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29 Lessons Millennials have Learned About Work and Their Careers

“You don’t need to know what you want to do forever. You need to know what you’d like to do NEXT.” As an older millennial, let me tell you: the world of work has changed SO MUCH from what our parents’ advice may have led us to expect. CBC / Via Everything from the…

You don’t have to know what you want to be doing forever. It is important to know where you want to go next. “

As an older millennial, I can tell you that the world of work is so much different than what we were led to believe by our parents.

CBC / Via

Everything, from the tech that we use every day to how we view work/life balance, has fundamentally changed.

So we asked millennials in the BuzzFeed Community to share the biggest career lessons they’ve learned so far. Here’s their response:


” You don’t have to know what you want for the rest of your life. It is important to know where you want to go next. It can be difficult to know what you want to do next. Career planning is about self-awareness and acceptance. You can learn and grow from every aspect of your life, as well as everything you’ve experienced. “

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” Different environments require different responses. Some situations call for advocacy for meaningful changes and standing up to your coworkers (especially if they are discriminated against or face microaggressions). Others, such as small irritations or workplace dramas, should be ignored. “

” There are times when you should leave a job or change your mind if the workplace culture is threatening to your mental well-being. It is hard to find the right balance between when to advocate, ignore, and quit. This is something that takes time. And it is different for everyone. It helped me achieve a better work/life balance once I had it figured out. “



” In my experience, it is important to admit your mistakes to managers and coworkers. You can accept responsibility for your actions and not blame others. This builds trust. My managers have been great friends because I am open to honest communication and don’t pretend to be perfect. I’m human. I make mistakes. I’ll do better next time . “

“Also, don’t engage in workplace drama. It will make your life easier. “



“Experience and ‘who you know” are very important. Do not destroy relationships, despite your desire to. In the future, you may need this annoying person. Don’t give up on your dreams! “


” Keep a record of all the good and bad things that have happened. You will need to give concrete examples of the great things you did in the past year when it is time to review. You don’t have to be able think of examples. It has happened so many times that I have gone back to my list (I keep it as an email draft in my personal account) to find something I did that made a real difference for the company. “

” Same thing when something goes wrong. Another list I keep is a list of coworkers who failed to get things done or did it wrong. A few years back, I had to speak with my boss to discuss a coworker who was constantly missing deadlines. It was very helpful to have specific examples with dates and details. “



” There is no job you’ll ever have that is more important than your family and your health. There were jobs that I felt had to be prioritized over my mother’s dying mother. It doesn’t really matter what you think you will get from it, such as more money or connections within your industry. It is not worth it. Always put your life before your job. Your job is temporary. But your family and your health will be for the rest of you life. “



” They can ask for overtime, but they don’t have to. It is not their fault they didn’t hire properly. Do not feel guilty about following your schedule. “

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“Don’t believe everything you hear about people not moving jobs. It’s only true to a certain extent. Switching companies every three to 4 years will make you more money. You can usually negotiate a better salary with a new company that the raise you get from your current employer. This doesn’t hurt your resume. Probably, the person hiring you has done the exact same. “



” We, as a group, were taught that we could be anyone and do anything we wanted for a career. This is totally wrong. There are only so many presidents, astronauts, and tech gurus that the world needs. These jobs are unlikely to come up for you. Refocusing on your career goals and finding satisfaction in the job that you can do is better for your mental health. “



” I’m an older millennial. My advice to you is to work where the pay is the highest and the best. Always leave on good terms, but if you have to spend 40 hours a week somewhere, you might as well get as much as you can for it. “


“I’ve been in HR for 15 years and here’s my advice — never give your work more than they deserve, ie, working weekends, answering emails after 5 p.m., etc. They will fire you tomorrow if you don’t show loyalty. Work hard, but don’t stop at the end. They get you 40 hours a week, no more. “



“Say you forgot it, then write it. Do not use your company’s phone or laptop for personal purposes. Don’t answer calls or emails after hours. It’s easy to do it once and it will happen more often. “



“I’ve been a recruiter for 10 years and my number one piece of advice to women and minorities is: Negotiate when you get an offer, even when it’s a good one. Our culture has taught us to be grateful, not ask for what we deserve. The pay gap exists. To be comfortable with negotiating a salary, have a conversation with family or friends. Earn what you are worth! “

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” Work-life balance is important. Don’t work your life away. There are many interesting and exciting things you can do, so take the time to see them all. Your body can be seriously damaged by stress and burnout from too many hours. “



“Understand the process of pay and raises in your company. Many companies have strict guidelines about how and when they will promote you to a particular role. My company only promotes people to leadership positions after they have managed others for at least three years. This environment may require you to leave in order to receive a significant increase in pay. If you are able to get a better salary for the same work done at another company, it is not worth staying put for so many years. “



Document and train your team on how to perform your job. Don’t become an indispensable member of your team. You won’t get promoted if you aren’t easily replaceable. “


“Teach your resume to the job that you are interested in, and not the job that you have. You won’t get people to look at your resume for the skills that are relevant to the job you want. “

” If you are leaving your job to start a new one, give yourself a week off so that you don’t burnout. You will likely not be able or comfortable taking time off your current job for at least several months. If you are unable to afford it, it is a good idea to have a few days of rest between each job.

If your industry is kind of small and you plan on sticking with the same kind of employer, do not burn bridges. It’s possible to work with someone else. I am so happy that I quit my previous job on good terms because I was able to work with some of the same people at my new job less then a year later. “



“Having mentors and champions is essential. Mentors can help you move up, move on or get into more exciting work quicker. You need champions to support you in making decisions and when promotions are due. Although mentors and champions may be one person, they don’t necessarily have to be. The more of each, the better! “



” If your employer does not value respect, kindness and consideration, quit that job. Yesterday, my boss was rude and obtuse. Value your peace over EVERYTHING, even money. “

Three Spots / Getty Images/iStockphoto


“Don’t be afraid asking for a raise. Although it can be uncomfortable to discuss, no one will advocate for your cause as strongly as you. Just last month I had a sit-d

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