened to him as a “flea” his metaphor for the independent worker, once he left the world of the large corporation, the "elephant". He suggests that we should all think like fleas, building a portfolio of our skills and assets (which we can promote online) in a number of industries and companies, rather than choosing a large organisation to go and work for straight out of university, which is especially important as there’s a continuing rise in the number of freelance, self-employed, contract and part-time workers.
Know your ideals and values and stick to them in the workplace. Don’t work for someone or do something that doesn’t fulfill your ambitions.
Have an opinion
Having done all of the above you will have gained enough experience to go to interviews with an opinion and something to talk about.