It’s strange for me to put this into perspective but, to some of my employees, I’m not a young guy.
Without divulging my age, the younger sect I employ and do business with have, either verbally (“that was REALLY back in the day, yo!”) or non-verbally (a facial expression that combines astonishment with sympathy) called me out on my alleged “middle aged” status over the last few years.
While I consider myself young at heart, and I do pride myself for maintaining an above-average physique and energy level compared to others in my age group, these young whippersnappers were amazed when I recalled the following from my younger days:
- Seeing Walter Payton wreck havoc at Soldier Field, pre-Mike Ditka
- Getting fouled out by cigarette smoke – at the grocery store and Dunkin Donuts
- VHS vs. Beta
- Seeing the original “Star Wars” in a movie theater (where smoking was allowed in the lobby)
- Listening to a) Steely Dan with my parents b) in their wood-panneled station wagon c) on 8-track
- A workday that started at 9 a.m. sharp and concluded at 5 p.m., with a set one hour lunch
Admittedly, while I can get the ribbing from my Millennial counterparts regarding the five points above – I do take pride in experiencing Payton and “Star Wars” firsthand, but still cringe every time I hear the Dan’s “Aja” – they have, over the last few years, turned me to their way of thinking when it comes to work hours and ethic.
I will always hold myself, as well as those who work for me, to giving no less than 100% to the responsibilities and projects they’re tasked with, be they on the creative, sales or administrative sides. My concern though, is the outcome of the work. Whether they started at 9:15 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. to get the job done doesn’t really mean squat.
While this isn’t solely confined to Millennials– in every business with employees of every age, there will always be slackers and go-getters – a lot of the best workers I have known and have to this day are aware of the tasks and projects at hand and, equally important, understand the time and energy it will take to get the work done to the best of their abilities, and these are also some key characteristics of millennials in the workplace. If this means they’re logging on earlier than the local banker, burning late night oil, or coming in or working via remote on a Saturday or Sunday to meet their responsibilities or make their deadline, they’ll do so for the benefit of the work and the pride they have for the job, which is one of the best strengths of millennials.
Think of it this way: any schmuck can work a 40-hour week and punch a clock, but not everyone can meet a deadline and provide stellar results or product. And I’ve noticed, that by emphasizing results and outcome over a structured schedule, the cream of the employees has, and will continue to, rise to the top.
Maybe it is a generational thing: working with Millennials that are just starting their careers they are hard-pressed to remember when the Internet was not a prominent tool in their education or working environment. But it’s this age group, I’ve noticed, who have embraced this project/responsibility-minded ethic with gusto. This has served them well, as well as myself and Leverage’s clients.
I may not be a young buck, but I’m certain these kids are onto something good.
Contact Us to learn more about what the Millennials here at Leverage can do for your business.
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