I was in a meeting with a business consultant who, from time to time, would do hiring for the top companies of the country when he said “Make me understand-please. I don’t get this millennial mentality. One day they are getting their diploma, the next day, they want YOUR hard-earned position in an instant.”
It made me think and ask myself – are we, millennials, really entitled and idealistic?
I remember the day I was offered a job to work for this company. HR for Training and Organizational Development – sounded very inviting to me. Imagine a fresh graduate being offered with an HR job by the most prestigious broadcast company in the country. I was so ready to be the next big thing of my generation.
Then, day one came. I was so expectant and ready to attend meetings, discuss training curriculum to possible training facilitators, and probably think of the best solutions to the biggest issues of the organization. Until reality struck me with my first task- file all the contracts in the dusty, I-can’t-even-imagine-how-old-they-are folders and make sure that all are scanned and encoded in the database. I was exhausted that day.
Day two, we are conducting training for managers and I had to literally rearrange the tables in the training room, place notebooks, name tag stickers, pencils, candy bowls and candies in each. I had to make sure there were paper cups, coffee, and napkins at the food table. I had to reproduce and staple all the hand-outs and materials needed. From time to time, I had to bring documents and contracts to other departments.
Day three… four… five… all these tasks went on and on and I found myself asking “What in the world is a Latin Honour graduate doing in this position?”
Whenever I would look back to my first few days at the network, I still can’t help but smile and be thankful. If it weren’t for those moments, I would have missed out the most important part of the journey- the character building that came with the tasks;
If not for the times I had to re-arrange the tables and chairs no matter how helpless I felt- I may not be as enduring and strong-willed as I am today.
If not for the times I had to place the candy bowls, candies and coffee at the tables- I may have forgotten to be humble and admit the fact that I know almost nothing in the industry even when I am a degree holder.
If not for the times I had to file the contracts in the dusty cabinets- I may have missed out being patient, innovative and hungry for process improvement.
If not for the times that I had to encode for my manager no matter how loaded I was– I may not be as flexible and responsible as I am now.
If not for the times that the only decisions I had to make were whether I will change the room arrangement, the font size and style of the training title and at which angles to take training photos- I may have missed out learning how to man up for my decisions.
If not for the times I had to be a messenger and bring all the documents in other departments- I may not be as sociable and approachable today.
If not for the times that I have to do all the dirty works as my individual contribution- I may not be a visionary as I am today.
It was a tough journey, I must admit. It was a humbling experience and as a millennial, I say to my generation- this is the reality– not everyone will get that dream job immediately after stepping out of the labyrinthine walls of our universities. We will have to work hard to have that position we have always wanted. But as you do your individual contributions today, don’t ever forget- make the most of your journey and don’t miss out on the character building that comes with the small tasks assigned to you.
One small task can reveal who you are- how you work, what you value, what your convictions are and what you firmly believe. One under-appreciated role may hone you to be the person you want to be. One task that may not make sense now may be your character building moment for the greater role you will be.
Dear Millennial, don’t miss out the character building in your career journey.