Dear Millennial Professionals,
Let us pledge today to stop selling ourselves short!
I recently had two separate conversations with two friends, both millennial professionals who shared their current work frustrations. Noticing striking similarities of leaving to much on the table, I decided to share some of our millennial professional pitfalls and the lessons I learned about selling myself short. Trust me when I say, this is still a struggle for me and every day I’m being intentional about what it is I need and voicing that as I navigate being a millennial professional myself.
Millennial professionals, are passion driven and strive to be involved in work that fulfills our purpose, fuel our professional development, and sustains us financially, right? I believe that such a lifestyle is attainable, millennials just have to stop selling ourselves short by not being afraid to sit at the table, voice what we need, and decide whether or not it’s worth staying after fighting the good fight. I have listed 2 reasons I personally know has hindered millennials from flourishing professionally below, let me know if you agree or not.
2 reasons millennial professionals can’t secure what they need?
1. We expect everything to work out and don’t negotiate early enough:
When millennials land a job we often take whatever is offered without considering what else can be garnered. I get it, some of us walk into positions as entry level, but after year 1 we have to ask ourselves 3 things: what is it that I bring to the table? Do I offer exceptional expertise or knowledge? If yes, what is that worth? If not, what can I do differently to secure what I need? I found myself asking and answering these questions a little too late.
It wasn’t until I had one foot out the door and one foot in that I began this process and realized I had not asked for what I needed earlier. I had let two years pass without negotiating one bit. I looked around and most of my coworkers I started with had another title, received raises, etc. I often questioned WHY wasn’t this happening for me? Simple- I hadn’t VOICED what I expected financially to sustain my work ethic. That situation taught me not to wait nor expect things to happen for me. We must advocate for the lifestyles that we earn.
2.We believe we aren’t qualified so we don’t try
We sabotage ourselves from opportunities by not trusting that our skills can carry us. The easiest way for a millennial professional to find themselves here is acting defeated before they try. Shying away from the jobs and careers with laundry lists of qualifications is old news. We have what it takes. It’s your experience that counts! You have the power to learn, grow, and use what you know to make power moves- do it!
My first year out of undergrad, while working for Hands On Atlanta, I helped organize the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade on MLK Jr. Day. I found out the day before that the head coordinator was not going to be attending the parade. A coworker and I had the task of organizing and leading a group of 75+ people. Terrified I was, yet I knew what to do, how to do it, so I did it. My coworker, who was also a millennial, retracted from all the duties because she had never done it before and proclaimed “Lauren has it.” Experience is the best teacher and if we want to bring our assets to the table to ask for what we want we should be willing to cultivate the skills we have and not compare them to someone else.
Hakuna Matata! Money is still on the table, so let us stop selling ourselves short and secure what’s ours!