The top 3 worst “work advice” I ever received have got to be:

  1. Be yourself
  2. Don’t be yourself
  3. Be yourself but not 100%

All 3 pieces of advice sound ridiculous (at least to me), but they were delivered with good intention. What all of the advice givers were trying to say is pretty simple: No matter who you are as a person, there are certain things that, when done at work, will benefit you while others will definitely damage you.

NATURALLY, being a millennial, I fought against that hard. I was 100% convinced that I needed to be 100% myself 100% of the time no matter where I worked, and everyone else just had to deal with it. Needless to say, I was wrong. Needless to say, I had to learn it the hard way. And, super needless to say, the joke was on me.

So for anyone wondering or asking, here are the top 6 work ethics, habits, and attitudes that every single millennial should have if they want to go anywhere (self-employed or not):

Show gratitude

I know, from the day that anyone in our generation was born, the entire world was against us. Most of us either struggled to pursue further education, found it impossible to get a job let alone a career we want, are deep in debt in our 20s, OR all of the above – and are probably going through a quarter-life crisis right now too. Trust me, I know because I share that exact same life.

But still, no one owes us anything. No one owes us a job, or the salary that we want, or an easy time at work or with our business. We, just like anyone else in the world, need to earn what we want. And if you’re currently employed or have a stable business, you need to be grateful. There are tons of people out there just like us who would trade places with your boring daily routine, and it’s time you said thank you to your boss, thank you to your job, and thank you to yourself for committing to it all – with actions and with words.

Show respect

It seems weird that this needs to be mentioned, but you’d be surprised at how many millennials think they can walk around saying and doing whatever they wish at work with complete disregard to office/company culture, policies, and mannerisms that were put in place for a reason. I think it’s related to thinking that the world owes us a lot. Showing respect to others and to the environment you are in is crazy important if you want to be taken seriously by anyone. It also reflects on the respect you have for yourself too. (note: if you claim that’s just you being yourself, don’t say that – do you really want to be disrespectful?)

Respect experience

This has to be a separate point because it deserves it. We need to understand that no matter how old in age or old-school or backward minded some people at work with us are, we need to learn to respect, admire, and use to our advantage their years of experience (especially those who’ve been working professionally since before we were born). We have to understand that befriending them or asking to be mentored by them is a million times more beneficial to our own careers than isolating ourselves from them is. See past the generation gap and straight into the knowledge pool.

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We are always pumped, always ready to take things on, excited to see change, want to make a difference, and we want it all NOW. Like, RIGHT NOW. And that’s amazing; it’s one of my favourite millennial traits. But being consumed in that go-go-go mentality is exactly the reason why we don’t end up learning as much and eventually make completely avoidable mistakes. We need to find the balance between our constant race with time and the ability to stop & listen to not miss out on the lessons along the way.

Be patient

This one is simple; we want what we want and we want it now, but things in real life take time to happen. And since they take time, we might as well practice patience instead of getting worked up and restless over things we can’t control. Life gets much easier when we realize that.

Take it easy on yourself and others

I keep reading that we’re the most stressed out generation. I don’t know if there’s any research to support that, but my life is all the research I need. I’m stressed about everything, all the time. And it’s not because I’m a control freak or paranoid or lost. I’m not. I’m just stressed, whether there’s something to be worried about or not. And the moment I realized that I can ACTUALLY give myself a break from time to time, and I stopped expecting other people to move mountains, everything changed. Believe it or not, being kinder to ourselves and others goes a long, long way.

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