Our series on Millennials – itself part of a broader conversation on the New World of Work that cloud services like RingCentral are enabling – would be incomplete without input from actual Millennial workers. I’ve already given my own input on what it means to be a Millennial in the modern workplace (see this post), so I polled my colleagues to gain perspective on their experiences.
Tommy (Associate Marketing Manager)
I think the way we consume information will have an interesting impact on our education system going forward; now that all human knowledge is at our fingertips, the emphasis should be on how we analyze and implement it, rather than rote memorization.
We’re also more inclined than past generations to make job satisfaction a priority. There’s a quote from Bob Ross, the late painter and TV host, that sums up our feelings:
“You do your best work if you do a job that makes you happy.”
That’s how Millennials approach work – it’s something that we see as integral to our happiness, so we’ll do what we can to find jobs that are satisfying (as opposed to those that just pay the bills).
Carolyn (Social Media/PR Associate)
Technology matters to us, and we’re used to having the latest and greatest versions of everything available at a moment’s notice. We are extremely dependent on social media, as well – we use it for everything from staying connected with friends and family to getting news to venting about our problems.
There’s a downside to putting social media front and center in our lives, though. Our attention spans have become very short – if something can’t be said in fewer than 140 characters, we often won’t say it at all. We can filter through massive amounts of information at a very rapid pace, but knowing how to deal with all that information remains a challenge.
Evie (PR Specialist)
Millennials are often criticized for having unrealistic expectations about work. The truth is, we want the same things that anyone wants from their jobs: to be treated with respect, acknowledged for our talents and appreciated for our determination.
Collaboration is something at which we really do well. Group projects were a constant for us in school, so we’re accustomed to working with others on shared goals.
Collaboration cuts both ways for Millennials, though. We crave clear guidance (what are our goals?) and are hungry for feedback (how are we doing?). We want our superiors to be willing to collaborate with us on our career development.
While we may be eager for responsibility, I think we also recognize that we still have a lot to learn. Our ideal workplace would have some kind of mentoring program in place.
Tin (Marketing Analyst [former])
Tin, who just returned from backpacking in Southeast Asia and will be pursuing an MBA this fall, wasn’t particularly helpful. He sent this video when I asked for his input on Millennials and work.
Still, his comment on the video was instructive:
I wanna talk like this! I would work for NOTHING for a company that talked like this.
For Tin, like Tommy, compensation isn’t everything: the right work environment is worth as much or more than a generous pay package. That may be the most important insight of all: Work, to Millennials, is about more than money. Companies with actual missions – over and above generating profit – will prove most appealing to us. And that matters, since we’ll make up nearly half the workforce by 2020.
Originally published Aug 21, 2013, updated Aug 07, 2020