This Millennial’s Perspective
Since joining LawVision two years ago, I have become acutely aware that I’m a millennial. Now for some, this statement alone may have triggered a negative first impression. Why is that? For one, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has called Millennials the most studied generation to date and of course, with data comes scrutiny. The following articles have all been published in the past year and include surveys/data that don’t paint millennials in the best light:
Undoubtedly, another reason the stigma associated with millennials exists stems from the experience some have had with working with them. I have heard a slew of descriptions about millennials in the workplace such as: technologically savvy, confident (at times bordering on entitled), less loyal to their employer than previous generations, in favor of work life balance, and in need of constant feedback (primarily praise). For the most part these characteristics are not favorable.
My colleague Carla Landry wrote a great piece “Do You Want to Hear A Few More Things About the Millennials?” on the millennial lawyer and legal project management. Her article led me to reflect on a question I’ve been asked numerous times by clients, co-workers, and peers since joining LawVision – ‘what do you as a millennial want to experience at work?’ Through some reflection I’ve come up with five points that encapsulate what I desire most out of my work experience.
- To develop and communicate my own annual career progression goals, all the while seeking immediate feedback when appropriate. I believe structured feedback can sometimes come across as insincere and forced. Instead, I prefer feedback after completion of a deliverable or client presentation as it feels more organic. Real time feedback helps me better remember specific instances where I either need to improve upon or that I excel at.
- To gain the confidence of my peers, the owners of my company, and clients in order to unlock new opportunities. Trust is earned through consistent high quality work output and work ethic. Gaining trust opens up a new set of doors for career advancement, both internally at LawVision and externally with our client base.
- To work in a team oriented environment that cultivates learning. I relish being the youngest employee at LawVision and soak up as much knowledge and information as I can from my fellow consultants. I consider those I work with the most to be my mentors and career coaches. I genuinely want to learn every day because it helps me innovate and approach client projects with a fresh perspective. Pursuit of knowledge also drives me to read more on the legal industry and micro/macro economies in order to better contribute to team discussions and client meetings.
- To be as efficient as possible. Whether incorporating new technology into our work processes, finding a new proprietary source of information, or simplifying our approach to an internal process, I’m constantly evaluating our approach to projects and deliverables (whether asked to or not!). This includes careful review of work product and identification of inefficiencies at the end of each project.
- To manage the inevitable work stress in a healthy manner. According to a Pew Research Study, more than 56% of millennials enjoy vigorous exercise, the most of any generation surveyed. This is a very positive sign and suggests millennials have a healthy coping mechanism for managing everyday stress. I treat the gym as a therapy session of sorts and make sure to get in workouts regularly to ensure my head is clear.
By no means do my preferences speak for my generation as a whole, but I do think many millennials share some of my sentiment. In particular, my experience as a millennial consultant seems very similar to that of my millennial lawyer friends. The biggest mistake one can make when looking at my generation is to accept the stigma that’s so often directly assumed of millennials. Instead, if you’re having trouble connecting with a millennial at work, just ask them – what do you want out of this experience? Their answers might surprise you.