In some ways, the generation just now entering the workforce shares little in common with those that came before. It comprises workers who grew up with the Internet, social media, and smart phones, and yet according to Robyn Price Stonehill, chief human resources officer at Assurant, millennials begin new jobs facing the same challenges as everyone else.
In a great Forbes post titled “Here’s What to Expect When You Start a New Job,” Stonehill shares three of the most common struggles facing all workers — not just the ones too young to remember modems and Discmans.
First up: “understanding the corporate work environment.” As Stonehill explains, this can be the physical environment — i.e. the layout of the office and where everything is located — and the more complicated issues surrounding company culture. When you start a new job, you must get a sense of the hierarchy and values and things of that nature, and you also need to learn how to collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds who don’t necessarily share your viewpoints.
“In a world that’s in constant flux,” Stonehill writes, “having a flexible mindset and resilience in the face of continuous change is a must.”
The next challenge, she says, is “networking.” There’s a tendency, when starting a new gig, to hunker down in your cubicle and only talk (or email) with people in your department. Stonehill suggests getting up and meeting people in different departments. Don’t just focus on folks with big and fancy titles; there may be “hidden gems throughout the company.” You’ll also want to network with others in your industry, since you never know what’ll happen down the line.
Finally, Stonehill warns of how hard “prioritizing” can be. For many, she says, there’s a temptation to knock out the easiest items on a to-do list first and work up to the hard stuff. The first priority, she says, needs to be knowing what’s actually a priority, as well as what can be put on the back burner. If there’s any doubt, Stonehill says, the smart play is to consult a supervisor, just so everyone’s on the same page.