You finally scored your first job. Significant income and working year round lies ahead… exciting, yet depressing. You hit up Loft and splurge on a Kate Spade tote and you’re ready to take on the real world. But once you start working, you generally discover that while you’re daydreaming about post-work happy hour, most colleagues are daydreaming about their child’s baseball practice getting cancelled.
Despite likely being one of the youngest, if not the youngest, there are plenty of ways to navigate your new workplace and discover the perks of your youth.
Young = inexperienced
Obviously since it’s your first real job, it’s no secret that you don’t have a lot of experience. Of course you can fake it, but everyone knows that a mere six months ago you were skipping college classes to attend day-drinks (likely every day). Regardless, little experience is not a bad thing, and hey you already have the job. Being the youngest has plenty of perks if you take advantage. Since everyone else is older and more experienced, there is plenty of knowledge and advice around you.
Ask questions, get advice and gain insight. This is your career, not your internship – don’t simply try to impress your boss and beat out the other interns, actually learn something for yourself and for your career. The most valuable things I’ve learned from my job were from colleagues that have way more experience than me who provided me with tidbits and insight. Google can only provide so much – take full advantage of having these people around you.
Young = Millennial = social media gurus
The term “millennial” has become synonymous with social media. It is assumed that you know way more about social media than anyone else. Which is usually true because you can’t deny that you live on Snapchat to pass the work day. Once again, do I hear “perk”? Since you are the holy grail of social knowledge, colleagues will often come to you with various social inquiries.
From posting “happy birthday” on a former work friend’s wall to instagramming the office puppy to understanding why people even use snapchat, you will undoubtedly be the go-to. But hey, it always feels good to be an expert in something. A lot of companies will even go as far as bringing you in on social media projects since you have the right insight. While social media may seem like a silly, simple, everyday thing, you hold a lot of knowledge that older generations don’t have. But please for the sake of all millennials, try to avoid selfies at work.
Young = fun
Since you are young, people generally think you are social, fun and trendy (all true). People often assume you are the expert on fashion trends, up-to-date on pop culture and a social butterfly. So keep everyone up to date on gossip, fashion and the fun aspects of your life in an appropriate manner. You can wear fun, trendy outfits to work as long as you keep them classy. General rule of thumb: if you wore it to a bar in college, it’s not for work.
If you’re the trendsetter, people want your outfit advice. If you’re the pop culture queen, people want to fact check their gossip with you. Embrace these things. And don’t be afraid to share things like what you actually did over the weekend. Just keep it appropriate – your colleagues don’t need to know you went to five wineries as a pregame for the club… simply wine tasting will suffice.
Young = lazy
Unfortunately, the millennial stereotypes are rampant… and often not positive. One of the biggest stigmas attached to millennials is that we are all lazy. Want to prove yourself at work? Prove this isn’t true. Just because some labels are attached to this generation, doesn’t mean you have to embody them. Do yourself and all other millennials a favor and leave your laziness at home. I’ll be the first to admit my Sundays are often spent on the couch for at least five hours watching endless reality TV, but when it comes to work you won’t catch a glimpse of that.
All in all, you’re only the youngest at work for so long. So attend endless happy hours after work but pull it together in time for 9am – don’t make the rest of us millennials look bad.