Business

Networking Attempts from a Millennial

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We’ve all been in those awkward situations. Don’t lie. You’re standing in an event venue, overpriced mediocre drink in hand and name-tag attached to your boob, and you have absolutely nothing to say to anyone. It could be that, like me, you’re simply just bad at it. But more often than not in this day and age, it may be because you’re a Millennial.

Now, many people may have different opinions so please keep in mind friends that this is simply that; my opinion. But I speak from experience. I am a Millennial. I was born in 1991 and I joined the corporate workforce in 2013. Therefore, I’m a measly 6 years into my professional career. The more I mature in the workforce and corporate world, the more I’m interested in networking; getting to know others in my field, learning about their career journeys, and expanding my contacts. I have gone out of my way to attend networking events and even attempt to educate myself on HOW to network. But I would still consider myself to have ZERO experience.

Why is that? What’s the problem? Is it me?

As I left another unsuccessful networking event last week I mulled this over on my way home. Why is it that I’m not finding success in networking? Why is it that I have nothing to talk about and discuss with other business people?  I thought back to a question and answer period that occurred that night and suddenly….I got it.

The question had to do with sexism and ageism in the workplace. And the answer provided was so incredibly sexist and age-ist itself, that I think the answer did more damage than good. I used to think that maybe the older generations in the workforce simply didn’t want to talk to Millennials, but I realized that I don’t want to talk to them!! For the most part, older generations don’t understand the way things are today; the way in which technology plays such an important part in job seeking, the fact that although we may be under 25 we’re probably more highly educated than you,  the fact that we don’t have the “experience” but your unable to get an entry level position without 5+ years of experience. How are we supposed to get ahead with these boundaries set against us?

The suggestion came about that Millennials get out and network more. But who has time for that when you’re working 70+ hours a week and also being told to have a work/life balance? Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job. But I work for an extremely innovative company where I don’t feel a gap between the ages. But the more I start to understand the business environment, the more I realize how far it has to go. It’s 2019 people. If I hear one more time about a company or industry referred to as an “old boys club”, I’m taking up arms.

Women in the workforce needs their voices heard and diverse cultures need their voices heard – we’re not there yet but I see some progress. Now listen to Millennials too!

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