Another Article About Those Damn Millennials

There seems to be a consensus about what millennials want – what millennials need – out of a job. Most articles featuring the word “millennial” mention that employers and managers should be abiding by the following to keep the communication flowing and their millennials happy.

If you Google “Millennials in the workplace,” you’ll find lists like this:

  • Millennials want to be challenged.
  • They want to be mentored.
  • They want to be empowered for their work.
  • They want to be trusted.
  • Involved.
  • Appreciated.
  • Valued.

Wait. What? Don’t these things apply to ALL employees – young and old; newbies and veterans? The argument that you’ll see in a lot of comments following these articles that seem to be guided towards and stamped with a ‘millennials only’ stigma is that these are things that every employee wants, needs and seeks. And it’s true. And it’s also well, not.

Here’s why millennials tend to be singled out, more recently now than ever before…

Because there is finally a solid amount of us in the work field. A millennial is classified as anyone as young as 18 and as old as 34. Fair enough, right? Millennials are finally over-powering the Baby Boomers (ages 51 – 69, for those of you who missed the post-World War II lesson in history class). So yes, it is important that we target these newbies and, more importantly, why we give employers a reminder to keep an eye out for this new group and their needs – even if it is just a reminder on how they should be treating every employee.

I could also argue that millennials are the only generation that grew up knowing that they didn’t have to read Lord of the Flies in high school English Literature – They could Google the spark notes online! And in fact, Google – and the Internet in general – has played a large role in our learning process, or, lack thereof. Millennials look stuff up. Plain and simple. It’s how we were raised. It’s the exact reason I’m not allowed to have my phone out during Monday Night Quizzo at the pub down the street. So, yes, it’s a hot topic for bloggers and career development writers, because they know it’s going to be read somewhere on the Internet and shared to millennials around the world. If there’s one thing millennials know how to do, it’s Google. And if there’s another thing we know how to do, its band together to share a good article that we found that thinks relates to us and our other young professional friends, who just seem to be seeking a little guidance in this new world of working.

Millennials are different because we feel as though you don’t trust us. Yes. You. As we start to become a larger and larger group in the workplace, we start to feel eyes dwelling on our every move. More of these new kids and less of the ones who ‘knew what they we’re doing.’ And it’s not a bad thing. Most millennials, in their first jobs, should be watched carefully as they learn. But they also want to be guided and mentored. And what they really want is to be trusted. They want to know that for every fuck up, there’s not going to be a hundred I knew it-s mumbled around the office just because they’re the new guy – and especially because they’re younger.

It’s true: millennials do differ from other, more experienced employees, in lots of different ways – far more than I can list here. It’s also true that there aren’t that many differences in how employees wish to be treated, communicated with, and understood.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this… We, millennials, don’t think we’re special. We don’t think you can say the word “millennial” and slap some stereotypes on it and think that they apply to everyone. We don’t want to be treated any differently than any other employee we share an office with.

We do want you to realize that we grew up in a different era. We grew up learning different things in different ways with different kinds of people. We are, in fact, a little different from you old timers.

We’re also insanely jealous of how experienced, all-knowing and powerful you are. We think you’re awesome.

And someday, when we’re the veterans of the office and there’s a new generation entering the work force, we want to understand them. Differences, similarities, and everything in between. We’ll want to learn from them, because they’ll have grown up in a different time, too.

So whether you’re a Baby Boomer, Generation X-er, or Millenial, let’s all learn to celebrate those variances. Learn from one another. Be open to old ideas. Be open to new ideas.

And stop getting upset at articles aimed towards millennials. Especially not this one. Because I wrote it and you’ll hurt my millennial-feelings.

Kidding.

Sort of.

Why Working for a Small Non-Profit Out of College Was My Best Decision Yet

When I first graduated college, I spent a month or two non-stop searching for jobs, interviewing and feeling just plain distraught over the fact that (in my mind) I was never going to find a job.

As I sit down to write this, it’s hard to believe that my college graduation was one year ago. And while it took two months for me to finally get that “you’ve got the job” phone call, it eventually did happen.

And the funny thing is, I didn’t really want that job. It was for a mediocre size company, in the middle of No-Wheres-Ville, PA. It was far from my home, my friends, my family. I didn’t know anyone in the area. It didn’t pay great. I was excited, and then not really all that excited at the same time. I told them I needed some time to think about it.

A few days later, I decided I couldn’t wait around for something else to fall into my lap, and that this job might very well be the only one I was going to get at the time in as a young professional in a wildly-competetive job market, and I accepted the position. I was ready to give up my Netflix addiction and start my career.

I moved to the new, minuscule area a few weeks later and started my first “big-girl” job in a tiny health care non-profit where I would stay for the next nine months before landing a job that was more ‘up my alley’; closer to my friends/family, better pay and more opportunity for professional growth.

And although I wasn’t thrilled at first for my job with the non-profit, I couldn’t be more pleased that I chose the road (less traveled? Here’s to looking at you, Robert Frost) I did. Working for a small (in size and budget) company opened my eyes to the back-ends of everything that makes an organization tick. I gained more experience in those nine months than had I ever waited around to take some other, entry-level position.

And here’s why:

Because my department contained all of three employees. You heard me — THREE! Which meant a ton of responsibility fell on my shoulders. I was able to explore, voice my opinions and work closely with my team to make things happen. I was a part of every in and out of every move we made.

Because I got to know everyone. I knew every employee in every department; including each volunteer we had. When I had a problem and needed IT’s help, I would sit in their office and watch how they ran the back-ends of the company. I had the opportunity to work with nurses and doctors, learning what was done on their end — outside of the office — helping me to better understand my job. I worked closely with accounting and billing and watched how every number of every budget was broken down. I assisted human resources and witnessed what went on behind closed doors. I could sit down with the CEO, face-to-face, and discuss projects, events and employee relations. I was able to work with each and every manager, no matter the department, and learn how each of them played a role in operating the organization. These are things I might never have the chance to do in any job ever again; but at least I know, when I’m (now) one of 19,000 employees, the types of things that are going on elsewhere in other parts of the company — and that, in itself, is forever invaluable.

Because I was given more tasks than my job description noted. And while, at times, that felt unfair and frustrating, it was really a blessing in disguise. I ran around like a chicken with my head chopped off more times than not and thinking, “This isn’t my job,” or “I’m not getting paid enough to do this,” when — in reality — I was gaining more than I could see. Looking back, I’m grateful for those experiences. I wore a lot of hats and I’m happy that I was given those responsibilities for the sake of learning to accomplish something regardless of whether or not it was my job, and in doing so, gaining more knowledge than I would have if I was just given my assignments. Every day was something different, and it caused me to become adaptable to a lot of different work environments.

Because when faced with difficulties, I had to pick up the pieces. There weren’t a whole lot of people to count on. As I mentioned before, there were three of us in one department. When sh*t hit the fan, I had to think on my feet to relieve the problem. Because there weren’t other people to run to for help, I relied on myself to fix the problems. I couldn’t give up, because, sometimes, I was the only person I could count on.

Because it made me learn to work with people I didn’t like. With a small group of working (mostly) women, you could sometimes feel the tension floating around the office. There was gossip, and fights and a lot of secrecy; and though these are things you might come to find in any work place, when you’re working with a smaller group of people, it tends to make it harder to respect them or find an outlet. I learned to not involve myself in anything besides my work because of the small territory we all shared — later helping me to understand and respect those in a larger organization.

Because I learned how to budget. I knew people who were making more than I was, and I knew people who were making less. I was well-off in the sense that I could afford my rent, bills, food, dog and social life. But, after taxes, it wasn’t the world’s best paycheck. Yet, I made it work. I learned how to budget my life (for the first time ever, mind you) from the smaller paychecks I received, which made it that might easier to become a “saver” once the larger paychecks started to come around.

Overall, working for the small, non-profit right out of college was the best decision I could have made. I learned a lot about myself in those nine months; professionally and personally. I gained experience, I gained professionalism and I gained a sense of self. It was like being thrown into a pool for the first time ever and learning how to swim and, though it was a tough nine months, I’m thrilled that it landed me where I am today: a place I don’t think I’d be had I not chosen to work for that small non-profit.

It’s hard to believe that, at one time, it didn’t sound so great.

– C

You Didn’t Get The Job: What To Do Next

As a young professional and/or recent college grad, you may find yourself in a slew of interview after interview, with little to no results. It can be unsatisfying, frustrating, and mostly, discouraging.

BUT, says the recent college grad, don’t fret. There are steps you can take after you don’t land the job that can better serve you and your interview experiences in the future — and eventually, land you that dream job.

When you don’t get the job, take time to follow the steps below, and then take yourself out for a margarita, because, well damn, you deserve it!

The College Grad’s Guide (to not FREAKING OUT) When You Don’t Get The Job:

  1. Thank them for their time and consideration.
    Landing an interview alone is a pretty big deal, especially if you’re a recent college grad or young professional. Be considerate of the time the interviewer(s) took to spend with you, asking you questions and learning about who you are, even if it didn’t work out for you in the end. An employer will appreciate a quick thank you.
  2. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them and to please keep you in mind.
    While you’re writing your thank you, be sure to include that it was a pleasure meeting them, and that if they have any openings in the near future, to please keep your name and resume in mind. It happens all the time – You don’t get the job you wanted but in three months you’re getting a call for another position within the same company. You’re not always denied because you weren’t capable, you just might not have been capable for THAT specific job. Remind the employer to keep you in mind – you never know what might come out of it.
  3. Take what they said about why you didn’t get the job into consideration.
    And if they didn’t tell you, it’s OK to ask (in addition to that ‘thank you’ you’re sending). You might not always get a response, but most of the time you will. After thanking them, ask them if they could send you a quick list of some of the reasons they felt that you were not applicable for the position – or things you could work on for next time. Take everything they say into consideration, even if you do not agree. You might not have realized you were doing something in the interview that they did; and that’s something you’ll want to know for the future.
  4. After taking what they said into consideration, make note of what you can do better next time.
    Sit down and say, OK, this is what they didn’t like, and this is what I can do to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Whether it was being late or being unprepared for certain questions, there’s always going to be ways to improve — and it’s better to know them ahead of time.
  5. Review/Write down and review the questions you were asked.
    Try to make a mental note during the interview of the questions they’re asking – especially if you’ve never heard them before. Come home, and write them down. Try to remember what your answers were, and think about how you can elaborate on them more next time around. Chances are, you’re going to hear them again in another interview or two, so once you’ve prepared, you’ll ace it every time! This is truly a benefit of going on interviews and not landing the job: experience!
  6. Talk about the interview with a mentor/professor/parent.
    Sit down with someone you respect professionally and describe the interview to them; the setting, the questions/answers, the atmosphere, the vibe. They may be able to pick up on something that you didn’t. It’s easier to be an outsider looking in to identify the rough spots. Sometimes an interviewer is a ‘dud’ – making it hard for you to answer questions or feel that you are able to answer appropriately, or maybe you were in a bright-lit room and it was hard for you to concentrate on the interview. Ask them their opinions and what they think could be done if you’re ever in a similar situation again.
  7. Don’t yell about the company (or interview/er) online/social media.
    Recently a soon-to-be-college-grad blasted a company’s name all over social media when she didn’t get the job; claiming that it was because of the way she was dressed. Under no circumstances should you ever post about a company online, whether you include their name or not. Everything you post is public, even if you don’t think anyone but your friends can see it. Even if the company you’re talking about doesn’t see the post, that doesn’t mean another company considering you for a position won’t either. They won’t see you as a loyal or respectable candidate, and you could blow your chances even before you land another interview.
  8. Take it as an experience and move on.
    Be grateful for all of the interviews you go on. Each one will help you to realize what kinds of jobs you do and do not want to take, how many various questions can be asked and what you can work on for next time. They also have the ability to make you realize that an interview can go on for five minutes, or two hours, and ways to interact with different types of employers. Every interview you go on is beneficial to your career in the long run. So even if you didn’t get the job, nothing about an interview should ever be considered a failure.
  9. Don’t dwell.
    It’s easy to become distraught, especially when it seems like you may never find that perfect job. Don’t dwell on interviews and think about all that went wrong – think about all that could come from it. You’re becoming better and better and more and more prepared with each and every interview, so never overthink or regret something you said in one interview for too long. Pick yourself up and move on to the next one.
  10. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
    Here’s the important thing to remember: You’re still learning. And any interviewer who reads over your resume and invites you in for a meeting knows that. They don’t expect you to blow it out of the water – and even when you do rock it, that doesn’t mean you got the job; and that can be frustrating. Don’t forget that you’re not any less of a person or professional because you didn’t get this one job.

Cheers to you 🙂

 

-C

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Contact The College Grad:
Email – cswetsky@gmail.com
Twitter – @caraswetsky

Where Else Can You Find The College Grad Blog? Check Out These Sites!

This week, author of The College Grad Blog, has been featured on TWO amazing websites: For the first time ever, you can read a guest post by TCGB on JobHero, a smarter and new modern way to job search! And for the third time, TCGB has been featured on Careerealism, a site that offers sound career advice from only the best!

First off, thank you to all my of readers who always take the time to read, share, and leave feedback on my blogs! I would be no where without you guys!!!

Secondly, take a moment to check out these awesome sites. They both have tons to offer and can definitely benefit you in more ways than one.

You can check out my most recent guest posts by clicking the links below:

JobHero – “Beat the Statistics, College Grads”

Careerealism – “5 Reminders For ALL Young Professionals”


Thank you again, and again, and again, readers.

And thank you to Careerealism and JobHero for the wonderful opportunities.

– C

Looking for a blogger to write for your professional development, career advice, young professionals, or job searching site? E-mail me at cswetsky@gmail.com 

Liked these posts?! Let me know!!!
Twitter: @CaraSwetsky
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Email: cswetsky@gmail.com

NEED HELP WITH YOUR RESUME?

Hey Soon-To-Be-College-Grads (and maybe even recent college grads),

In the past few weeks, I’ve had quite a few friends come to me and ask for help with formatting their resume, or even just how the heck to put one together…

Since graduations are right around the corner, and senior seminar classes are demanding to see your resumes, I’ve decided to dedicate some time to helping those struggling to nail their resume!

If you would like me to aide in your formatting, check for errors, or just give some all-around resume advice, send them my way!

I know how frustrating they can be, so guess what? It’s FREE! All you have to do is send what you have done so far to:

cswetsky@gmail.com

and I’ll do my absolute best to help you in the areas that you’re having problems in 🙂

Please include in your emails if your resume is needed for a class or a real-life job interview (or both!), what you’re having trouble with, and any special requests/important information!

________________________________________________________________

[PS. I wish I had time to do your entire resume for you, but unfortunately, I have a full-time job, a puppy who likes to go for walks, and a terrible Netflix addiction, so please only send resumes that are somewhat-completed. Thank you!]

________________________________________________________________

Reviews from students/grads helped in the past:

“Super helpful and relayed useful information that will definitely help me format resumes in the future.”

“I don’t think I would have even gotten an interview if it wasn’t for the help I received!”

“More helpful than any professor, advisor, or career development center!”

Syllabus Week: Real World Addition

OK, I lied, fellow readers.

I tricked you with my title.

I know you saw “Syllabus Week” and automatically assumed I would be discussing tequila, partying, and how to hide your hangover the first day of work.

I’m sorry, fellow readers.

I did not intentionally mean to trick you. But, now that you’re here, I suppose we could chat, hm?

My college roommate of three years came up to visit this past week and while we were indulging on pizza, a bottle of wine (or two), and late-night Friends reruns, we somehow found ourselves in a midst of memories and recollection of our college days, which, we had to admit, seem much further in the past than just (almost) one year ago.

We laughed about the good times, reminisced on the classes, and friends, and stories we made up along the way.

And then we stopped as it registered to us that we now both had full time jobs to attend, bills to budget, loans to pay, and lives, careers, and new stories to build.

“Where’s the syllabus week to real life?” she asked.

I wish I had an answer. I wish there was some syllabus to this real world.

Some packet of paper to tell us what we should be doing, and when.

When we should know certain things, and by what date. What we’re expected to know and when the tests will appear.

A description of what’s to come; what to expect.

But, there is no syllabus week to the real world, is there?

I guess not. Because everyone is on their own track. Syllabus weeks are gone and we’re left to navigate on our own.

There is no schedule to follow, no professor telling you when and where and what. No grades, or pop quizzes.

Sure, life has pop quizzes of it’s own. But we’re not really given any direction when we’re handed our diploma and thrown into the fire, um, I mean, real world.

It wouldn’t be fair to give a real world syllabus week, because there is no right or wrong for you right now, at this time in your life.

And that might be the most amazing part; that we’re finally on our own. And though we may not feel ready, or sure, or confident, we get to make our own syllabus.

We get to explore, and evaluate, and play around with what we want to do and who we want to be.

We find who we are, we find our careers, we find our dreams when we’re left to build our own syllabus week. We make our own lives. There’s no one to guide us, and that’s totally OK. Because how would you feel holding hands with a syllabus for the rest of your life? It’d be pretty boring, I suppose.

I’m sorry I tricked you, my loyal readers. I just wanted you to know that there will be no syllabus this year, but that you’ll figure it out anyway.

So here’s to you, recent college grads, and your departure from syllabus week. You’re going to be just fine.

And to all you college students who still get a “Sylly Week” – Cheers. Have a few for the rest of us 🙂

Why Our Generation Will Change the World (If Only We Realize We Can)

Stop Instagram-ing your dinner. Stop pinning pins on Pinterest of mindless DIY crafts that you’ll never actually do yourself. Stop watching Netflix for hours on end. Stop acting like your exercise schedule and food prep matters. Stop sub-tweeting at your ex’s new girlfriend.

Just stop.

Look around. Do you see what’s happening? This “free nation”, this “under one God”, this “one for all” is falling apart before us. Everything you’re used to; the solid ground you grew up on, your freedom of speech, your kids and your kid’s kids and their kids lives are changing.

Wake up.

Stop thinking it doesn’t exist. It does. It’s happening and just because it isn’t happening to you doesn’t mean it’s not real. It doesn’t mean that your Instagram and Pinterest and Facebook and Netflix can distract you forever.

I’m guilty of all of the above. The social media. The ignorance. The that will never effect me and my privileged throne I sit on. I’ve used the hashtags and fought with the opposing sides on Facebook statuses and listened to people talk politics while groaning and rolling my eyes and thinking, who cares. I get it. I’ve been there. It’s fun to pretend like we know what we’re talking about and why we’re talking about it because we heard people we admire say it or read it on our favorite celebrities’ tweet. But do we really know what’s going on? Do we really, truly get it?

WHY don’t we care? Why are we ignoring what’s happening to our people? Because, yes, in fact, they are OUR people. Our American brothers. Our fellow human beings and our respectable individuals. We’re supposed to be one. And yet, divided we stand.

Why?

Because we’re uneducated. We’re blinded. We were raised in an era where we just. don’t care.

Or maybe we just don’t know how to change it. Maybe the power to change our world, our lives, is right at our fingertips.

Maybe?

Definitely.

Our generation is so advanced that we could make the difference. We’re so lucky because we have the instant connection to the news, as misleading and confusing as it can sometimes be. We have a direct outlet to share our opinions, to speak up and stand up and say something.

We have something that our parents, our grandparents, their parents and so forth could have never even dreamt about when they faced times like this. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. It doesn’t have to be distracting. It doesn’t have to be meaningless. It’s the way we’re going to change the world.

But how?

Because when something happens, a riot breaks out, someone dies, a court decision is made, we know about it instantly. We can talk and connect and communicate and listen to each other.

But that’s just it. We have to listen.

No matter your side, your political views, your religion, your race. It doesn’t matter. But you, as an individual with the freedom of speech and advancement of technology, you have the most to give. You are not Mike Brown and you are not Darren Wilson. You are not a Democrat or Republican. You are not Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Buddhist. You are not black or white. You are a person in a sea of others who are just. like. you.

Educate yourself. On stories and situations. On the legal system. On the government. Google, people, I know you know how to use it. Read, read and read some more. Read statistics, read opinion articles, if you’re a Democrat, read a Republican’s words and vice versa. Engage. Think. Speak. Ask questions.

We don’t have to fight. We don’t have to kill each other. We don’t have to disagree. What we do have to do is talk. Consider other sides. Imagine what your life would be if you lived in Ferguson or NYC right now.

Just because it isn’t you doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. You are everything that’s happening to every other person in this country. And everything that’s happening to them is happening to you. 

Just because you’re white or black doesn’t give you the right to blame people who don’t have the same skin color as you. You can’t group together people because they’re all black. You can’t group together people because they’re all white. Or because they’re all cops. Or because they speak a certain way or live in a certain place. That’s called generalization and the last person to think like that was Hitler.

You’re not Hitler… Are you? It’d be pretty crazy if Hitler was reading my blog. Hey, Hitler, if you’re reading this – We’re not you. No one wants to be you.

Right? Because Hitler was totally not cool. He was wrong. We grew up learning over and over, each year in history class, about how terrible people can be and we sat there and we wondered how could people treat other people like that? We can’t imagine living in a world like that, right? But we are. Right now. So stand up. Speak up. Tell the world you’re FED UP. Because you should be. And if you’re not, for the sake of this supposed wonderful country we stand for, wake up.