The Perennial Millennial: They Aren’t Going Anywhere A whimsical perspective taken from both sides of the coin
So I Hired a Millennial……
I oversee the Sales and Marketing departments at a small manufacturer in southern Iowa. The majority of our sales are repeat but we have to get about 25% new each year to assure modest growth and make up for the expected attrition. Marketing is not rocket science, it is simply getting the right information in front of the right consumer at the right time. Internet marketing is the key to most of our leads and therefore a major part of my daily activities. Google AdWords, Blogs, Meta Phrases, Keywords, E-mail Blasts we all know these terms right? I can do all of these things and I rather enjoy them, but since I also get to handle the sales side of business I sometimes find myself not giving marketing the time it deserves. I know the marketing isn’t getting enough attention because every day I am reminded via emails and phone calls that my website could attract more, better traffic that could triple my sales overnight. I ‘ve answered a few of these emails and have concluded that someone is going to get rich by hiring out my social marketing but it isn’t necessarily my company, So I Hired a Millennial….
You know this group right, the Millennials? They are the focal point of many new business jokes and a major faction in the upcoming election. Some call them lazy, entitled, unconventional, antisocial and even delusional. I’m a Gen Xer and I’m sure the Baby Boomers never labeled us with any of these titles right? I mean how bad could it really be?
I must say I was rather impressed at his interview. He wore a suit, matching socks and acted interested in the things I was expecting him to do. Still, he is a Millennial and if stereo types have any truth to them at all I should have been wary that the interview was a period that he could have faked his way through. I still hired him. He showed up to work on the agreed upon date and actually beat me to the office. I peeked over the wall of his cubicle not knowing what to expect and lo and behold he was wearing shoes. Stereotype one right into the trash, not only was he not wearing sandals but he had on dress shoes, dress slacks and a collared shirt.
I greeted him and unlocked his laptop since I knew he was probably itching to have some cyber-human communication. I then told him to go ahead and personalize his device while I fired up my own marketing machine for the day and checked for any important weekend correspondence.
I really had quite a few projects for my Millennial and was eager to begin so we camped out in the conference room and started planning. New Google AdWords campaign by Friday, Blog by mid next week, website redesign skeleton within 30 days…. Yes, yes, yes, no problem. He was saying what I wanted to hear and I could see the question building in his mind. I was ready with my answer. “No you can’t work from home” but stereotypes two and three quickly exited the room. He wondered if we could work on a joint project and combine our blogs for more effect. My Millennial he’s definitely not lazy.
The first week went rather smoothly. I can honestly say we mutually taught each other some things. He doesn’t pretend to know everything, grabs concepts quickly and seems eager to master his tasks. The second week passed and the Millennial hasn’t asked for a promotion or job hopped. Stereotypes four and five you can hit the highway. Dare I say that Gen Xers and Millennials aren’t so different after all? I must admit, I have some newly instilled hope for the future.
So I Hired a Millennial…… Maybe you should too.
- Kerry Richardson: Sales and Marketing Manager
……So I’m the Millennial he Hired
I am a PR major at a small private college in Iowa going into my junior year. After countless “marketing” internship opportunities that just turned out to be pyramid schemes and terrible commission sales jobs, I got an email about what looked like a legitimate internship. I replied, and pursued an interview as fast as I could because I was petrified of potentially working another pointless minimum wage job with nothing to look forward to except an incompetent supervisor and a disappointing paycheck.
It seemed like a formal office gig, so I threw on one of my best suits and made the seemingly endless 30 minute trek through a two lane, corn paradise, down to their offices. I assumed it would be a somewhat cut and dry interview, but was pleasantly surprised when we quickly got on the topic of creative freedom and its prevalence in the internship. I had some preconceived notions of a traditional office job and its overseers that in this short three week period, have been put to rest.
I started my first day in matching attire with the management because that is just common office practice, the misconceptions of a millennial wearing their street clothes to work are farcical and were made up by corny sitcoms stuck on a pilot episode. Who would have thought that not all people under thirty are completely out of touch with general business practices? I know it sounds crazy, but in most cases, we aren’t entirely incompetent.
We started off by going over a lot of the tasks that I would be doing myself, or collectively, and it seemed as if he had low expectations for an intern. As a representative of our creative, but not hardworking cult of millennials, I was ready to show him how much value I had to offer. Not only did I want to put in maximum effort for personal benefit, but to justify hiring an intern, because opportunities like this are going to be essential in “fixing” the millennial mindset. Put a millennial in the right situation and watch how much value they can add to your entity.
I have read a lot about the stereotypical millennial and did some writing on it, but I always wondered what the “other side of the paycheck” thought about these generalizations. Assumptions of a lazy, narcissistic, and entitled young gun with unrealistic ideas of superiority, are what usually comes to mind, and I will tell you right now that I am not lazy and we just won’t talk about the other things… But in all reality, these assumptions seem outplayed and usually, disproven. “Millennial” has become a derogatory term when it comes to an employee, and that is shaping up to be one of those inescapable notions.
At some point, millennials will be leading companies, communities and countries, so if the people in leadership positions don’t put any faith in us, these stereotypes are only going to sustain themselves.
So thankfully I got hired as a millennial…… Maybe you should too.
- Alex Shier: Marketing Intern