Millennial Me

Dear Christian Radio,

We’re the generation born into a social-media-driven world.
We’re labeled as lazy, adult-sized children who get participation trophies for everything.
We’re waiting to get married, posting every detail of our lives…and listening to podcasts while we do it.

We are Millennials.

I’m Cassie, your resident Millennial. On behalf of all Millennials, I’m here to help you see that there is more to us than Enneagrams, social media, and skinny jeans. I believe every generation brings a unique perspective to the world and the workforce and it is crucial that every age group has a voice. Because of the overwhelming trends in today’s society, many people have preconceived notions about Millennials. Unfortunately, these assumptions are largely based on opinions rather than facts.

What is a Millennial?
The internet defines a Millennial as any person born between 1981 and 1996. I can live with that definition. However, the broader attempt to define an entire group of people who are made up of unique individuals is far more concerning. Putting a label on millions of people who have worked hard to create their own personal and professional brands feels a bit insulting.

I want to be an individual. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today through my brand. For the Millennial, branding is extremely important. I value this in life and in my career. Millennials live in a world full of labels–everyone wants to know where they fit in. With all the negativity that surrounds my generation’s moniker, it’s easy to worry that employers will never take us seriously. We don’t want you to see our distinctive skill sets as entitlement; however, we are desperate for you to see our worth. As a Millennial, my branding experience adds to my value. Use my digital literacy to your advantage. Know that I’m willing to take risks and that I’m willing to rewrite the rules. These are just some of my strengths, but they also represent what many Millennials can bring to your organization.

Millennials in the Workplace
Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce, so it is important that employers know how to inspire these young professionals to greatness. As a twenty-six year-old who is just starting her career, I’m eager to put my skills to work. My greatest fear—and one shared by other Millennials–is having spent so many years in and on higher education, only to graduate with little hope of actually using my degree. It would not only be a waste of thousands of dollars, it would feel like a soul-crushing failure. All of my hard work would mean nothing.

Thankfully, our world is driven by technology and the ability to connect digitally—something Millennials do well. We’ve grown up with the world at our fingertips. We believe our youth is our greatest asset. Age does not mean “unqualified” but only that there is simply more to be learned.

Growing up with social media has instilled a strong desire to stay connected. This lends itself to better teamwork. In fact, my high school and college classes emphasized group projects and the ability to work well with those on a team. Millennials want to see how our life experiences transfer into our chosen careers. Growing up working with groups means we are more likely to ask our peers for help rather than a supervisor. Here’s why: I value my team. I want to see that my employer does too. Show us that you value input and culture.

What a Millennial Isn’t
I know the labels my generation has been given. I am not naïve…I hear it all the time:

We’re afraid of commitment.

We’re not willing to work hard.

We’re content with living at home.

We’re comfortable mooching off our parents…forever.

In reality though…we’re not all the same. Just like in your generation…like people in every generation, everyone is different.

The Millennial Worldview
Millennials like me have grown into young adults in the age of Netflix, Tide Pod Challenges, and Enneagrams. I was born into a world that made me believe I could be anything or anyone—and that, no matter what, I was always a winner. Life felt positive, because everyone got a trophy.

As a professional, the opposite has proven to be true. For Millennials, that’s a hard reality to face. Right or wrong, we’ve been conditioned to need praise. Your recognition of our contributions, as well as your attention, is necessary for us to feel valued. We need to know that we are making a difference in the companies we serve. We want to be judged on the quality of our contributions, not the hours spent working on them.

I know. It seems ridiculous…quite silly even, but a small word of encouragement or affirmation goes a long way with today’s young professionals. Prove to me that you can go the extra mile for me and I will go to the moon for you. Show me–and those of my generation–that you want us here and that you value our future…because for the Millennial, it’s our future that’s in your hands.

Dear Christian Radio…

1.     Give me a chance without crushing my dream.

2.    Keep the culture friendly and professional.

3.    Judge my performance, not my time sheet.

ENCW–

Cassie Conley
Listener Engagement, Spirit FM
Positive Alternative Radio

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