What is it about seeing newly minted graduates in caps and gowns that gets us nostalgic? In our two cities, Boston and Washington D.C., it’s hard to miss the many graduation ceremonies that take place at this time each year.
To the graduates: Irrespective of your chosen path (and there is no right way!), you may find yourself wondering: “Am I prepared for this?”
But here is the good news: some of your “Millennial” habits will actually help you in the workplace.
Who are we to assert this? We are Millennials nearing our first decade of working life at Deloitte and New Profit and find ourselves consistently impressed by both our peers and junior colleagues. Let’s just dispel the myth that Millennials are lazy and move on.
One thing we admire is how our fellow Millennials quickly and broadly leverage their friends and networks. Working at a small, impact-driven venture philanthropy versus a large management consulting firm has its differences, but we’ve both observed the value of strong internal and external networks. And the rising ranks of Millennial managers are helping organizations — and those they serve — take a more networked mindset.
Over the last three years, Yordanos has been working to help build New Profit’s K-12 education funds by bringing together unlikely bedfellows including social entrepreneurs, policymakers and entertainers, with the mission of transforming our education system. On a recent project, Megan reached out to a data scientist friend to help with text mining, a designer to help create an infographic, and found others who could provide input based on their on-the-ground humanitarian experience.
As Millennials, this is simply an extension of how we engage in other contexts, from raising capital for a creative project (Kickstarter), to supporting a movement (#blacklivesmatter) to finding our next adventure (AirBnB).
Millennials were made for — and are remaking — this networked world. As the largest segment of the U.S. labor force, we are finding ways to boost the efficiency, quality, and creativity of work through our networks.
But having a natural affinity to networks, by itself, doesn’t guarantee success. It’s about the ideas you spark with others and commit to working on together. Call it entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, or simply good leadership. We may not yet have the right language but the value of these skills is clear. The challenge comes in deploying them effectively in our own unique contexts.
Here are five ways to leverage your Millennial advantage:
We Millennials are often portrayed by the media as noncommittal, high-maintenance employees. As any generation that has come before us, we have our quirks. But certain qualities that have been viewed by some as a liability, such as spending significant time immersed in social media, actually position our generation to advance an increasingly networked, diverse workplace.
Megan Schumann is part of Deloitte’s Social Impact practice. Yordanos Eyoel is an Associate Partner at New Profit.
Cross-posted from LinkedIn.
Yordanos is the Founder and Curator of Immigrants for America, a story campaign to showcase the diversity and vibrancy of the immigrant community through individual stories. Yordanos is also an Associate Partner at a national venture philanthropy fund where she focuses on K-12 education investments. Yordanos enjoys writing and contributes to the Huffington Post and Bold. Yordanos holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science, Honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Florida, where she was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. She also has an M.P.P. in Business and Government Policy from Harvard Kennedy School.
Megan Schumann is part of Deloitte’s Social Impact practice.