Google “managing millennials” and you’ll find a long, long list of articles and resources all addressing the question “How do organizations adapt to the unique perspectives and qualities millennials bring to the workforce?”
I was recently given the opportunity to read a book written from a millennial’s perspective on how to be successful in today’s constantly changing corporate work. The Young Professional’s Guide to the Working World, written by Aaron McDaniel, touches on basic truths that apply to all generations. Perhaps the scariest part is Aaron’s statement that these concepts are not being taught in college. Hopefully that is not true across the board.
I must admit I was really hoping to learn something completely new, completely different, but I didn’t. And that’s not a bad thing. In the end, the road to success hasn’t changed a whole lot. Success is not a right; success is not a given. Success depends on a willingness to:
- Work hard
- Take risks
- Learn from others
- Learn from mistakes
- Create a career path
- Be flexible
- Challenge yourself
Aaron speaks to millennials from a millennial’s perspective. Remember how your child believed his teacher or scout leader, instead of you, even though the message was the same? A millennial hearing the message from one of their own, someone who has enjoyed significant success, may be more willing to listen.
Aaron also provides specific examples of how behaviours that are new in today’s corporate world apply to old truths. For example, the importance of acting professionally is not new. Aaron reminds young workers that their behaviour, even when on break or outside of work, impacts other’s perceptions of them. Posts and updates on Facebook, twitter, blogs and other social media channels are open and accessible for all to see and posting unprofessional “party ‘til you drop images” on a public forum may very well impact the next promotion, the next job opportunity or the successful close rate with customers.
For me, the two most important lessons from this book are:
- Take control of your career. Create a career plan. Identify where you want to go and what you need to do in order to get there. Nobody is waiting to give you what you want. Go out and get it.
- Learn how to successfully leverage mentorship. Identify potential mentors and ask them to be a mentor. Recognize and value their time, their knowledge and their experience. And when someone asks you to be a mentor, do it. Giving back and helping others succeed is good for them and for you.
The Young Professionals Guide to the Working World is an excellent resource for millennials looking for ideas and suggestions on how to be successful in today’s corporate world. The truths Aaron outlines have stood the test of time. They work and he is a living, breathing, millennial example of that.
(Thank you to Career Press for the opportunity to read and review Aaron McDaniel’s book, The Young Professionals Guide to the Working World.)