I'm what you'd call a "Millennial," youngish, tech-savvy, college-educated and 36% of the workforce.
Being plugged in as I am to the Interwebs, I've stumbled upon several articles in which writers try to decode the inner workings of the Millennial mind in order to understand our strange idiosyncrasies like wanting to work from home, or why we like to get constant feedback about our performance. Many of the articles touch on key elements, but I'm left wondering why the tone of the articles often come across as submissive or patronizing.
I admit, I don't want the life that my parents had. I don't expect to stay at the same job for years upon years. I want flexibility and more autonomy. I want to hear when I perform well.
And I'm not alone.
While I'm sure I'm not the voice of my entire generation, like Millennial icon Lena Dunham, I am "a voice of a generation." Here's what I'm looking for in a workplace.
A flexible schedule
Flexibility is more important than money. I want a decent, livable wage, no doubt. But if given the choice between a high-paying job with no flexibility and a lower paying job with more freedom to work in the office or telecommute, it's a no brainer. Flexibility, baby.
I want to be able to choose when I work from home and when I work in the office.
If I'm feeling sick, I can work from home or come in late, without feeling penalized. If I need a change of scenery I can go to a coffee shop. If I really need to focus, I can come into the office. Flexibility is bliss. And I'd much rather be happy in my work than paid millions of dollars to be stressed out and miserable.
A good work-life balance
I want to have kids someday. But I also want to have my career. I believe that the two are not mutually exclusive. Having a flexible work environment means that I could feasibly keep my job and have a family. What's so crazy about that?
In an ideal world, my husband and I would both have flexible jobs that allow us to spend some time at home and some time in the office throughout the week. We could share child-rearing responsibilities, and take off the time we need for the usual baby things.
I don’t want to be a stay-at-home mom. Ever. But I will happily be a mom who works from home and spends time with her kids. But in like two or three years down the road.
Health insurance is a must
I don't need a million dollars, I just need a low deductible. Prescription coverage is vital. The more comprehensive the better.
I shouldn't have to pay $45,000 for an emergency appendectomy. And if you don't think your employees' well-being are worth the extra monthly health care payments, then you shouldn't have employees. And you certainly won't have me as one.
Feedback, within reason
Everyone needs validation. And I admit, my generation is notorious for craving feedback. But it's not (just) because we were overly validated as children. It's mainly because we want to know if we're doing it right.
I want to know if I'm doing a good job. Because then I'll continue doing a good job. If I'm doing something wrong; I'd like to know so I can amend that. I'm not sure why this has become such a hot topic when it comes to Millennials. We want to know when we're doing well so we can keep doing well.
You don't have to pat us on the back and give a gold star for chrissake. Everyone likes to hear when they're doing something right.
Room to grow
My last, so-called Millennial workplace "demand," is that I be given the opportunity to grow. When I've learned enough, and performed well, give me more responsibility. A little raise every now and then to show that I'm performing well.
I'm not expecting to make VP in a year, but I'm also not going to stick around if I'm going to stagnate at an entry-level position for five years. I want to be ever upward and onward.
It's preposterous to think that Millenials are "just a bunch of spoiled brats" when what we're looking for is pretty reasonable. But I'm pretty sure they said the same thing about Gen Xers and Boomers when they were younger. Kids these days, huh?
Note: This article was first published on Meta Q.