How to Overcome Negative Millennial Stereotypes

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If you’re under the age of thirty-five, the odds are good that you’ve been labeled as part of the millennial generation by some of your co-workers.

And while you may believe that Millennials—especially in the tech field—are generally creative and open-minded, older generations traditionally believe younger generations have a long way to go.

Today, Gen-Xers widely agree that Millennials are entitled, narcissistic and lazy. Whether or not these terms are accurate descriptions of the generation as a whole or of you as an individual, remaining conscious of how your coworkers might perceive you can go a long way towards achieving harmony in your workplace. Below are suggestions about how to overcome some of the more common negative millennial stereotypes at work.

Millennials are Entitled

That Millennials are entitled is probably the most popular description of the generation. Fortunately, however, it’s also quite possibly the easiest stereotype to overcome. Simply remember to be thankful and express gratitude whenever someone else does something for you—no matter how small. Also remember to extend the same courtesy to servers and baristas during work lunches and coffee outings. Most importantly, if you are ever recognized in the office for superior achievement, be sure to share some of the praise onto those who helped your success along the way.

Millennials are Narcissistic

In today’s selfie-crazed world, narcissism is at an all-time high. In conversation, steer discussion away from yourself and your accomplishments by talking positively about others or by asking questions about the people you are talking to. Be interested not interesting. You can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people than in two years of trying to get people interested in you.”  – Dale Carnegie

Millennials are Lazy

Because of technological advances, life tends to get a little bit easier from generation to generation. Technology has taken some pretty serious leaps in the last decade or two. Strive to prove to your co-workers that your work ethic is just as strong as theirs regardless of the superior tools at your disposal.

Consider trying to beat your boss into the office or stay late if need be, and don’t be reluctant to join work committees or complete optional tasks around the office like replacing printer paper when you’ve used the last of it. Whatever you do, don’t abuse your lunch break by routinely taking more time than you’re allotted, or if your employer provides games to play when your brain needs a breather like most tech companies do, don’t be the person who is known for spending more time at the foosball table than at his or her desk. Remember, Gen-Xers come from the “sit and stay” era and will take some time for them to shed certain stereotypes.

Finally, keep in mind that proving yourself an exception to the negative Millennial stereotypes won’t happen overnight. You’ll have to really commit to making changes in your behavior like those suggested above, but earning the respect of your older co-workers will be well worth it the long run—not just for you, but for everybody in your office.

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The featured photo on this post is a derivative of “Forth Railway Bridge at North Queensferry Fife Scotland” by Dave Conner and is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Staff Writer

Victor is a resilient and driven lifelong student of technology, with his most recent emphasis on Analytics, Healthcare, Microsoft and Salesforce. His personal mantra is to seek "victory, however long and hard the road may be." Victor is a staff writer committed to staying on top of industry trends and providing expert advice for today's technical world.