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8 Reasons Millennials Seem To Be Lazy At Work

8 Reasons Millennials Seem To Be Lazy At Work

Millennials are challenging the traditional notion of work. As they become the largest fraction of the U.S. workforce, more and more businesses are struggling with the demands and work ethics of Gen Y employees. If you are struggling to understand their needs and find ways to engage with them, here are eight reasons why you might be failing and think of the whole generation as lazy and non-work driven, while the reality is quite the opposite.

1. They no longer value the traditional workplace rules

Strict dress code? Fines for being late for 10 minutes? Meetings for the sake of meetings? Millennials no longer deem such things important and often fail to compile with out-dated rules. They will not work for a company where certain things are done because “it’s always been done that way.” This generation has often been called the generation of tinkerers and shortcut-takers. They don’t want to get things done “just because.” They want to get tasks done in the most efficient, least time-consuming way possible and squeeze out the max results.

Next time you think a 20-something employee is just being lazy, have a closer look at his productivity time. He might just have written a simple code to do copy-pasting for him and now enjoys longer lunches while the job is still being done by itself.

2. They believe in life, not work-life balance

Work is not everything millennials want in life. They would like to have time for their friends, family, hobbies, and other small pleasures and pastimes. They work to live, not live to work. That’s why the concept of lifestyle business gained so much popularity in the last decade among these folks. Millennials want to combine their passion with profit and work long hours on projects they feel passionate about, rather than helping someone else reach their profit benchmark.

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In fact, think about this the next time you are nagging a millennial about why they don’t get a real job and how they should stop wasting their time shooting makeup videos or hunting for stuff around flea markets to sell it on Ebay or Etsy: These young and extremely successful entrepreneurs built their business around their lifestyle:

  • Michelle Phan started as a makeup blogger and YouTuber and now owns a company with an expected revenue of $120 million in 2015.
  • Tim Ferriss is a living legend, a highly successful author best known for “The 4 Hour Workweek,” and a serial entrepreneur, having launched a series of profitable businesses revolving around his hobbies.
  • James Khezrie launched his first menswear store Jimmy Jazz in Brooklyn that has now become a popular nationwide chain and an online store. He was fueled by his love for fashion and good music.
  • Marie Forleo is an extremely successful business coach running an award-winning show, “Marie TV,” and premium training program, B-School where she teaches how anyone can create the life and business they love, while earning a few thousand dollars per year.

3. They don’t want to be just another cog in the wheel

Yes, millennials have been bashed as “the entitled generation” too many times. Yet the reason for this is that millennials are not seeking a life-long career to pay the bills. They want a job with a purpose and to do something meaningful in life. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, six out of 10 respondents said a sense of purpose was the main reason why they chose to work for a certain company.

On the other hand, most companies don’t provide their young employees with the desired setting as 28 percent of respondents from the same survey admitted they feel that their current employer is making full use of their skills.

If you want to keep your millennial workforce content and productive, your company should focus on empowering workers and explaining to them why they should care, stressing how each team member contributes to the overall success, and praise more individual efforts rather than team accomplishments or managers only.

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4. They value intangible work benefits more

A millennial job seeker is armed with technology and the Internet. They can get to know all the tiny details about your company, including reviews from former and current employers, before committing to the job. They no longer want just a desk, fixed-working hours, pension plan, and annual bonuses like other generations did.

They are more attracted by intangible benefits like a friendly work culture, a lack of micromanagement and bureaucracy, sabbaticals, and more, along with some more palpable perks like a cool office space, permission to bring pets to work, or wellness benefits. There are numerous low-cost perks a company can offer employees to keep them content, loyal, and motivated, other than lucrative salary.

5. They are used to being flexible and doing things on the go

Millennials are used to answering emails, making calls, and solving problems on the go. That’s why they don’t feel the need to be anchored to their desk during traditional work hours. Why should anyone spend eight hours in front of the desk when they are already done with their daily plan and can answer a few late emails from the nearby coffee shop? They just don’t get why people get paid for simply showing up unless the job requires their physical presence.

This generation does not want to repeat the mistakes of their parents who spent over 60 hours per week at work; instead they want it all — a successful career and the life outside the cubicle. Being tech savvy, they have the ability to set up their office anywhere and work at their own flexible hours, while accomplishing even more compared to their peers stuck in the office.

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6. They are autonomous

Most of them learned to type and use Google earlier than they started writing properly. Millennials know how and where to find information they need and often take advantage of free online learning tools out there to gain lacking skills. Besides, they grew up hearing stories about 20-something tech entrepreneurs launching their multi-billion companies from a dorm. These stories help ambitious millennial workers feel like they have the ability to be successful too.

Young executives today don’t want to be micromanaged and preached to; they want to be actively involved in the decision-making process and don’t get why their voice doesn’t count. If your company seeks innovation and the urge to progress and develop further, let them speak and act. Allowing even the most junior person on the team to share an idea about the product can bring huge positive impact.

7. They want transparency

Millennial workers don’t merely nod and do as they are told by the manager, unless they see and understand the logics behind the decision. They don’t want to waste their time on things reasoned with “I’m the boss, I know better”. They want to know the “why” behind most important decisions made. .” They want to know why important are decisions made. They may not always agree with them, but they’ll appreciate the candidness.

8. They want to learn from experience

Most millennials are rather ambitious and won’t be satisfied with working as a middle manager for the rest of their days. They crave new knowledge and first-hand experience. They are focused on personal growth, and unlike older generations they don’t think their education is done the day they have graduated from college. In fact, they are often life-long learners. They opt for courses and training based on real-life experience, rather than pursuing another degree, certification, or diploma to hang in their office.

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Allow your Gen Y workforce to spend time on mastering new skills, watching courses, or listening to podcasts. In fact, encourage them and set up a tuition-reimbursement fund, occasionally invite speakers to your office, and send your employees to training sessions and workshops.

Featured photo credit: Sara Cimino via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 11, 2020

Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It)

Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It)

Nobody enjoys failing. Fear of failure can be so strong that avoiding failure eclipses the motivation to succeed. Insecurity about doing things incorrectly causes many people to unconsciously sabotage their chances for success.

Fear is part of human nature. As an entrepreneur, I faced this same fear. At times, I forgot that who I was wasn’t what I did. My ego and identity became intertwined with my work, and when things didn’t go as planned, I completely shut down. I overcame this unhealthy relationship with fear, and I believe that you can too.

Together we’ll examine how you can use failure to your advantage instead of letting it run your life. We’ll look at what a fear of failure is, where it comes from, and how to overcome it so that you can enjoy success in your work and life.

What Is Fear of Failure?

Fear causes you to avoid potentially harmful situations. Fear of failure keeps you from trying, creates self-doubt, stalls progress, and may lead you to go against your morals.

What causes fear of failure? Here are the main reasons why fear of failure exists:

  • Patterns from childhood – Hyper-critical adults cause children to internalize damaging mindsets.[1] They establish ultimatums and fear-based rules.This causes children to feel the constant need to ask for permission and reassurance. They carry this need for validation into adulthood.
  • Perfectionism – Perfectionism is often at the root of fear of failure.[2] For perfectionists, failure is so terrible and humiliating that they don’t try. Stepping outside your comfort zone becomes terrifying.
  • Over-personalization – The ego may lead us to over-identify with failures. It’s hard to look beyond failure at things like the quality of the effort, extenuating circumstances, or growth opportunities.[3]
  • False self-confidence – People with true confidence know they won’t always succeed. A person with fragile self-confidence avoids risks. They’d rather play it safe than try something new.[4]

How the Fear of Failure Destroys Success

Unhealthy Organization Culture

Too many organizations today have cultures of perfection: a set of organizational beliefs that any failure is unacceptable. Only pure, untainted success will do.

Imagine the stress and terror in an organization like that. The constant covering up of the smallest blemishes. The wild finger-pointing as everyone tries to shift the blame for the inevitable cock-ups and messes onto someone else. The rapid turnover as people rise high, then fall abruptly from grace. The lying, cheating, falsification of data, and hiding of problems—until they become crises that defy being hidden any longer.

Miss out Valuable Opportunities

If some people fail to reach a complete answer because of the lure of some early success, many more fail because of their ego-driven commitment to what worked in the past. You often see this with senior people, especially those who made their names by introducing some critical change years ago. They shy away from further innovation, afraid that this time they might fail, diminishing the luster they try to keep around their names from past triumph.

Besides, they reason, the success of something new might even prove that those achievements they made in the past weren’t so great after all. Why take the risk when you can hang on to your reputation by doing nothing?

Such people are so deeply invested in their egos and the glories of their past that they prefer to set aside opportunities for future glory rather than risk even the possibility of failure.

High Achievers Become Losers

Every talent contains an opposite that sometimes makes it into a handicap. Successful people like to win and achieve high standards. This can make them so terrified of failure it ruins their lives. When a positive trait, like achievement, becomes too strong in someone’s life, it’s on the way to becoming a major handicap.

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Achievement is a powerful value for many successful people. They’ve built their lives on it. They achieve at everything they do: school, college, sports, the arts, hobbies, work. Each fresh achievement adds to the power of the value in their lives.

Gradually, failure becomes unthinkable. Maybe they’ve never failed yet in anything that they’ve done, so have no experience of rising above it. Failure becomes the supreme nightmare: a frightful horror they must avoid at any cost.

The simplest way to do this is never to take a risk, stick rigidly to what you know you can do, protect your butt, work the longest hours, double and triple check everything and be the most conscientious and conservative person in the universe.

If constant hard work, diligence, brutal working schedules and harrying subordinates won’t ward off the possibility of failing, use every other possible means to to keep it away. Falsify numbers, hide anything negative, conceal errors, avoid customer feedback, constantly shift the blame for errors onto anyone too weak to fight back.

The problems with ethical standards in major US corporations has, I believe, more to do with fear of failure among long-term high achievers than any criminal intent. Many of those guys at Enron and Arthur Andersen were supreme high-fliers, basking in the flattery of the media. Failure was an impossible prospect, worth doing just about anything to avoid.

Loss of Creativity

Over-achievers destroy their own peace of mind and the lives of those who work for them. People too attached to “goodness” and morality become self-righteous bigots. Those whose values for building close relationships become unbalanced slide into smothering their friends and family with constant expressions of affection and demands for love in return.

Everyone likes to succeed. The problem comes when fear of failure is dominant. When you can no longer accept the inevitability of making mistakes, nor recognize the importance of trial and error in finding the best and most creative solution.

The more creative you are, the more errors you are going to make. Get used to it. Deciding to avoid the errors will destroy your creativity too.

Balance counts more than you think. Some tartness must season the sweetest dish. A little selfishness is valuable even in the most caring person. And a little failure is essential to preserve everyone’s perspective on success.

We hear a lot about being positive. Maybe we also need to recognize that the negative parts of our lives and experience have just as important a role to play in finding success, in work and in life.

How to Conquer the Fear of Failure (A Step-By-Step Guide)

1. Figure out Where the Fear Comes From

Ask yourself what the root cause of your negative belief could be.[5] When you look at the four main causes for a fear of failure, which ones resonate with you?

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Write down where you think the fear comes from and try to understand it as an outsider.

If it helps, imagine you’re trying to help one of your best friends. Perhaps your fear stems from something that happened in your childhood, or a deep-seated insecurity.

Naming the source of the fear takes away some of its power.

2. Re-Frame Beliefs About Your Goal

Having an all or nothing mentality leaves you with nothing sometimes. Have a clear vision for what you’d like to accomplish but include learning something new in your goal.

If you always aim for improvement and learning, you are much less likely to fail.[6]

At Pixar, people are actually encouraged to “fail early and fail fast.”[7] They encourage experimentation and innovation so that they can stay on the cutting edge. That mindset involves failure, but as long as they achieve their vision of telling great stories, all the stumbling blocks are just opportunities to grow.

3. Learn to Think Positively

In many cases, you believe what you tell yourself. Your internal dialogue affects how you react and behave.

Our society is obsessed with success, but it’s important to recognize that even the most successful people encounter failure.

Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper because they thought he lacked creativity. He went on to found an animation studio that failed. He never gave up, and now Disney is a household name.

Steve Jobs was also once fired from Apple before returning as the face of the company for many years. [8]

If Disney and Jobs believed the negative feedback, they wouldn’t have made it.

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It’s up to you to notice your negative self talk and identify triggers. Replace negative thoughts with positive facts about yourself and the situation. You’ll be able to create a new mental scripts that you can reach for when you feel negativity creeping in. The voice inside your head has a great effect on what you do.

4. Visualize all Potential Outcomes

Uncertainty about what will happen next is terrifying. Take time to visualize the possible outcomes of your decision. Think about the best and worst-case scenarios. You’ll feel better if you’ve already had a chance to mentally prepare for what could happen.

Fear of the unknown might keep you from taking a new job. Weigh the pros and cons, and imagine potential successes and failures in making such a life-altering decision. Knowing how things could turn out might help you get unstuck.

5. Look at the Worst-Case Scenario

There are times when the worst case could be absolutely devastating. In many cases, if something bad happens, it won’t be the end of the world.

It’s important to define how bad the worst case scenario is in the grand scheme of your life. Sometimes, we give situations more power than they deserve. In most cases, a failure is not permanent.[9]

For example, when you start a new business, there’s bound to be a learning curve. You’ll make decisions that don’t pan out, but often that discomfort is temporary. You can change your strategy and rebound. Even in the worst case scenario, if the perceived failure led to the end of that business, it might be the launching point for something new.

6. Have a Backup Plan

It never hurts to have a backup plan. The last thing you want to do is scramble for a solution when the worst has happened. The old adage is solid wisdom:

“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

Having a backup plan gives you more confidence to move forward and take calculated risks.

Perhaps you’ve applied for a grant to fund an initiative at work. In the worst-case scenario, if you don’t get the grant, are there other ways you could get the funds?

There are usually multiple ways to tackle a problem, so having a backup is a great way to reduce anxiety about possible failure.

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7. Learn from Whatever Happens

Things may not go the way you planned, but that doesn’t automatically mean you’ve failed. Learn from whatever arises.[10] Even a less than ideal situation can be a great opportunity to make changes and grow.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”

Ask yourself:

  • What did I learn?
  • How can I grow from this?
  • Did anything positive come from this situation?

Dig deep enough, and you’re bound to find the silver lining. When you’ve learned that “failure” is an opportunity for growth instead of a death sentence, you conquer the fear of failure.

Final Thoughts

Together we’ve learned what fear of failure is, and how it can have a crippling effect on our ability to achieve. This fear often stems from childhood, perfectionism, ego and over-personalization, and a lack of confidence.

Luckily for us, there are plenty of ways to tackle this fear. We can start by figuring out where it comes from and re-framing the way we feel about failure. When failure is a chance for growth, and you’ve looked at all possible outcomes, it’s easier to overcome fear.

Stay positive, have a backup plan, and learn from whatever happens. Your failures will be sources of education and inspiration rather than humiliation.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Failures can be blessings in disguise.

Go boldly in the direction of your dreams and goals. Don’t allow fear to stand in your way.

More About Conquering Fear

Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

Reference

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