If there is one word that is commonly used to describe millennials it’s this: entitled.
Over the last few years, there has been an influx of studies, surveys and reports suggesting that hiring managers, older generations, business owners and other professionals feel millennials - an age demographic of 18 to 34 - often act entitled. For instance, a Reason-Rupe poll last summer discovered that a majority of Americans believe "entitled" and "selfish" are excellent terms to describe millennials.
Whether or not it is justified to label the entire millennial population as entitled, a lot of this tech-savvy generation could perhaps sympathize with these adjectives. As previous reports have found, many millennials say it’s perfectly acceptable to text during a job interview while other millennials want raises and promotions almost immediately.
So how can millennials change this perception? Well, perhaps all it takes is just one person to make a dent. Instead of looking at your phone all the time, strike up a conversation with an older adult. Rather than being a know-it-all, learn from the more experienced professionals.
Here are 5 ways millennials can stop acting entitled:
1. Always Be Humble
In today’s world, there are a lot of self-inflated egos, individuals that believe just because they graduated from a prestigious university or have a lot of money in their bank account think they’re better than others. However, this is untrue because no one is really better than others...well, except maybe for politicians and pedophiles.
What does this mean? It’s important to always be humble. If you have just received a promotion, a raise, or a Masters in quantum physics, do not brag and do not think you’re smarter than the person standing next to you. Always maintain a humble attitude and an impression of humility.
2. Practice a Level of Gratitude
You have just landed a high-level position in a startup firm, or you’ve landed your dream job in Paris. Congratulations. Now be grateful. Instead of honing in on what could go wrong, what could be better and how you are entitled to everything that comes your way, be gracious and thankful. Just say, "thank you" to those who have helped you along the way.
3. Pay Attention
When you’re at the office, you may not want to pay attention because you think that you already have all the answers or the person instructing you doesn’t know more than you do. This is the wrong attitude to have. Whether you’re sitting in a meeting or being trained by someone older than yourself, pay attention to what they have to say. Here are a few ways to pay attention:
- Maintain steady eye contact; practice the 80/20 rule.
- Put down your smartphone and listen to the person(s).
- Ask questions, collaborate with colleagues and provide input.
- As you’re being spoken to at work do not browse social media at the same time.
- Follow instructions: if your boss is telling you to do something one way don’t do something entirely different.
4. Put in the Hard Work
For whatever reason, a large chunk of millennials are guilty of thinking they should be given something for nothing. The idea behind this is that they worked very hard in school so they should immediately be earning a lucrative salary with your own office. Not quite. In order to succeed in your career, you have to first put in the hard work: arrive early, stay later, work weekends and dedicate yourself to your job. Hard work will garner higher pay and greater respect.
5. You Don't Know It All
We were all young once, and we all thought we had the answer to everything. No one could tell us any differently. Unfortunately, you do not know it all, and it’s important you realize this as soon as possible. As you get older you start understanding more - the old adage is "with gray hair comes wisdom." When you walk into an office, pretend you’re a sponge and that you want to learn as much as you can from those who have been in the industry or company longer than you have.
"Kids these days" is something that you, as a millennial, will likely utter in the next 30 years. Interestingly enough, your older counterparts today are saying that exact thing about you, and it isn’t flattering.
A lot of millennials need to stop being self-involved and thinking the world owes them something because it annoys too many people. Once millennials do this, they’ll finally be celebrated.