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Career Advice Millennials Never Got, But Need More Than Ever

12.09.16   |   Job Search & Career   |   Dan Fantasia, CEO and Founder at Treeline, Incorporated

Career Advice Millennials need to hearI want to start off by saying that I love the Millennial generation. The Millennial generation has energy and passion. They are innovative with an entrepreneurial mindset in a digital and technology-driven age. Their potential continues to unfold as generations before them retire from the workforce…but with that shift comes the belief that they are not ready to lead.

Truthfully, I think that most of the noise around this generation is less about the generation and more about their stage in life. I am part of Generation X and I think the world labels generations as an easy way to group people so that it is easier to share gripes about them.  I know when I graduated from college everything our generation did was wrong.  We were entering the job market not as talented as our managers and we definitely had a disapproval rating from older generations. One day the Millennial generation will be complaining about the younger generations and so on and so on. 

Instead of focusing on WHY Millennials aren’t ready to lead or how companies need to accommodate this generation, I wanted to offer 4 pieces of REAL advice Millennials can use to thrive both in their careers, and in life. Whether you are Gen-X, a Millennial/Gen Y, or even Generation Z, this advice holds true across all generations.

1.Be the CEO of your own life

First, understand that you have been misguided around career goals. As a member of the generation before you, we are partly responsible. As parents we want to create a better life for our children and provide them with all the things that we may not have had growing up. Unfortunately, this misguidance has led many Millennials to having unrealistic expectations that don’t exist in today’s reality.

You must understand this: you are responsible for your own success. Not your parents, not your family, not your friends. Advice can only take you so far until it is turned into action and execution. Your life is your business and you need to run it like one. Each decision you make has an impact on the direction of your career, finances, and life. Don’t let someone else run it for you.

You are a fluid and adaptable generation. Don’t just be a product of the environment. Don’t scape goat or point blame at others when the cards seem stacked against you. Yes, the economy will have its ups and downs. Yes, things will cost money. Yes, jobs will be hard. You’re smarter than that. Work to make things better. Constantly be working to improve your ROI…on your life.

{Related Article: Dear Gen Y, Push the Button!}

2.Don’t expect a trophy just for showing up

As Millennials, you have most likely heard that you are the generation that received trophies just for showing up, and not winning. If you are disagreeing with that statement, take a look back at some old ribbons and trophies…

Instant gratification can be your weakness. Success will not come and find you. You are entitled to nothing. You need to not only learn how to win, but you need to learn how to lose. Learn how to be knocked down. Learn how to stand back up. Life and business is hard and it’s a matter of resiliency.

My point being that life can be very hard and has been much harder on generations before ours.  When thinking about your career the true advice is you are going to have to work hard and make sacrifices to succeed. You will fail, struggle, and lose. When you perfect your craft and work hard, that’s when you win.    

{Related Article: Advice I'd Give to My 22 Year-Old Self}      

3.Live below your means

This has become especially true in an economy plagued by student debt. When you graduated high school you chose to pursue a higher education at a school with astronomical cost. That is not to say it’s your fault for university costs increasing, that’s another dilemma in itself. Rather, as a generation you were led to believe that if you attended a great/expensive university you would get a great high-paying job right out of college to pay it back. Unfortunately, the economy is not built to support that concept and still embraces that entry-level means entry-level pay.

{Related Article: Everyone Should Start Their Career as a Sales Development Representative}

You have spent money before making money, and now have to pay it back. It is truly backwards thinking. Cost should always be a concern, and each cost should be perceived as an investment in yourself. The degree gives you no special treatment.  It only puts you on an equal playing field and now it is up to you to make your career and life work.  How bad do you want to be successful?  How hard do you want to work for it?  Life will not get easier.  You will always have to work hard for those things you want, and more importantly need in life.

Make sure you are living below your means. Create a budget, and get out of debt as quickly as you can. When you rid yourself of debt you will ultimately have more freedom in your life.

4.Don’t let happiness be the destination

Lastly, Millennials are out of college and in the workforce.  So what are they being told now?  Find a job that makes them happy. This advice will lead you to search for external means of happiness that will ultimately disappoint you.

We all want to be happy in our careers but the perspective here is twisted. That is not to say that you can have dreams or goals, or that your business can’t be driven by passion. However, understand a job is a job. No matter how awesome a job is, it will not always keep you happy. I promise you that jobs are repetitive day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month.  As a result people burn out. 

{Related Article: 30 Ways to Ruin an Interview in 30 Seconds}

Learning how to get past burnout will be a key to your success and happiness.  If you burn out after a year of work and think you will find a better opportunity, you most likely enjoy the change, but within a years’ time, do not be surprised if you burn out again.  Your ability to get through the burn out stages will define your likelihood to succeed in all aspects of life. 

The question is, has anyone prepared you to overcome your burnout stages? 

In conclusion

As a generation, Millennials are not doomed. Unfortunately misguided advice has not helped financially guide them, but that does not mean all is lost. Millennials should be proud that they are progressive and forward-thinking. They have helped build a stronger, more diverse, inclusive, and accepting generation. Millennials can certainly learn how to empower themselves to shape a better and healthier economy.

{A Must Read Article: A Simple Entrepreneur's Story of "Success"}

To be successful you will have to work very hard to win, you will need to find a job and career to help pay down your debt, and you will need to get through burnout phases in your life and keep moving forward.  My final piece of advice is find a company that helps you grow and achieve both your personal and professional goals. Find a job that enables you to achieve goals both in and out of the office. Before you know it, you will be passing on these 4 tips to the next wave of talent with a whole new set of social issues.

Good luck! If you have a question regarding your job search, connect with Treeline.

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