Overcoming Millennial Stereotyping

By ASFMRA Press posted 02-26-2018 10:43

The need for young professionals in ag is high.  But, how do you overcome the stereotypes associated with your age?
With the the average age of ag professionals rising every year the need for young professionals in the industry is high.  That should work in your favor, right?  Not always.  

The millennial generation, those born between 1982 and 2002, tend to face hefty stereotypes at work,whether deserved or not.   Even when you type "millennial" into google the first search options that pop up  after you type millennial's are: "lazy" and "entitled".  So how do you overcome those stereotypes?
Here are some common stereotypes about millennial's and some tips on how to handle them: 
Stereotype: Millennial's aren't committed to their employer.
How to handle it:  When you start a new position stick with it for at least a year and be prepared to field questions in potential job interviews about why you you are moving on so quickly.  In these interviews focus on your career goals and why this new opportunity is a better fit for you and the organization.
Stereotype: Millennial's are lazy.
How to handle it: By and large millennial's are not in favor of a standardized work schedule, which is often construed by employers as laziness. Realize that your employer may have a traditional notion of how hours should be worked.  Accept the fact that you need to adopt their schedule to show your work ethic before requesting a more flexible schedule
Stereotype: Millennial's are distracted by technology. 
How to handle it: Show the value of technology and social media.  The tech landscape is constantly changing and advancing.  New programs come online everyday that can help with management and valuation efforts.  Social media is a great way to stay on top of industry news by following professional organizations and competitors. Don't be afraid to share these tools with your coworkers.  
Overall takeaways:
  • Be patient.  Realize that success isn't going to come over night and that it may take your older coworkers some time to realize that their stereotypes are not correct.
  • Communicate well.  Make sure you communicate with your coworkers in a clear, positive manner.  When asking for clarification or suggesting a different way to do a project make sure your tone stays positive as opposed to sounding demeaning or condescending.