Young and Employed

Perspectives on business from young marketing and public relations professionals

We’re Back

After a long hiatus, I will begin contributing to this blog again. I am very excited to continue sharing my workplace experience and “wisdom”. To begin I’d like to share three pieces I recently read in The Onion. For those of you not familiar with The Onion, it is a mock news site which parodies mainstream media and current events. These three all have to do with work and they cracked me up.

Company’s Employees Spend Entire Day Touching Base

I liked this one because it is full of ridiculous buzz words that I typically hate. It also echoes my frustrations with co-workers who want to have meetings to discuss meetings.

‘I Make My Own Hours,’ Says Man About To Get Fired

I found this one funny because of the inherent irony. Here the person feels they can do whatever they want and in the end he is going to be fired. The humor comes from two places. The first is that we all know people who behave like this and should/someday will be fired. The second reason is because this man is abusing a system that should make work/life balance easier for everyone else. I’ve always said, “I can do pretty much whatever I want at work, because I don’t do whatever I want at work.” No one questions when I come in and when I leave or if I need to take a long lunch because I get in on time (or early) leave on time (or late) or skip lunch on most days.  If everyone behaved this way we’d all be able to “make our own hours” without any repercussions. But poor behavior by some causes managers and companies to be too strict on hours.

At My Age, I Just Can’t Compete With The Younger, Competent Guys I Work With

I could write an entire blog post on this one (and probably will eventually). I keep hearing age discrimination is causing baby-boomers to have a hard time getting jobs when they are laid off. Well this may be the case for some people, but isn’t it just as likely that they are having a hard time finding a job because 1) their skills aren’t up-to-date 2) they aren’t willing to put in long hours like younger people 3) they are set in their ways and aren’t coming up with creative ideas 4) they don’t know how to or refuse to use tools that are now common place in business…? The list goes on.

What do you think of these articles? Do you see any truth to the sarcasm or do you think they are unfair?

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Go back to watching “The Hills”

In the business world, no matter your career level, we all have way too many meetings and presentations to attend.  In a personal level (and I bet I’m not the only one) this is time I would prefer to spend working on my other thousands of things on my plate, but this is usually not an option.  There is only one thing that can make a boring presentation worse and that is having Heidi and Spencer (from MTV THE HILLS) as your speaker.

“Hello, like I am Megan, and like I want to show you like, our new product….LIKE, LIKE, LIKE, mmmm…”  For heaven sake woman, you are not a cheerleader anymore!

Many girls have fought really hard to gain respect in the business world, and it’s sad that we still encounter others behaving like this is a beauty pageant.  I say, if you can’t hold a conversation without adding the world LIKE as a verb, adverb, adjective, noun, or anything other than a comparison, you should not be allowed to talk in public.

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Making Buying Impossible

It is part of my job to find different vendors for a wide array of interactive Marketing activities, and I’ve started to notice that Sales People don’t seem to want to sell anything to me.

I try to be objective and think that it may be that since most companies let some people go at the beginning of last year; the sales department may be overworked. Maybe they don’t want to listen to the arrogant guy with an accent on the other side of the phone, or perhaps the company I work for doesn’t seem like a big fish; but whatever the reason is, it has started to bother me.

If there is one thing everyone in marketing, sales or the school of common sense learns is that you want to “Make buying easy”, as simple as that. If I’m calling you and leave you a voice mail asking you for a quote, means that someone did part of your job already (you got to love marketing), all you have to do, is either make the damn quote or give me a call back; TODAY. As simple as that, I don’t care if you had to leave early to pick your sick kid at school, you can at least acknowledge me from your blackberry before going to bed that day, or ask a co-worker to return my call, send me smoke signals, anything.

I feel bad for the employers of said sales people. Because I really want to either know more about your product, or I just want to plain buy the damn thing, but the company gets hurt by the incompetence of such people.

What to do about it? I sure don’t want to go and buy an inferior service/product based on the incompetence of the sales department, but I also don’t want to rely on a company that I don’t seem to be able to get in contact with.

I can hear the voices in my head (my brother mostly) telling me, call his boss and get him fired, and a side of fries (discount) while at it; and that sure sounds like the perfect solution, but in my experience, that guys/gals boss already know what kind of employee he has, and hasn’t been “able” to get rid of it, so chances are, the perfect solution won’t work in an imperfect world.

What to do, when I throw money at you and you are too incompetent to pick it up?

-Frank.

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Micromanaging is a dirty job; but someone has to do it

I recently started a new chapter in my career where I manage a whole team of people. I didn’t pick them, neither they picked me; we ended up working together, because destiny (or upper management) decided our fate. I started my “manager” career about 10 years ago as a record store assistant manager when I was still in college, and though working on schedules, and listen to teen agers complain about… -well, everything ( not an easy job), it’s nothing compared to my work day now, ten years later.

I used to hate my previous managers looking over my shoulder and asking the same question over and over, and promised myself that I wouldn’t be like that. Oh naïve me, making promises I can’t keep. Truth is that as awful as micromanaging may be, there are some times when you don’t have the right people on your team  In those situations it is not only necessary but mandatory.

In some cases, when I do not have the right person on my team, I find myself asking for status reports daily, walking to his/her cube to ask the same question I asked yesterday (to receive the same disappointing answer), and sending emails to people 10 feet away from me, because I know I will also be micromanaged when my subordinate doesn’t complete the task on time.

On those situations, I can hear my brother saying “Just fire that person, and get yourself a good team you can rely on”, If only. That is in fact the best solution to the problem, allocate the resources where they belong, and someone who proves no use in your team, shouldn’t be in it. As great as a solution as that may be, and as much as the devil on my shoulder is cheering for the productivity team, the stupid, naïve angel on the other side, reminds me of my over shadowed humane side, that thinks of their families and their well being; darn angel.

In the end, to be a good manager is a two tier mission, you don’t only have to be productive, but be productive with the team handed to you, and it is in the definition of your title as manager to well, MANAGE the people working with you.

My point is that Micromanaging is not only annoying to the managed, but also to the manager.  It is fear what motivates this behavior, and it can, and should be avoided.  It may not always be possible, and there is an enormous chance that changes may have to be made in any team in order to accommodate my annoying need to show dramatic success, but micromanaging may not be the answer.  If I learned something at my last position is that people work for whatever motivates them. For me is money and the ability to turn my ideas into action; I just need to find what is that motivation factor for my team, and put it in front of them; let’s make them chase the proverbial carrot on the fishing rod; and micromanage the living hell out of them meanwhile.

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Is it really that hard to write a resume?

It has been a while since I posted anything on the Young and Employed blog. Work and life have been very busy the past month, but I’ve made a resolution that I will begin posting more often. So let’s see how that goes.

The company I work for recently had a position open up in the very department I work in. The position asks for 2-3 years experience so we are looking for the exact demographic the blog aims to attract – young professionals. I’ve had the opportunity to read some resumes and screen out candidates based on their resume content.

What I’ve seen disappointed me. There are so many tools and online articles about creating a good resume, I thought most professionals, even young professionals, would be able to create a resume that is at least passable. With unemployment so high and competition for jobs being so aggressive I would have thought people would put more effort into their resumes and cover letters. Yet, here I am screening through resumes that make me want to laugh and sometimes cry.   

Now that I’ve been on the other side of resume reviews I have some new insight into creating a powerful resume. I thought some of these tips were common sense but apparently I was wrong.

Don’t apply for jobs you aren’t qualified for

When I was unemployed last year my emotions ran from excited about new opportunities to terrified I would never find a new job. (Full disclosure, I was only unemployed for two months but as I’ve said before, I am a worrier).  I applied for almost every job that said Public Relations or Communications in the title. My experience range (5 years) puts me in an odd category. I’m too experienced for entry level jobs, but I don’t quite fit the profile of jobs that ask for 7-10 years experience. So I thought, why not try for a few jobs that are above my experience level in terms of year? Now I realize this was just annoying to those reading through the resumes.

I still believe it is good to try for positions that will represent a step up in your career and that years don’t always matter as much as what you’ve accomplished in the past. However, read the job description and if you truly don’t qualify, don’t apply. Similarly, if you have 15 years experience and the job is looking for 2-3 years experience I assume you are desperate and that as soon as the economy turns around you will leave. Don’t waste your time or mine applying for jobs you aren’t qualified for or don’t really want.

Don’t spend too much time on your cover letter

Because I am in a field that requires me to communicate both orally and in writing I spent a good amount of time customizing my cover letter for each job. My cover letter is beautifully written and demonstrates my writing abilities. I wish I hadn’t spent so much time on it. So far during the search for the new employee I’ve read exactly one cover letter and that is because it was so ridiculous the HR person shared it so we could both chuckle over it together. Make sure your cover letter is well written and has no spelling or grammar mistakes, but do not think you have to write the great American cover letter. No one is going to hire you, or even bring you in for an interview because of how well your cover letter is written. This is one of those cases where good is good enough, but bad will get your resume thrown out. So, make it good, just don’t stress about this part too much. 

Spelling and Grammar do matter

This should go without saying but I’ve seen some great mistakes. Saying you “lead a team of 5” makes me wonder if this is some euphemism for tying a person’s feet to a lead brick and sending them to the bottom of a river. Another favorite is periods at the end of phrases that aren’t sentences. Also, if you are going to write in your resume that you have excellent editing skills and attention to detail your resume better not have mistakes. I’ve learned that I am more of a stickler for this point that most people. Call me picky, but if a person says they edited collateral at their previous job I don’t want to also read they “Hotted events” for their company.  Now that I’ve said this I am sure I’ll receive 100 emails pointing out an error in this post. You know what, mistakes happen and they are forgivable, just not on a resume.

So does design

I do not have an eye for design so I keep my resume simple yet organized. Make sure your resume is easy to read and follows a consistent pattern. Don’t put the month and year you started at some jobs and only the year for others.  If you are going to use different font sizes for headings make sure you use the same one for each heading. Line up your bullet points and don’t make the resume too fancy.  I’ve seen others in my group of resume reviewers toss a resume aside because it was ugly or just plain hard to read. Have someone else look at your resume for aesthetics just as you would for spelling and grammar.

Do not send photos

In other countries it is normal to send a nice, professional headshot of yourself to prospective employees. Although this is not considered professional in the United States I realize that some people may not be aware of this and might send their headshot if they are accustomed to doing so. I am forgiving of this fact. However, if you are going to send a photo, do not (let me repeat this one) DO NOT EVER send a photo of yourself with a skimpy dress and a seductive look on your face. It is just weird. Also do not send a photo of yourself with a short skirt and half unbuttoned shirt, lying across a desk. It just creeps me out. I am not making this up – these are actual photos I’ve received. 

Online presence

This brings me to your online presence. I’ve Googled every single candidate whose resume I liked. I’ve also thrown out resumes because of what I’ve found on Facebook pages and Linkedin profile. If you are looking for a job make sure the information on your Linkedin profile matches your resume. It makes you look like a liar if you list your previous title as “Manager” on your resume and “Assistant” on LInkedin. Also, make sure you don’t have photos of yourself looking like you drank an entire keg yourself. In fact remove all photos you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see. I may be a prude, but these photos make me think of you as a kid, not a young professional.

Get rid of irrelevant information

When you are applying for a job that requires you have a Bachelors degree realize no one cares where you went to high school. Similarly, unless you’ve never had a professional job before remove your GPA, the societies and clubs you belonged to in college and your waitressing job. Yes, you had to have good interpersonal skills not to sucker punch the guy who kept calling you sweetheart and then left a paltry tip, but that has no bearing on the job you are applying for.  Finally, remove your personal interests. You may think it makes you seem more human to write you like the Patriots, but on your resume it just makes it look like you needed to fill space. If I want to know what your outside interests are I’ll ask during the interview.

Skills

And finally, if a job description states that you must be familiar with a specific computer program be sure it is on your resume – or don’t apply. In fact, if you really want the job and you are qualified except for this one small thing – put it on your resume! Then before you are called in for an interview learn the program. If you are unemployed it can’t hurt to have one more skill anyway.

This information may seem harsh but we’ve literally received hundreds of resumes for this one position. The only way to weed through all of them was to automatically throw out the ones that were ugly and had typos. From there we could be even pickier, looking for people who had the exact experience and skill set we want. So fix up your resume, update your Facebook page and then send your resume in to jobs you are qualified for. Oh, and good luck.

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What is success or OCD at work

to-do-list-pad2009 is almost over and just about every blogger, online journalist and publications is publishing an article or post about the past year. I tend to be a reflective person anyway so I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’ve done wrong, how I could have done something differently or better etc.  I think it has to do with my OCD.

I was never officially diagnosed with OCD, and whether or not I truly suffer from OCD is up for debate. I don’t wash my hands over and over again. I don’t lock the door three times before I am satisfied. However, anyone who knows me will tell you I have obsessive compulsive tendencies. I like things just so. I check my bag over and over again to make sure I didn’t forget something when I leave work. I’ll check my bank account balance four times a week in case someone hacked into my account and stole all my money.  I compulsively make lists. My “to do” lists feature sub-categories and highlighted tasks. That isn’t the crazy part, the crazy part is my need to re-write my lists whenever I’ve accomplished three or four of the tasks or when I’ve added a few new tasks to the list and it is so out of order I can’t keep track of what I should do first.

Although I probably spend an hour a week making to do lists at work, compulsive list making is the least of my OCD problems. You see, I am a worrier. I worry about EVERYTHING. I worry me or someone I care about will get some horrible disease. Then when one of my worries actually happens (I get laid off etc.) I get the crazy notion that my anxiety was actually intuition so I am justified in my worrying. Never mind that most of my worries never come true. This one thing happening vindicates all my worrying.

My OCD can either be a positive in my career or a negative. Which brings me back to the beginning of this post: for the past few weeks I’ve reflected on my career which has caused me to feel down about myself. For some reason I feel my career should be going better than it is. I feel I should be at a more prestigious company or at least have a more prestigious job. When people ask what I do no one says “wow that is cool”. A big part of me felt I am not successful and then I worry I’ll never be as successful as I think I should be. This is probably true, because I am not willing to completely give up my family life for work, yet something in me says unless I am a CEO someday I have failed. I need to be easier on myself but the real problem is I haven’t defined what success is.

And so, I’ve decided to turn this around and use my OCD as a positive driving force in my career. It’s a kind of early New Year’s Resolution and here are the details. I will try not to worry about what has happened in the past in my career. Instead, I will focus on the future and being successful. To do this I must first define career success. What is career success? I think it is different for everyone, but career success for me means having a job that allows me to use the knowledge I’ve gained from past experiences, but also allows me to find new challenges. It will provide me with mental stimulation and the ability to be creative while allowing me to write more often. It will provide opportunities to manage other people, even if they are only interns because I believe in mentoring. It will also provide mentors. Career success will also mean I have the respect of my peers and my superiors as I like being heard and listened to.  

Now that I know what I want I can and will create a plan (a list of steps) to get there. This plan will make ME responsible. I will take charge of the success. I do not need to necessarily find a specific job that will give me all these things. Instead I will work to ensure the any job I have provides these benefits. And lastly, but most importantly, I will stop letting my career dictate my over all happiness. Because when I use my OCD for good and take charge of my life I will be happy no matter what.

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When your employees don’t want to come to work anymore

I saw this and wanted to share it with all of you.

833690_laddertoheavenWhat happens when people lose their motivation at work?

  • Less efficient use of resources
  • Less creative solutions (at a time when creativity is even more vital)
  • Less productivity

And worse, the possibility of security breaches and risks. Some companies learned this lesson the hard way: TMobile in the UK , Greengrocer.com, and the Office of the Attorney General of Maryland.

When employees lose motivation, they become less of exactly what the company needs: A creative, productive contributor. Worse, they might become angry and disgruntled, causing a loss or theft of essential company information.

Motivation – I know it when I see it

So what is this abstract concept called “motivation”? Is it like love – hard to define, but easy to recognize?

According to Webster’s, to motivate is to “provide with an incentive, move to action, impel”. Motivation is, put simply, giving others a reason to do something: To do their job well, to be creative, and to be an asset to the company.

Now that we’ve defined it, can we describe it? What are some common motivators? Some things that have found to be effective motivators are:

  • Positive reinforcement
  • Effective discipline
  • Fair treatment
  • Satisfying employee needs
  • Setting work-related goals

Notice something missing from the list?

If you assumed that “more money” would be a lock, it turns out it isn’t. The Minneapolis Gas Company completed a 20-year study of motivation. They asked 44,000 employees what they desired most from a job and found that, surprisingly, wages were not highest on the list. Job security was, followed by advancement, type of work, and pride in the company.

But even without the study, we all know that providing motivation is a good thing. The challenge is “how?”

I’ve listed some basic concepts of motivation to help you devise a system to give employees what they need, so they can contribute their best work:

1. Be the change

Employees won’t be their most creative, energized selves – they won’t be assets to the organization – unless you are, first. As the Minneapolis Gas Company found, intangibles rank higher than wages, and they start with your attitude and energy. Simple actions can start the process. Ask yourself: “If I were one of my own employees, would I see myself as an asset to the organization? Does the work I do reflect my most innovative thinking?” Some ways you can start being the change you want to see are:

  • Welcome challenges. See them as opportunities, not as limitations. After all, without challenges, we don’t get a chance to exercise our skills and talents to their fullest potential.
  • Ask if there are better or different ways something can be done. Good innovators practice creativity; they generate solutions, ideas, and concepts in every aspect of their lives.
  • Be curious, ask questions, and develop problem-solving skills by practicing them.
  • Take action – have confidence in your ideas, and dare to express them. Don’t fear failure; it’s inevitable, and the only way we learn. Above all, be persistent – don’t give up.

Remember, the positive energy and creativity of your team start with you.

2. Size the motivation to the person

Despite what some people might try to tell (and sell) you, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” system of motivating employees. Each person is different, as is each organization. The key to effective motivation is to discover what moves each person to be their best and to be an asset to the company.

How?

Start by asking. Then stop to listen. Watch the quiet moments. Then continue the discussion.

3. Motivation is a journey, not a destination.

People and organizations change; what works for the employee and the company at one point might not be as effective months later. By listening to and observing employees, motivations can be adapted to their needs.

Treating motivation as a one-time event or a destination leads to a situation where it would have been better to do nothing at all. Commit to the journey and reap the rewards (and continue to read Security Catalyst to get ideas and support).

It might be dangerous and harmful to assume employees are motivated by “more money.” The “trick” is to figure out exactly what will move them to become greater assets to the company, then give it to them. In my next article I’ll explore in greater detail how to develop a motivational plan for your employees, and ways to overcome some common challenges in developing such plans.

What challenges have you experienced with motivation? What successes have you had? Share in the comments….

Sources:

  • Merrian-Webster’s Online Dictionary: http://www.websters.com
  • Accel Team Development: http://www.accel-team.com/motivation/
  • The Journal of Extension: http://www.joe.org/joe/1998june/rb3.php
  • The Free Management Library: http://managementhelp.org/guiding/motivate/basics.htm)

Original Article HERE

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Happy holidays, I mean merry Christmas, I mean…

Over the past few years the media has brought up the “war on Christmas” at the beginning of every December. The theory goes that in an attempt to be politically correct individuals and businesses have stopped wishing people a “merry Christmas” and instead use the more ambiguous “happy holidays”. Some pundits take offense to this secularization of a holy day while others merely wish to be more inclusive. To be honest the whole war on Christmas concept is lost on me. First of all, for many Americans Christmas is no more a holy day than Halloween.   Instead it is a day for presents and family and I am ok with that. For some it means nothing at all and is just another day. Who am I to tell anyone what they should be celebrating and how. If you consider yourself a Christian and wish to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday that is fine too. After all that is what the holiday started as. Many of these pundits are stirring up controversy simply for the sake of controversy itself. I don’t believe for a minute any of these television personalities cares about America losing its identity as a Christian nation, what they care about is ratings. I do however believe there are individuals who care about Christmas as a Christian holiday and who take real offense to being wished a happy holiday instead of a merry Christmas.  These people have the right to celebrate a Christian Christmas if they wish (that is the meaning of a freedom of religion, freedom to practice whatever you want even if that is nothing). So when someone get offended when I say happy holiday I shrug it off. After all it is their right to be offended just as it is my right to not celebrate Christmas.

So what is the problem? Well the problem comes when you are working with people who become offended. The truth is no matter what you say someone will be offended. What if they don’t celebrate Christmas at all? What if they are Jewish or Buddhist or Hindu, or even (gasp) atheist?

What to say?

An individual’s decision to celebrate a holiday is a personal one and not one that we discuss often as is their religion or belief system. In the US we do not walk around with patches that advertise our religious beliefs. America is very diverse and as such there are a lot of different beliefs. Saying Happy Holidays means we are including everyone, not just Christians who celebrate Christmas. It also includes New Years so you are acknowledging the season not a specific holiday. Thus, this is what I would recommend saying. If someone shows offense and says “merry Christmas” back as a way to announce their preference, make a little joke. Say something like “I never know what people prefer, there are too many holidays to keep track of.” Do not get dragged into a debate about the  de-Christianization of America (especially at work) it just isn’t worth it.

As for those of you who get offended, I have one suggestion – lighten up. I do not consider myself Christian, I do not believe in Christ and therefore Christmas to me isn’t a religious day. In fact I don’t really celebrate Christmas any longer. I use the day off as an opportunity to celebrate my family (which I love) and to reflect on how lucky I am to live in a country where I am not hanged because of my religious (or lack thereof) beliefs as well as my other “blessings”. That said, I do not get offended when someone says Merry Christmas to me. I know they are just trying to be pleasant so why be angry. It should be the same way when someone wishes a Christian happy holidays. Remember, this person is just trying to be nice and wish you happiness!

I was going to write about gift giving at work as well as the office holiday party but I feel this post is long enough already. I will write separate posts on each of these issues. In the meantime I would like to hear your thoughts on the whole “happy holidays”/”merry Christmas” debate.

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What motivates my generation to work hard?

I often feel like I am stuck between generations. I do not identify with Millennials who are motivated by excessive praise and recognition and I do not identify with Generation Xs who are motivated simply by high paychecks. Somewhere in between Generation X and Millennials lies a sub-generation and this is the generation I identify with – as do most of the people I associate with.

Defining a (sub)generation

This generation never knew a workplace without the Internet and thus we have different ideas of how fast things should happen then our Generation X bosses. However, unlike Millennials we do not use social media to discuss our personal lives and we are wary of posting personal information on sites like Facebook and Twitter. We do not require constant supervision nor do we require constant praise to stay motivated. For us, getting paid what we feel we are worth is important, but we do not measure our success by the size of our paychecks alone. I like to call us “Generation US” as many of us realize we don’t really belong to any group and we seek each other out.  – (but we’ll see if that catches on). Our generation isn’t so much about the year you are born, (although most of us are born between 1979 and 1983) but about our attitudes towards work, our social life and new technologies. We aren’t early adaptors, but we do not necessarily wait to for new technologies to become mainstream before we purchase them.

How to motivate

So how do you motivate people for whom money is not everything? “Generation US” wants a balance between work and their personal life so a job well done can be rewarded with an extra day off or even just the go ahead to leave a couple of hours early. I know if I was told I could take next Friday off because of a great job on a project it would motivate me to continue doing well.

The people I talk to who feel like they are part of this sub-generation often say they like to feel like their work matters. Not all of us are doctors or nurses or firefighters so we look for meaning in our work in other ways. For example, an events manager might be motivated by a thank you note from the couple whose reception they planned. I like to know that my efforts actually affect the company so when I complete a project being told how it will benefit the company and why this is important always makes me feel good. And then of course small bonuses don’t hurt either (everyone likes money and we all need more of it, no matter how much we make).

How to manage us

Unlike Millennials those who belong to Generation Us do not require constant supervision, hand holding or praise. In fact, of us appreciate a little room to be creative and even make mistakes. However, we do want to know that someone is there to bounce ideas off of and thus we like to work in small groups of equally dedicated employees. We love collaboration because when we come up with an idea it can be fine tuned or even loved by the group just the way it is. This consensus makes us feel like the idea is better than if we just came up with it on our own. This also means we do not need all the “credit” for a project. We have no problem sharing and working as a team.

The best way to manage my sub-generation is to give guidelines and let us come up with the rest. The projects I enjoy working on the most are the ones where I am given some basic information (we are announcing a new product) and I come up with the communications strategy myself. But we also want to know that our ideas are considered as well. We like to know that if we come up with a new way of doing something or a new idea for a project or initiative our bosses won’t say “we don’t have time for that” or “how will that fit into the budget” we want to know that our creativity will be nurtured.

 

When giving criticism it is important to note that while we aren’t as sensitive or easily discouraged as Millennials we do need to be told we are doing well, however not as often as Millennials. A formal quarterly review would be all it takes for me to be sure I am on the right track or to understand what I can do to improve.  

Many of the people I went to college with fear nothing more than sitting at a desk all day starting at a computer screen. We do not want jobs that simply pay the bills. We want some meaning in our careers and to feel like we contribute to the greater good of our company and even the world.

I don’t believe that the sub-generation I feel I belong to is officially recognized. I know that we are lumped in with Millennials, but to manage “Generation Us” like you would manage the Gen X and Millennials would be a mistake.

Do any of you feel like you are stuck between generations? Do you have ideas on how you like ot be managed and motivated?

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Don’t be a snob about career advice. by: Penelope Trunk

penelopetrunkJess is a proud follower of Penelope trunk’s blog, and Im starting to take a genuine interest in her work.  I ran into this piece of unsolicited advice from her, and wanted to share it with all of you.  But, of course, I needed to add one more to her list….  :)

“Here are five other counter-intuitive principles I have used to figure out who to listen to when it comes to my own career:

Listen to people who hate you. The interesting thing about taking advice from people who don’t like me is that sometimes, they’ll say things that other people wouldn’t say because it would hurt me.

Stop thinking your issues are especially difficult. The most important piece of self-knowledge is that our problems are not unique.   You don’t need a “career expert.” You don’t have the world’s most sophisticated problems. If you are articulate about framing your problem, most of your friends can give articulate, useful guidance for solving the problem.

Less experience often means better advice. When it comes to finding a mentor, the most effective mentors are 3-5 years ahead of you in the workplace. Those are the people who have the best memory of what it was like to be where you are.  The rules are changing so quickly, that many times someone who has a lot more experience than you do will also be out of touch with what the workplace is like today.

Be wary of people whose lives look perfect. Happiness researchers have known for a long time that if you ask people directly if they are happy in their career, most of the time they’ll lie.  Many people hide their lives – they want you to think things are going perfectly, and they’re always making great decisions, so they don’t tell you the parts that are a mess. But sometimes, you come across people who are willing to show you the messy parts, and you can learn the most from these people.

Stick with people who give you bad advice. If you’re getting advice from someone who has never steered you wrong, then you’re not asking this person enough questions. After a  while, someone who has given you a lot of advice will falter. Because no one is perfect, and no one can do as well at running your life as you can. So if you find someone who is giving good advice, push harder, until you get to their limit.”

As great as Penelope’s article is, I would like to add one more Career advisor to your list:

History. As Penelope explained, our problems are not as unique as we believe they are, and they are not as new and innovative either.  Yes, maybe you are tying to figure out the best way to use your email as a marketing tool, or twitter or something else that seems to be new, but chances are, someone else already struggled with it.  This morning, I listened to a politician talking about Afghanistan and quoted Alexander the Great.  If he can look back into History, so should you.

Penelope Trunk’s Blog

-Frank

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