• B. Burgess

Millennials! Benefits vs. Unconscious Bias

Updated: Feb 19


The Millennial. Who is defined as such? Those of us born between 1981 to 1996 (ages 22 to 37 in 2018). YES-- I am a proud millennial.

We would be naive to think that there are only BENEFITS to being a millennial and not any unconscious bias.

An unconscious bias happens outside of our control. It occurs automatically and is triggered by quick judgments.

"Entitled"

"Being attracted to careers that are fulfilling and not just monetary gain"

"Working smarter, not harder"

"Living in a virtual reality"

"Lack of social skills"

"Enhancement of social media skills"

"Socially and politically conscious"

"Redefine rules"

"Lazy"

"Rule-breakers"

"New Leaders"

"Innovative"

"Passionate"

"Tech Savvy"

Yes, I get it -- every conference, corporate forum, or college lecture tend to highlight the importance of millennial representation and that we are the FUTURE. I agree we are, however there are generations before and after us that we all have to coexist with -- especially in any professional setting.

The phrases I have listed above could be positive or negative depending on their context. However, at some point in time the phrases mentioned were simply thoughts or maybe boldly stated when you entered a room. Are any of the above true? Are they false? It's all subjective, but no doubt some phrases have an unconscious bias.

Millennials are at the forefront. If there is a positive impact made, we will receive the kudos. If an issue arises, we are a lost generation -- all hope is lost! (WOOSAH)

Its apart of the game, as I always say its best to know the rules before you play. In a professional environment, or even collegiate atmosphere the spotlight is ON and millennials are often the target.

"How old are you?" "You don't look like you're old enough to have this position." I'm sure most millennials have heard this statement one time or another. Instead of responding, "I'm certain I wouldn't be hired if I was underage."

Remember that we all have to co-exist and the idea is to challenge what the perceived bias is with a different behavior.

Are we "rule-breakers" because we want to know why we are doing a task and question the routine?

Are we "entitled" because we do great work and would like to be acknowledged for doing so?

Are we "lazy" because we create automated tasks that eliminate manual work hours?

Our actions and how we carry ourselves professionally will help change the unconscious biases...

We ARE passionate about our work.

We ARE innovative thinkers.

We like to feel valued in the workplace.

Therefore, we should remember that we aren't experts, we don't have all the answers, and sometimes taking the longer route is better than a shortcut. Take advantage of the wisdom around you in the workplace. Ask the hard questions, but also take the time to listen and just be a sponge of knowledge. There is a mutual benefit of understanding out benefits, but being aware of the unconscious bias that may arise. #WeAreTheMillennial


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