Joe Giovannoli is a participant in Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO)'s New York-area business Accelerator program, which empowers entrepreneurs with the tools, community and accountability necessary to aggressively grow and master their businesses. The New Jersey serial entrepreneur is founder and CEO of 9Sail, a search marketing company. As a Millennial advocate, we asked Joe what people don't know--but should--about his generation. Here's what he shared.
My generation gets a bad rap. For years, we've heard how "Millennials are so lazy" or are "glued to their phones 24/7."
For some, these are the first ideas that come to mind when they hear the word Millennial in conversation. But accepting such sweeping generalizations is short-sighted and small-minded. There are also a lot of good things that Millennials do and ways they contribute that many people don't recognize.
Here are six surprising factors that impact how Millennials approach work-life balance.
- The average Millennial college graduate leaves school with nearly $40,000 in debt. And many incur much, much more! Right out of the gate, a student who follows the standards of previous generations is financially "behind" and emerges into the world on the bottom rung of the career ladder while carrying a mountain of debt. For many, this sets off a fight or flight response. They panic―or get creative.
- We've got a side hustle. Millennials bond easily over our debt predicament. A typical conversation opener is, "Where are you working?" and then includes the follow-up, "What's your side hustle?" You see, our generation is working nearly twice as hard as previous ones, though it might not seem that way. We work in corporate jobs by day, trying to get a leg-up in the business world. But that's not where our days end. When we get home, many―if not most―of us work a side gig: Dreaming up the next must-have app, building websites for small businesses, or even waiting tables to earn extra income. The days of students graduating and spending the summer backpacking through Europe are over. We graduate and start working to pay off our significant debts. Millennials need to do everything we can just to stay afloat. And we do it with incredible efficiency.
- Yes, we're omni-connected, but that's an advantage. That "kid" you see with his nose always inches from his phone has more access to information than the generation before him could have ever imagined. As a result, tasks are completed in a fraction of the time, deals are closed with a few keystrokes, and websites are built and edited from an iPhone. The power of technology has provided the Millennial generation with an indisputable advantage―and we're banking our futures on it.
- Technology empowers us to do more in less time. Leveraging technology and its inherent benefits gives us the gift of time: Time to travel, time to get outside and exercise, time to visit craft breweries and wineries with friends―thus stimulating the boom of craft beer and cocktails (you're welcome). We also prioritize time spent with our families and giving back to our communities. We're about as far removed from lazy as it gets.
- We work differently. We've established that Millennials are, and will always be, connected. It's how we build and grow relationships. It's how we "get stuff done" both professionally and personally. Whether it's a phone in hand or a laptop on the counter, we find ways to stay connected to the work world--even while spending time with friends or family after hours and on weekends. The question I ask of the corporate workplace is, "Why does it matter if we're not getting everything done exactly the way it used to get done?" We work differently. Maybe we work better. Frankly, results are what matters. And we get results.
- We're eager to learn and open to mentoring. A common misconception about Millennials is that we don't listen and don't want to learn. Speaking personally, I consider myself to be like a sponge when I meet someone more experienced than I am. I want to learn everything I can from them so I can make critical business decisions from a place of education and knowledge. Yes, Millennials have a lot to learn―but we also have a lot to offer.
Millennials now outnumber our generational predecessors in the workplace, and that ratio will only skew more in our favor as the years pass. We're driving progress and innovation because that's all we know. And though you may perceive that we don't want to know you because our noses are in our phones, you're wrong. We're busy staying connected and solving challenges through technology, but we're eager to build relationships, and we welcome new perspectives―as long as you remain open to new ideas and work styles.
The future is bright. As Millennials step into management roles in the corporate world, we're leading, tech first. I encourage you to consider the positive things we bring to the workplace and how to leverage these talents rather than lamenting the (hopefully now dispelled) myth of Millennial laziness. Let's work together, pool our strengths and generate good ideas that will benefit every generation.
The Millennial train is here. In fact, it's leaving the station. We invite you to come with us and focus on collaboration instead of division. Are you on board?