Challenging perceptions of millennials in the workplace and building resilience in young employees

Millennials are often portrayed as narcissistic and work-shy, dubbed ‘snowflakes’, a term which is used to characterise them as less resilient than previous generations, or too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own.

I believe that all young people have a natural ability to succeed at work – and even to bring valuable insight which older generations may lack, however, there is a significant proportion of young people who enter employment ill equipped to deal with the simple pressures of the working world. Whether this is due to failure to prepare them at school or university, failure in the world of work is inevitable, so knowing how to overcome and learn from mistakes is essential, particularly for those beginning their careers.

To help develop their resilience there are a few simple steps young people can take:

1.    Reflect: First, think about how the setback occurred. Do you need to hold up your hand and accept responsibility? Was the mistake due to someone else or did events simply conspire against you? Whatever the cause, examining how the error happened will help you learn from the experience and prevent it happening again.

2.    Don’t dwell on it: While it’s important to learn from your mistake, dwelling on failure is never productive. Take some time to think through what happened and then move on. Immerse yourself fully in your next project – this is a good opportunity to prove your worth to your employer after a setback.

3.    Create a comeback plan: Having a list of positive actions will help set you back on the path to success. It can be difficult to know how to progress after a setback so focussing your attention on drafting a clear plan will help you adjust.

4.    Take action: Throw yourself fully into the next opportunity that comes your way and exceed expectations. The myth that millennials are lazy often comes from overpromising – something which the crowded job market encourages. To overcome this stereotype make sure you over-deliver on your next project, your employers will then see you as someone who delivers on their promises and are likely to consider you for future opportunities.    

Article by: Claire Granados, Principal at Quest Professional – a business college focused on equipping A-level and university leavers with the business acumen, employability and interview skills required to fast-track aspiring students into the world of work

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