work

Are millennials more entitled … or weren’t we all at that age?

The other day I was half-following the debate on Jamaican Twitter where millennials were saying internships are exploitative etc. Their elders’ response, basically: “Yu lucky.”

Remembering that reminded me, what were we really like when we were young? I was entitled enough to think I could easily get a job as a newspaper reporter (showing my age). Though it didn’t turn out to be quite that easy.

I did unpaid ‘work experience’; trained, worked for free on a local newspaper, did a couple night shifts on a national website; and gave thanks for UK unemployment benefit. Then I changed countries, twice.

Given that I’m a few years too old to be a millennial, I can think of a good few examples that make me want to side with whatever jargon my generation is called. Like a recent job applicant who submitted a list of demands you’d expect for a CEO position.

Then there is the one millennial I was assisting on a project – who refused to take any guidance different to her worldview until things went wrong, and yet still wouldn’t budge. But then older people have been ruining the world just like that forever.

People are people. Just that we come in stages. So what’s it like being someone just getting started in the career in 2017? Probably just as badly prepared as we were from school, and short on advice, or advice we cared to listen to…

– Be ready to do extra, no matter the awfulness of the job. You might hate it, but hustle helps for when you have your own business. Volunteer for charity too.

– Find the positives in the feedback, no matter how negatively or abruptly it might be delivered. Reacting badly only holds you back.

– What you don’t know, and maybe they don’t: Search. Look abroad. And if training isn’t provided, try and find opportunities online.

– It is okay to be nice to people you work with. Conversely: you can get ahead as an epic narcissist if you’re (a) otherwise brilliant or (b) that’s actually your core skill.

– Last but not least: at the end of each day be able to reflect that you made that small bit of progress or improvement in yourself. (Decades later you won’t be here complaining about younger people.)

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