The CIO Perspectives Forums are regionally focused one-day executive events for senior IT leaders at mid- to large-sized organizations in the private and public sectors. Recently, Joel Sackett, our Paragon K12 Product Manager was invited to participate in a CIO Perspectives Virginia forum, where he shared his insights as a successful millennial professional and provided guidance on how to tap into the innovative nature of his generation.
CIO Magazine‘s Lauren Brousell moderated the forum as Joel and fellow millennials Laura Horton, Communications Manager of Georgetown University, and Ian Tighe, Strategic Account Manager at VerQu, discussed how millennials tend to think, what inspires them to innovate and why they want their managers to see beyond some of the negative stereotypes millennials are associated with.
Below, we share the 5 common myths about millennials, and Joel’s viewpoints on how valid they are.
Myth 1: Millennials are overconfident, even cocky, in our abilities, especially regarding technology.
There is often a misconception about this, due to digital natives’ inherent fluency with technology. It is simply part of our vernacular, and it is something that we need to be mindful of when discussing tech or digital topics with others. Our confidence in the medium can be easily misconstrued as arrogance.
Myth 2: We are restless and we are job hoppers.
Job hopping does not necessarily have negative consequences. My past experiences have shaped different skill sets, and each company I move to is able to benefit from my past experiences. Technology changes most industries so rapidly that it only makes sense that people would change jobs a little more frequently than in the past. My work on Paragon K12 benefits from my experiences as the leader of digital product strategy at a digital marketing agency, a technology consulting company, and a non-profit organization. The sum of all of those roles is what crafted me into the person capable of managing Paragon K12.
Myth 3: We have a constant need for feedback.
I think most people generally want feedback at work, but millennials have been pretty good at vocalizing it. We are people who have grown up connected to the community through 24 hour news cycle, social media, and the digital domain. It is natural for us to externalize our experiences and seek feedback. This is a GOOD thing for employers; it creates more transparency to both parties and more accountability.
Myth 4: We need immediate gratification.
I don’t necessarily agree with this. I do think that the general pace of business has sped up, and with our ability to be hyper-connected, there is ever-present pressure to be productive and to achieve results. It is also easier to compare yourself to friends and colleagues, which can create an environment where you are always striving to get ahead.
Myth 5: We are self-promotional (establishing a personal brand at work, social media presence). Social media helps make events like the CIO conference that much more robust. With past speaking engagements, I was able to build a captive audience before the presentation even began. This led to a richer experience for me and more value for the audience, as I was able to interact with people before and after the session. Especially when sessions can be as short as 30 minutes, there is not enough time to delve into certain issues; the deeper connection to the audience pre-and post-session enables us to experience richer knowledge-sharing.
To read the moderator’s article Millennials Dispel 5 Myths About Their Generation, click here.
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