Thanks for stopping by Apathy Ends! Going to switch it up a bit today and talk some Career Development for the millennial crowd. Even if you are not a millennial, please stick around and see if there is anything you can add in the comments – save us from ourselves!
Navigating the corporate ladder early in your career can be an interesting dynamic with sharp corners to smack your face on. Making good impressions, learning about office politics and googling buzzwords (Synergy baby!) takes a significant amount of time. Hopefully, I can save you from a few uncomfortable situations, or at least some resentment from your elder co-workers.
If you are at a company with a few hundred employees or more, you will be interacting with people fresh out of college all the way up to people with retirement cakes in the fridge. It doesn’t take long to figure out people have different motivation levels and expectations. The last thing you want to do is make enemies, especially enemies that have a say in your future career development.
Like all great posts, this one comes from a personal experience of making a co-worker cranky. Apparently, people don’t like when you schedule over their meetings a few times over the course of a year.
Hi Mr. AE
We’ve spoken about this before but I’d like to ask again if you could try to schedule your Demo outside of my weekly team meeting time? I know it seems like I have the team booked a lot but actually it’s only for 1 hour 3 days a week and a half hour every other Thursday.
I really appreciate any help in accommodating my schedule.
Can feel the passive aggressive tone in that email, and of course he had to CC my direct manager because we aren’t capable of working this out as peers. Trying to accommodate a team of 60 people across 3 time zones is not easy, and I inadvertently scheduled over his meeting a few times over the last year.
While I was initially annoyed, after I thought about it, I am actually glad he said something. If he didn’t I would have continued to do it and it would have eventually turned into something bigger than it is today. It also got me thinking that there are probably a lot of other ways to piss people off in the office so I started paying attention and asking around.
Surefire ways to piss off elder co-workers
Poor Work Ethic
A healthy work/life balance has been increasing in popularity among millennial employees. People want to work less but collect the same pay. To be honest, it sounds great and I am a huge fan of a healthy balance. Technology has made most jobs a lot easier, embrace the shorter work day but don’t twist the knife by ducking your responsibilities.
If something comes up that requires your team to stay late, don’t be one of the few who leaves. Take the good with the bad and stick it out.
Seeing people make good money for working less stings. Don’t rub it in by complaining and slacking on your responsibilities. Show up on time, be prepared for meetings, and finish what you commit to.
Stare at your Phone
As a millennial this one bothers me as well, but if you want to lose a lot of respect very quickly stare at your phone instead of participating in a conversation. It goes beyond just being rude, it shows that you think your time or opinion is more valuable than someone else’s.
If you think millennials have a phone problem…….I have some bad news for you with Generation Z entering the workforce soon.
Too good to start at the bottom
Don’t think you are too good for entry-level jobs, right out of college you have little to no experience, and starting at the bottom is the logical place in they eyes of your employer. Having the “I am too good to answer phones in customer support” attitude will quickly piss off more experienced employees that put their time in and worked their way up.
Your goal should be to quickly master the job and prove you are ready for the next step.
Discount Their Experience
No matter how smart, talented or insightful you are, you can’t replace years or decades of experience. It is easy to discount something we don’t understand, and honestly, I didn’t understand this whole “experience” thing until I had some of it.
If you blatantly ignore advice or their position (especially if you asked for it) they will not support your progress or path.
Seek out mentors that you respect, and soak up their knowledge. There are benefits to blazing your own path, but they might be able to save you from some real face slapper mistakes.
Not Dressing up for a Job Interview
I work at a tech company, and to say our company is “business casual” is an understatement. People wear shorts, hats, and sandals to work on a regular basis. Personally, I don’t care what people wear to work, it’s about whats between your ears not what clothes you own.
That being said, some people definitely do care. I interviewed for a new job last year with someone 20ish years older than me and he made a comment about me not being in a suit. I was a little surprised that he was so bold with his feedback, but took it as a lesson in dealing with someone who had different expectations for potential candidates.
It was an internal job and the person knew me, but he still wanted to see that I was serious about the job and apparently a suit helps prove that.
It all comes down to having a sense of entitlement before you have done anything to move the company forward. If you can check your ego at the door, put your past successes behind you and realize that your college degree isn’t all that valuable anymore – you will be fine.
A lot of these will piss off anyone, but I am more sensitive to elder co-workers due to the generational expectations. It also doesn’t hurt that your boss, and upper management are more than likely older than you are when you start your career.
One tip for an elder reader: Don’t refer to people younger than you as “Kids” unless you want to be called “Old Timer”
Any good angry co-worker stories out there? Did I miss anything that pisses you off?