Millennial Women: Finding Meaning Can Make All the Difference in Your Careerchris@highlevelwisdom.com
In Episode 18 of the Podcast, I had the privilege of talking with Laura Youngkin, founder of the Brave Millennial. We chatted about her thoughts on how Millennials, especially Millennial women, can make the most of their talents in the workplace. The Brave Millennial is a digital forum where career women ages 22-35 can gather together to empower one another. Give it a look, especially if you are a Millennial woman, and don’t forget to listen to the episode, too! After talking with Lauren, I was inspired to share my take on some of her top tips with you.
Take ownership of your narrative – and make it a positive one.
When she first created the Brave Millennial, Laura’s goal was to create a space for young professional women to find their own voices and to tell their own stories. She was tired of that worn-out, cliched old narrative about Millennial women being lazy, entitled, unintelligent – you know the one. So, she brought Millennial women together to tell their own stories. Instead of letting others do the telling for them. It is powerful to realize you are the author of your story. Taking control of your own story helps you see yourself and your career in a different light. How do you make your narrative a positive one? By focusing on the strengths and accomplishments of yourself – and of others around you.
Pay attention to how others perceive you.
It may be 2017, but Millennial women in the workplace are still judged differently than Millennial men. The way she talks, the way she dresses – co-workers and employers from older generations can be far too quick to dismiss a Millennial woman’s ideas and qualifications based on their opinion of (what should be) meaningless factors. Yes, they may be the ones in the wrong for this. But don’t let one of these factors stand between you and that position or project you would be perfect for. Pay attention to how you come across to others. And while neither I nor Lauren would ever advise to be untrue to yourself, remember that tailoring your approach to your audience is a skill that every leader needs to learn at some point.
Millennial women should not be afraid to speak up.
Millennial women, the most educated women in history, have so much to offer their employers and their organizations. Unfortunately, Millennial women as whole can be more hesitant, compared to their male peers, to speak up and take credit for their work and their ideas.
Lauren explains that Millennial women may be afraid to be labeled as “pushy” or even “bitchy”. And that, sadly, this fear isn’t without some real basis in contemporary workplace culture. But the truth is, if you won’t highlight your accomplishments, no one else is going to do it for you. Learning to be your own best advocate is one of the most important things a Millennial woman can do on her way to earning the recognitions she deserves in her workplace.
Find work that means something to you.
Millennial women as a whole are looking for work that is meaningful to them. The Millennial generation tends to desire, and to perform best in, work which they feel is important and in alignment with their core values. Laura believes these negative stereotypes about Millennials expecting unearned promotions arises from a misunderstanding on Baby Boomers parts.
Millennial women don’t want promotions for the sake of more money or status. What they do want is the space to take ownership for their work and to make a difference. But it will take patience, and paying your dues as the Boomers before you have, before you can achieve that full level of ownership. If you find work that feels meaningful to you, as a Millennial woman, you will be much that much more motivated to succeed – because you’ll see an end goal that’s worthwhile beyond the (sometimes tedious) smaller tasks we are all faced with when we start our career journeys.