#MillennialMarch How to Be Taken Seriously at Work

Mar 15 2012 Published by under Sarah B.

written by Sarah B.

Normally, I write about service and volunteering for Millennial Chat, but this month, in honor of Millennial March and improving ourselves, I wanted to share something about being taken seriously, specifically at work. I hear a lot of millennials complaining about how they can’t make the step from unpaid to paid work or from entry level jobs to the management level. They’re confused, and they’re blaming everything from the economy to Baby Boomers not believing in them. As a generation, we get stereotyped a lot as lazy, selfish, technology-addicted slackers who think we’re entitled to everything RIGHT NOW. But what if, without even knowing it, you’re doing things to encourage those stereotypes? See if any of these things sound like you at work:

Clock Work Man

flickr photo by SeanMacEntee

You don’t pay attention to details.
This isn’t a slam on idea people or those who really like to think about the big picture. It’s about paying attention to details in your work and professional behavior that impact others. If you want to be taken seriously, it’s time to stop making careless mistakes that will brand you as disorganized or irresponsible. Meet deadlines, complete forms correctly, respond to phone calls, and make a name for yourself as someone who prides themselves on being responsible. Show up to work on time, adhere to the dress code, and pay attention to the culture at your office. If the whole office can hear your iPhone apologizing for party rocking, you’re potentially doing it wrong.

You over promise and under deliver.
This is probably one of the most fatal mistakes that I see other Millennials make. It comes from a really good place. We all want to be successful in our personal careers; exceeding expectations can lead to a raise, a promotion, or at least a pat on the back. Plus, if you’re bringing in money for your employer, hopefully you’ll survive when times are tough for the company. Some Millennials want to be successful so badly that they swear up and down that they can achieve or surpass a goal, only to find they’re overwhelmed. Don’t promise anything that you’re not 100% sure you can deliver. If you do promise something and find out you can’t do it, ask for help immediately. Being cautious and realistic will help you develop a reputation as a consistent and solid performer, rather than a risk.

You gossip.
Gossiping is one of those things most of us struggle with. (If I’d figured out how to stop doing it completely, I would have written my post about that.) What I know is that a quick way to kill your reputation and relationships is to make negative comments about someone else. Never forget how small your industry might be. Be careful when you’re making comments about vendors, clients, or any outside of your company that you’ve worked with. (In my case, that’s donors, volunteers, and community members.) You never know who’s related, married, or old college buddies with the person you can’t stand. That thing your mother told you about not saying anything if you can’t say something nice is true.

You complain about how people treat you unfairly because of your age.
Some people at your company are going to treat you like their child, especially if they’re 30 years your senior. They’ll probably joke around with you about how you must have been texting in the womb. Get over it. Stop ranting about how they need to get up to speed. The fastest way to call attention to your age is to whine about it. Smile, be friendly, and ask questions about people’s personal lives or previous work experience. These people are actually trying to have a conversation with you, but they’re not sure what to talk to you about. You can help them by starting the conversations and continuing to engage them. Don’t try to convince them you’re an equal- just try to form a friendly working relationship with them.

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To learn more from or connect with Sarah, follow her on Twitter – @SarahKathleen
You can also follow the entire Millennial Chat team here.
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What are your tips for being taken seriously at work?

One response so far

A Lesson in Self Reflection

Feb 20 2012 Published by under Megan E., Uncategorized

by Megan E.

I donʼt know about you guys, but for me it can be really easy to fall into a technology rut. I get so wrapped up in school, work, and friends that I forget to appreciate the nicer things in life. I neglect to explore all the incredible things in my city that lie just outside my apartment door. So I decided to do something about it.

A beautiful weekend and some much needed free time led me to check out San Franciscoʼs coast line. Armed with a favorite book, some serious snacks, and my trusty backpack, I spent a glorious two and a half hours relaxing, reading, and taking in the
scenery. And it was nice.

Immediately I felt my mind clear and my muscles relax. It felt great to do something so simple, just walk. I explored the caves and ruins of Sutro Baths and then continued on along the coast to a spot overlooking Golden Gate Bridge. The afternoon light gave the water a magical glow and I watched the sun begin to set past the oceanʼs horizon.

As I got back on the bus to head home, I thought back on the experience I had. I realized that no matter how busy we get, its so important to set time aside for self reflection. If you never take a moment to appreciate what you already have in life, you end up just going through the motions without considering the importance of your actions.

Beyond reports, research papers, meetings, and deadlines, we have to remember to enjoy the time we have right now. Without doing that, youʼre just allowing those reports, research papers, meetings, and deadlines take over your life.

While itʼs no doubt important to pursue your goals, we must do so without compromising what matters. As our generation matures we must understand that the little things are important too. That thereʼs a world that lies beyond technological innovation and
success, that life exists without Facebook, and that sometimes all you need is a nice walk.

Keeping this in mind, Iʼve decided to devote at least a few hours a week to getting outside and exploring the city Iʼve grown to love. No matter how hectic life gets, Iʼm pledging to make time for myself.

And I suggest you do the same.

Weʼre a generation made up of some incredible young people. Millennials have proven time and time again that weʼre focused, engaged, and committed to finding solutions to the ills that pervade society. But as I have stated previously, all work and no play can make a Millennial lose the very inspiration that incited the work in the first place.

So take a break. Disconnect. Go outside. Live your life.

When you return to your goals, youʼll remember what made you set them in the first place. Youʼll find that inspiration that drove you to where you are today. Most importantly, youʼll gain the strength to keep fighting for the things you believe in.

And believe me, its worth it.

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To learn more from or connect with Megan, follow her on Twitter – @MeganEmme.
You can also follow the entire Millennial Chat team here.
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What do you do in order to make some time for yourself?
In what ways do you try to disconnect and make sure you ‘smell the breeze’ every now and again?
Comment below, join the discussion on Facebook, or tweet us!
(Kind of ironic we asked you this after this post, huh?)

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Battling Burnout!

Feb 03 2012 Published by under Megan E.

by Megan E.

Thereʼs no denying that we are part of an incredible generation. Every day Iʼm more assured of this fact as I see young people innovating, taking a stand, and making a difference in all sorts of communities.

But thereʼs also no denying that the work we do is hard. Weʼre combatting a system that makes attaining education a huge challenge, and finding a good job once we graduate even more difficult.

Between navigating higher education, gaining work experience, finding meaningful employment, and everything else life throws at us, itʼs not difficult to see how young people can begin to feel overwhelmed and succumb to burnout.

While working so hard to meet all the demands life throws at them, it can be easy for Millennials to begin to feel uninspired and lose sight of their goals.

Keeping this in mind, Iʼve come up with a list of strategies you can use to re-energize
and stay motivated.

1. Make time for yourself

Itʼs not hard to get sucked into working constantly. But if you donʼt make time for yourself, youʼre more likely to burn out quickly.

Even if itʼs just for an hour (or less) a day, do something that you enjoy. Read a book, watch a TV show, take a walk, etc. But make it a  consistent part of your day. Besides being essential for your mental health, itʼll actually improve the quality of your work. Taking time for yourself reduces stress levels, and reduced stress levels makes it more likely that youʼll do your work well.

2. Write Your Goals Down

Studies show that those who write their goals down, are far more likely to achieve them. Creating a clear plan will make you both more efficient and more focused. Youʼll be far less likely to feel lost and lose your motivation.

3. Focus on Your Inspiration

You should constantly be asking yourself why your putting in so much work and reminding yourself of the goals you hope to achieve. Stressing about all the details can make it easy to forget about the big picture.

If youʼre feeling unmotivated, take a minute to write down what brought you to this project/career/college in the first place and continues to inspire you today. If you canʼt think anything, that may be a sign that this is no longer something you want to pursue.

4. Learn to Say No

Seriously evaluate every commitment you consider taking on. Ask yourself what you can gain from taking on this commitment. Map out how your schedule will change if you take this on, and make sure you have the time to do it.

Remember, Itʼs better to do a few things really well than a lot of things terribly. Itʼs more beneficial for everyone to just say no initially than to discover later on that itʼs not something you actually have time for.

5. Donʼt Be Afraid to Ask for Help!

If you feel like youʼre drowning in work, donʼt forget that there are people available to assist you! Fellow coworkers, classmates, professors, and supervisors can all be valuable assets in fulfilling your goals. So long as youʼre not overburdening someone else, thereʼs no harm in asking for help on a project, assignment, etc.

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To learn more from and connect with Megan, follow her on Twitter – @MeganEmme
You can also follow the entire Millennial Chat team here.
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How do YOU avoid burnout?

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Getting Healthy….with a Phone?

Jan 30 2012 Published by under Jennifer S.

by Jennifer S.

We are almost a month into 2012, and I bet many of you made resolutions that you’re no longer keeping or not as enthusiastic about.  To help out those of who made the resolutions of “losing weight” or “getting healthy”, I thought I’d share some of the apps I use to keep myself on a healthy track.

Best of all, these apps are free!

Lose It! (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android)
I’ve been using Lose It! since mid-November and it is the one app I use everyday.  It is a calorie tracker and I really like how simple it is to add in what I ate and how much I exercise.  I like that it gives you a daily and weekly look at your calorie budget and that I can just scan in foods that I eat with a barcode (as long as they are not a store brand).

The app itself is pretty minimal in terms of what data you get out of it:  daily and weekly summary of calorie budget and nutrients, along with an overview of your current weight loss.  The place where Lose It! really shines for reporting is on it’s website (loseit.com) where you can see and export 12 different reports.  You can see how this app is perfect for a data geek like me!

LA Fitness (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android)
I joined LA fitness about two weeks ago and I love that they have an app.  I can look at class schedules for any LA Fitness gym (there are 14 within 20 miles of me) and know how the instructor is, what the class is about and what I need to bring.  It also sets up reminders for classes I want to take and sends it right to Google Calendar.  So, there’s no reason for me to skip a workout!

 

 

 

RunKeeper (iPhone, Android, Windows 7 Phone, Nokia)
I’ve only done two runs with RunKeeper, but I already love this app.  I’ve done some Couch to 5K programs on the iPod, but I really like that this app tracks my route and gives me so much data after I’m done.  I can see my speed for each interval, for each minute, and where exactly I ran.  I’ve also got it set up to automatically send updates to Facebook after each run, for a little bit of extra motivation.

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To learn more from and connect with Jennifer, follow her on Twitter – @JenniferLSpies.
Or you can follow the entire MillennialChat team here.
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Now that I shared with you some of the healthy living apps I’m using, what ones are using?

One response so far

A Millennial’s Guide to Giving

Jan 26 2012 Published by under Sarah B.

by Sarah B.

Remember when Liz blogged about how Millennials are perfect donors? Sometimes, as a volunteer, you might decide you’d like to begin giving more than time to an organization. But how do you start? And what if you’re on a Millennial budget?

Research, research, research.

How do you want your money to make a difference? Philanthropy is personal, so think about what matters most to you. Once you know the answer, look for organizations that match your goals. If you’re already a volunteer, start with the organizations you trust. You have probably seen some of their success firsthand.  To begin giving, ask questions like:

  Where does the majority of your funding come from?

  What will you use my money for this month/quarter/year?

  How will I know my money has made an impact?

  What will ____ dollars do for you?

If you’re not already familiar with an organization, you can do research on GuideStar.  Once you register (free), GuideStar will give you important information about how much money an organization receives and how the money is spent.

Donations

flickr photo by matthew burpee

Crunch those numbers.

Once you know where to give, decide how much to give.  Just like impulse shopping, impulse giving can make it difficult to stay on track with your budget and your philanthropic goals, so plan your giving this way:

  • Decide how much money you will give overall.
  • Determine a giving schedule that works with your budget. (Monthly, quarterly, etc)
  • Select how many organizations will benefit from your money.

(A recent study shows that 63% of Millennials gave to 3 or more organizations in a year.)

  • Ask yourself: “Do donor clubs, recognition opportunities, or giveaways matter to me?”  (It’s okay if they do! Find out what each organization offers at different levels.)
  • Set aside a little bit of money for impulse giving so that you can give to friends in a charity walk, participate in workplace campaigns, or other surprise charitable opportunities.

Ditch the stamp.

Most Millennials probably won’t be writing a check and mailing it to their favorite nonprofit organization every month.  Here are some ways to contribute without a stamp:

Technology.  Most nonprofits allow you to give through their website, and sometimes, you can set up automatic monthly or quarterly payments. You can even give to some organizations through text messaging or mobile apps!

Workplace United Way campaign.  United Way campaigns provide the benefit of payroll deductions. You’ll barely miss that extra $10 if it never hits your wallet. You can tell United Way you’d like your money to go to a specific organization (called designating) or let them decide how to spend it (useful if it’s your first time giving). United Way agencies are held accountable to certain standards before they can receive funding, so you can trust them to use your money wisely. Don’t forget to ask your employer if they will match any contributions you make to nonprofit organizations!!  It’s like free money for your favorite cause.

Giving circles.  This is an exciting trend that many Millennials may not be familiar with.  Groups of people pool their money and determine how that money will be used.  In Indianapolis, one great giving organization is Giving Sum.  They combine their members’ money, as well as volunteer time, to give one organization a contribution each year that they could never give on their own. Giving circles allow you to add a social aspect to your giving.

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To learn more from or connect with Sarah, follow her on Twtitter – @sarahkathleen
You can also follow the rest of The Millennial Chat Team here.
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What your advice for first time donors?
How do you manage your giving?

Your feedback about giving is important!  If you’re a Millennial, take the 2012 Millennial Donor & Engagement Survey.

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Leader Tomorrow? Work on These Skills Today

Jan 23 2012 Published by under Lowell A.

by Lowell A.

Whether you are involved in a volunteer position today or hope to be a CEO or President in the future, there is no time like the present to start working on developing useful leadership skills.  Each of us have our strengths and areas where we could grow – so whether these are areas where you already shine or have never tried, take some time to think for yourself – what could I do today that will help me gain some new skills…

Public Speaking – How do you feel presenting in front of 5 people?  How about 50? 500?  If you would rather write a 100 page report than speak in front of an audience, this may be the undertaking for you.  While I have spoken to colleagues that say great things about toastmasters I have never tried attending a meeting.  Instead, I have accepted any speaking opportunity that was provided to me – whether at work or in my volunteer life.  Was it always comfortable? No.  Has it become easier over time? Yes.  (And as for that whole picture everyone in the room in their underwear theory – let me know how that works for you – has always just seemed weird to me.)

PowerPoint Does Not Kill

flickr photo by cogdogblog

Give AWESOME Presentations – For most of us, the longer we work and the higher position we attain, being able to give engaging and effective presentations will loom larger in our roles.  So what not to do?  There was a great video posted on youtube – if anyone has the link please post it in the comments below (the link I had makes it seem it was taken down).  Some top points though – don’t make your slides copy heavy and then read from them, don’t include obscure quotes that have little to do with your topics.  While new presentations tools are developed every day (trying pinterest anyone?) as long as you use powerpoint, remember you are the one presenting, not your powerpoint.

Find your Passion – The best leaders are those who care about the cause they lead.  What speaks to your heart?  When you run into a difficult situation, what will keep your fire burning to fuel you onward?  When we can connect our professional and volunteer obligations to our personal passions, those are the times that success becomes more than something to check off of our to-do list.

Meet your Fellow Leaders Today – Do you already know the field where you want a career?  Don’t wait for professionals to find you – go meet them.  Join the LinkedIn pages and participate in any weekly twitter chats.   Share your thoughts and engage professionals in the field in discussion (and if you get a response, add them as a contact on LinkedIn!).  Is there a chapter in your area from the profession’s association?  Go to a meeting and network.  These are your mentors and colleagues, references and friends – the more people you know, the more people you can help, the more that will think of you in kind.

There is no point when any of us are done becoming a leader – start building the foundation of your skills today for a lifetime of growth, development and success.

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To learn more from or connect with Lowell, follow him on Twitter — @Lowellmatthew
You can also follow the rest of The Millennial Chat Team here.

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What have you done lately to better your leadership skills?
Have you learned how to be a leader from POOR leadership?
Comment below, join us on Facebook, or tweet us your thoughts!

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New Year… still looking for a New Gig?

Jan 19 2012 Published by under Tristen S.

by Tristen S.

So it’s a new year and that means job opportunities are starting to open up! Last we met you were busy cleaning up your online profiles and had your eyes set on finding a sweet new gig.

Here are some more quick tricks to help you land your next (or first) job:

1) Make a business card: There are a bunch of sites out there such as vistaprint.com or moo.com that allow you to make a couple hundred free business cards and you’ll only have to pay for shipping and handling. They’re a minimal investment and will help you out when you’re meeting people in your industry. No need for some weird title like, “CEO, biatch.” Try something along the mature route of “Recent Marketing Grad” or “Young Tech Pro”. I included info like my major, interest, email address, blog link, and social media links.

Having a business card is incredibly beneficial and you’ll have no idea how helpful they really are unless you follow the next steps…

2) Networking: This might seem like the obvious one in the bunch but it’s imperative for someone who is not working to quit sulking, get off their butt, and actually get out there to meet people. Look up different associations in your field such as PRSA (for those out there interested in public relations) or check out sites like Meetup.com where you’re bound to find an event of interest. A lot of networking events provide free or discounted booze as an incentive to attend so don’t feel silly if you spent the night schmoozing with a little extra liquid courage but don’t get completely sloshed.

I recommend having 1-2 drinks – seriously.

3) Follow Ups: So you spent a night passing out your fresh new business cards and collecting a few for yourself. It’s incredibly important that you follow up with everyone that you meet. Send an “it was nice meeting you and talking about ____” email and add the people on LinkedIn. Make sure any messages you send helps you stick out – bring up whatever interesting topics you discussed, even if it’s about your common love of border collies.

Social Media Camp 2009- Social Media for the Job Search

flickr photo by deanmeyersnet

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To learn more from or connect with Tristen, follow her on Twtitter – @TristenS
You can also follow the rest of The Millennial Chat Team here.

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How are you beginning your search for a job this year?
What steps are you taking?
We would like to hear it! Join the discussion on our Facebook page, or tweet at us!

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I AM SOMEBODY!

Jan 17 2012 Published by under Megan E.

by Megan E.

These were the words that most stood out to me from the double feature movie event I attended last night at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.

This event, showcasing one film about the Watts Music Festival and another about the Black Power Movement, served to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. by educating others about how the movement changed following his assassination.

It’s events like this one that truly celebrate the impact that MLK had. It seems to me like a lot of people think of yesterday as just another day off and don’t think about why we get that day off.

Instead of taking the opportunity to go on a mini vacation or lounge around all day, Millennials should take time to think critically about King, his impact, and the state of the movement today.

To be blunt, King’s work is by no means over. Racism is not a thing of the past, as much as we’d like to believe it. And until every child of color grows up with the same chance of succeeding as a white child, we must continue Dr. King’s fight. Racism stems from so many factors, it’s impossible to go through them all here. But the quote “I am somebody”, suggests an exceedingly important one.

It has always been my belief that the key to ending racism both personally and on a larger scale lies in understanding the person behind the label. It’s incredibly easy to judge someone based off their appearance instead of taking the effort to see them as something more. Underneath it all, we are all people.

Regardless of our pasts, our socio-economic status, the choices we make (or don’t make), the clothes we wear, the way we style our hair, our politics, and our skin color, we are all people. We have fears, dreams, anxieties, successes, and failures. We are all somebody.

And we all deserve the freedom to be ourselves without judgement nor condemnation. A person’s skin color should never affect the jobs they are offered, the neighborhoods they live in, the schools they attend, and the way they are treated everyday. Every child should grow up, proud of who they are, proud to be somebody incredible.

At the end of the day, that’s what Dr. King hoped for. Once that concept is embraced by all, everything else will begin to fall into place. Once we all understand and appreciate the humanity within the individual, we can begin to truly make Dr. King’s vision a reality.

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To learn more from or connect with Megan, follow her on Twitter – @MeganEmme
You can also follow the rest of The Millennial Chat Team here.

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