Don’t you love getting advice from greybeards like me? I bet you can’t wait to hear our war stories about the good old days, right? I’m sure you sit and listen politely until we turn our backs—then your eyes nearly roll out of your head. I’ve been there too.
I was there when old folks complained about those four long-hairs from Liverpool who were never going to be as good as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. I was there when they remarked about how privileged and lazy we were, and how we would never be able to make a living when the time came for us to get off our butts and work. I’ve heard these words just like you, and they drove me crazy too.
Over the past few years, I have heard many of my peers complain about millennials to the point of distraction. Some of them are self-proclaimed millennial experts who pontificate to the rest of us about how this new and strange species thinks and acts, what’s important to them, and how we should handle them. Others insist on just plain complaining about millennials, including how privileged and lazy you are, and how you will never be able to make a living when the time comes to get off your butts and work. I think I’ve heard that song before.
Relax, this is not going to be one of those diatribes. Instead, I will give you a few helpful career tips that I have found to be universal and timeless. These 10 tips helped me in my career, and I hope they help you as well:
- Be unique and outstanding: If everyone in your age group is doing one thing, do another. Stand out in any way you can, so you cannot be easily categorized.
- Do the tough stuff: Take the hard jobs that no one else wants. Do the research, take on that tough customer, or volunteer for a challenging project. In the end, you will stand out, be appreciated, and your career will thrive.
- Communicate: Verbally communicate with others and make eye contact. Millennials get a bad rap for always being on your phone. In fact, I recently read that millennials look at their phone 237 times a day. That’s a lot! Try looking at your phone a little less and look at people a little more. Oh, the places you’ll go!
- Be interested: Show interest in your job and the company where you work. It will be noticed and appreciated.
- Value your paycheck: Money might not be that important right now, but it will be one day. Eventually, you might want to upgrade from your loft to a six-bedroom house with three cars.
- Appreciate your work: Make the most of it and learn to love it. When someone tells you that you should do what you love, take that advice with a boulder-sized grain of salt. Do the thing that you love as long as it can make you money! Sorry, but eventually the “M” word will mean something more to you than it does today.
- Be innovative: Millennials are the best-educated generation in the history of the world (so far). Don’t be afraid to generate new ideas. It will make you stand out, and possibly rich and famous.
- Be helpful: Don’t hesitate to help others. It’s rewarding and priceless; besides, selfishness is lonely, confining, and limiting.
- Take chances: Never accept things as they are. Always work hard to make them better. If something seems a little scary, overcome your fears and do it. Be brave and dare to be great!
- Be your own company: Think of yourself as your own company and do what’s best for yourself. Jobs will come and go, but if you consider yourself, you will develop a productive career path.
Lastly, in the spirit of underpromising and overdelivering, learn all that you can about everything. The minute you stop learning becomes the minute you lose curiosity and stop growing.
If you follow this advice, you will do well in your career and life. However, if you don’t buy this advice today, then do yourself a favor—print this out and save it for tomorrow—because you will be ready for it someday.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.