Much has been written about the millennials – how they work, what motivates them, and how to manage them. I have some on-the-job experience with this demographic because more than a third of the the people I’ve supervised in the past five years fall into this age group. Years working on a college campus was proof positive for me that recent graduates starting their careers have a lot to offer.
I have my workplace faults just like anybody else. But resisting and doubting the ideas and contributions of people half my age isn’t one of them. Recent college graduates work differently and I say we’re lucky that’s true. They have fresh ideas and often the technology savvy to implement them quickly.
I remember some aspects of my 24-year-old self and I can vividly recall my first few jobs after college. I had opinions, new perspectives about solving problems, and I wasn’t shy about sharing them. Most of the people I worked with accepted me, 20-something and all. But now, I wonder, were they amused at my enthusiasm? Did they view my uncluttered approach to my first professional job as naive? Did they take me seriously?
I worry about the 20-somethings with coworkers who are threatened by generational differences. I hope you’ll pay special attention to your own interactions with colleagues, peers, and members of your team. Perhaps you’ll watch out for new college graduates and young professionals you work with and step in to mentor a millennial.