The oldies want to help Millennials get out of their own way.
Los Angeles Times humor columnist Chris Erskine has created a 46-point to-do list called The Millennial Pledge designed to help 18- to 34-year-olds break away from some of the habits of the younger generation. All kidding aside, while many of the mini-pledges amount to common sense--"I will show up on time," among them--some are particularly salient points that every young professional should treat as sound advice.
Here are nine tips from Erskine's list that resonated with my Millennial self:
1. I am entitled to nothing. Whether or not it's deserved, Millennials have a reputation for expecting recognition just for showing up. Nobody owes you a trophy until you earn one, so beware a sense of entitlement.
2. I will not burn overpasses. You've heard the networking expression "don't burn bridges," meaning don't ruin professional relationships from your past (as you might need them in the future). Equally important, however, is maintaining weak ties, or less substantial relationships with people in other industries. You never know when your career may change course and bring you into contact with a familiar face.
3. Each year, I will pen at least one thank-you note, using what's left of my cursive writing skills. Being a "digital native" certainly gives you a leg up compared to older generations, but some tech-savvy Millennials don't realize that people still appreciate handwritten notes. Don't go 100 percent paperless just yet.
4. I will learn to pick my battles. Millennials are known for having strong opinions, but you can't expect to win every argument. Choose the issues that matter, and let the other ones go.
5. I promise not to misuse the word "literally." Using words incorrectly can not only make you look dumb, it can also cost you valuable career opportunities. Avoid adding the word "literally" to statements that don't need this clarification.
6. If I can't afford car insurance, I won't spend $20 a day on coffee. There's nothing wrong with having a preference for high-end coffee. But if you can't afford an expense like insurance and you're overspending on caffeine every day, you might want to reprioritize your purchases.
7. At holiday dinners, I will leave my phone in my room. You may consider yourself a 24/7 worker, but it's important to unplug. Treat the dinner table as a mobile device-free zone, especially during the holidays.
8. When I get my way, I will be grateful and not assume that I will always get my way. You may be accustomed to immediate satisfaction thanks to things like the on-demand economy, but don't expect to always be able to get what you want. You'll inevitably be disappointed.
9. I will always remember Aristotle's quote: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Don't be completely unreceptive of ideas that you don't immediately agree with. There is a difference between being open-minded and naive.