"You're fired." If you've heard these words, you're not alone. There's a real disconnect between employers and our generation that -- deserved or not -- keeps us from keeping jobs (or getting promotions when we have the jobs).
How bad is it? So bad that headhunter Stephen Greenwell rants that many of his clients complain that Millennials are notoriously appalling at meeting deadlines and completing tasks.
Are you guilty? Here are six reasons Millennials keep getting fired, and how you can change the odds:
1. I'm not coming in.
Greenwell documented these real-life excuses Millennials used for not coming in to work on a given day:
- It's my dog's birthday.
- The project's boring.
- It's raining.
- I'm tired.
Whoa. It's my dog's birthday? Maybe you didn't use an excuse as stupid as that one, but poor attendance is a clear indicator that an employee is not invested in the job.
Sure, there are legitimate reasons to miss work, but your dog's birthday is not one of them. In most cases, even your own birthday is not one of them. Employers look for commitment before almost anything else, including skills. Be there every day, and prove that your job is important to you.
2. I have a life to live, don't I?
Do you start glancing up at the clock at 4 pm, counting the seconds down until 5? Do you come in one minute before you're required to, take your 30-minute lunch and run out the door as soon as you can?
Don't think your employer isn't watching. A chief complaint against us is we tend to work only the minimum number of required hours. On top of that, we demand flexible scheduling and extras. That's not the way the working world works.
Employers don't care if you have a personal life. They want to know your job is important.
Give them more than they require and prove yourself. You're more likely to earn additional perks after you earn an employer's trust and respect.
3. Just a second. I need to check my text messages.
Have you checked your Facebook page lately? Did you answer your last text message? Unless your job involves social media, marketing or public relations, don't use your phone or computer for watching videos, catching up with friends or making dinner plans on work time.
There's always something more productive for you to do. Find it.
Even when you're not at work, watch the public posts. If you complain about your boss or workplace on social media, you may find yourself out the door the next day. Social media posts are never private, even after you remove them.
Your boss will find out. Here's a tip: Channel your mom. If your mom read your post, would she approve or disapprove? Listen to her.
4. I'm not happy, boss.
Many employers offer perks like on-site meals and gym memberships to attract Gen-Y job candidates. Some hires, however, report dissatisfaction and disappointment after only a few months because the work is no longer "fun."
Fact: Work isn't always fun. It's not always rewarding.
A lot of employers offer more flexibility and perks now than they did before. It's not their job to make you happy.
5. Please pat me on the head more.
"Punished By Rewards" author, Alfie Kohn, believes that when children are raised on a bribe system -- where they are rewarded for doing well in school -- it lowers their quality of work when they become adults. Apparently, most of us were raised expecting extensive praise, rewards and other incentives.
So, we think employers should treat us the same way. It's a vicious cycle because employers can offer a limited number of perks, and those of us used to external motivators become dissatisfied. If that's where you find yourself, you need to find ways to motivate yourself from within.
For example, make a list of the things that make you valuable to your employer. What are your top skills and talents? Are there things you can do -- such as taking classes -- to broaden your skills?
Don't look to your boss for praise every time you dot an "i." Take the initiative without being told.
Here's a tip: Try to think of something your boss needs, and offer to do it before you're asked. You'll score some initiative points this way.
6. Did you hear about Mary?
What's the talk around the water cooler at work like? Do you stand there and gossip about co-workers? How about your appearance? Do you look like something the cat dragged in?
If you don't take your job seriously enough to behave and dress in a professional manner, you risk not getting a promotion at best, and not keeping your job at worst. Try this instead: Dress not for the job you have now, but for the one you want.
It's not all bad news when it comes to Millennials and employers. In fact, a 2015 SkillSurvey report found that references on Gen-Y resumes gave the job candidates high marks for ethics and integrity.
If you've hit a stumbling block or two in the job market, a few changes can put you on the right path. Now, go out there and work.