How Millennial Workers Can Avoid "Rookie Mistakes" at Their First Job

Looking for a job is stressful enough, but what happens once you get it? The NOBL team was invited to speak at California State University Long Beach in March 2016 to give our two cents on “How To Survive Your First Job.” We met with rising college seniors—i.e.,  the future Millennial workforce—who were actively applying to their first jobs in “the real world." In particular, the incoming workforce had one burning question: What are some rookie mistakes that new employees make at their first jobs? The root of this issue, though, is that any and all rookie mistakes stem from a lack of communication, and can be solved with overcommunication. Often times, new hires sprint off in the wrong direction and pour hours into a deliverable or project, only to be told days later that their manager wanted something else. Between the time lost and resources wasted, it’s painful for both parties.

To prevent this from happening, over-communicate: Millennial workers should set up frequent touchpoints with their managers to eliminate any guesswork about what they should be working on.

How to Over-Communicate with Your Boss

  1. Think "Status Mondays" and "Ship Fridays." Start your Mondays gathering priorities from your manager and team—this will probably happen during your team's weekly status meetings. Then, on Fridays, send updates or outputs. For example, on Monday, ask, “What are the priorities for the week?” On Friday, share, “These are the tasks I knocked out this week,” or “This is what prevented me from doing my best work.”
  2. Check in weekly. Schedule weekly one-on-one check-ins with your manager focused on the priorities for the week, and how you can best use your strengths for the tasks at hand. Check-ins with your boss are also the best time to ask candid questions. For instance, “What’s the process for …?” or “I just want to make sure I understand it clearly; can you explain how our strategy applies here?”
  3. Touch base daily. Send daily Slack messages updating your manager on any progress made that day. This might sound like: “Just over-communicating here: today I knocked out..." or, “Trying to get up to speed with the team here: what would be the best use of my time this week?”

Takeaway: Whether you're new to the workforce or managing Millennials, establishing a habit of over-communication can prevent errors.

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