When I started this blog a year ago, it was intended for a specific group of readers: Gen Y. I am technically not Gen Y – I’m right on cusp of Gen Y and Gen X. And I often feel pulled into both groups – sometimes I’m more Gen Y and sometimes I’m more Gen X. And yet, I do feel annoyed by the things Gen Y typically does as well as with Gen Xers.
Co-workers and colleagues lumped me into the Gen Y stereotypes. They assumed I had no work ethic – that I had the “owed” personality that so many Gen Yers have. And that couldn’t be more from the truth. And it pissed me off. So, this blog developed to help other Gen Yers battle the stereotype, and prove to Gen Xers that they also don’t fall into that typical Gen Y personality.
I wanted to share on this blog my tips for other Gen Yers. How I moved up the ladder. How I proved everyone wrong. And how I gained respect by all (or most) of my colleagues.
On top of it, I have worked in male-dominated fields since I entered the workforce (at 14). Proving that I’m not a dumb woman who thinks I’m owed everything, can be a struggle when so many think that’s what I’m all about. But I refused to be what they think I am.
So what are the keys to standing out from the Gen Y crowd?
- Don’t complain that “that’s not in my job description.” This drives me more crazy than anything. And I guarantee you it drives your colleagues and supervisors just as crazy. You may hate the project that’s given to you, but get it done. And get it done in a realistic time – maybe even earlier than expected. Show them you are reliable; show them your work ethic.
- Work more than your scheduled hours. If you are scheduled to work 8 to 4:30, don’t close up shop at 4:31. Stick around for a while. Show them that you want a career – not a job.
- Ask questions!! If you don’t understand, or if you want to learn something – ASK! This shows you have interest and that you don’t think you know everything. Take advantage of colleagues with years experience and learn from them. Be a sponge.
- Go to meetings, and take paper/pen. If there was a training session, I was there. I wanted to learn everything I could. I was able to do more for my boss, which helped streamline our production process. Be proactive. Show you want to learn and help the company do its job better.
- Be professional. No matter where you are, you’re on the clock. This goes for client dinners, banquets, Facebook or Twitter. There was a woman I once worked with who thought she was friends with a group of advertisers, so she acted like they were her college buddies. Huge mistake. They are still clients. There is always a line. Respect that you are an employee of a company with a reputation to maintain.
Being part of a generation with such a strong stereotype against it, is difficult for those of us who have the work ethic and want to succeed. But you can stand out from the crowd – you just have to show them with your actions.