This Wednesday, November 7th, from 5:30pm to around 7pm, we will be hosting our Millennials Who Work (For Themselves) meetup at Growler USA (upstairs) located at 314 S. Blount St in downtown Raleigh (City Market).
We will be reconnecting after summer break to network and talk about business. So, if you are a small business owner or thinking about starting your own business come out to Growler USA this Wednesday.
The Emoji Attorney & Other Thoughts
If you had to draw a picture of an attorney, what would it look like? How does your drawing of a male attorney compare to the drawing of a female attorney? I love emojis - I admit it. Many articles coming out of academia are suggesting emoji's may develop into a new language altogether and may change our written communication from less like a novel to more like a comic book. While it's easy to express happiness with :-) and sadness with :-(, how do you express a more complex idea or concept like a profession? These are the new contemplations we are all facing and regardless of who we blame for the rise of emojis (cough cough *Millennials* cough cough), we need to start getting used to the idea that words+graphic=communication.
Google recently developed emojis depicting "professional women." Currently, you can find some male-specific professions but all the female emojis seem to be focused on wearing crowns, painting nails, and cutting hair. #equalityfail As much as I would love to see more accurate depictions of women as professionals, I have to wonder what a female lawyer looks like. I also have to wonder why emojis are insistent on drawing gender-specific lines in a world that is (hopefully) moving closer to gender equality. In other words, why does the female lawyer emoji need to look different from the male lawyer emoji? Can't we both just be the scales of justice?
As a female attorney, I still notice the saturation of male partners and attorneys in North Carolina (and generally, nationwide). Right now, all my opposing counsels happen to be male, and in the past year, I've only encountered one female attorney on the other side. Being a lawyer appears to be more and more of a "boy's club" despite most law schools graduating about 50% female attorneys-to-be.
I suppose with my exposure being limited to almost entirely male opposing counsels (and a male partner), my concept of what the female lawyer emoji should look like is, well, me and the handful of female attorney mentors that surround me. That means this new emoji is going to be an intelligent, witty, powerful, and kind emoji. How do you illustrate these characteristics? This is a problem that Google probably cannot solve. That solution must come from us.
How to Make Millennials Like You, Part 4 :-) The #Millennial with the Dragon Tattoo (and why it doesn't matter)
Why Communication is Key (and may require #texting)
We're back by popular demand! #ihavebeenreallybusy Our apologies for the delay in your favorite #LawBlog!
Today I'm going to write about one of the most talked about topics when it comes to Millennials in the workplace: COMMUNICATION. (dun, dun, dun....)
I recently taught a really great class through ECU CMGT that was divided into students and professionals. It was a boring legal seminar where we only talked about two cool things: (1) drones and (2) Millennials. When I added the Millennial section to my HR presentation, I was worried that people would give me The Glare. For anyone who has not taught before, The Glare is the look people give you when they feel like you are wasting their time or otherwise ruining their day. For anyone who has taught a legal seminar, you pretty much get The Glare the entire time you talk. Regardless of this imminent threat, I added the Millennial section anyway and as a compromise so this entire section wasn't just about me venting about things, I focused the section on paid leave as a recruiting tool for Millennials. Shockingly, I didn't receive a single Glare from anyone. In fact, this part of the presentation sparked some of the most interest and questions and made me realize that I, the quintessential Millennial, had in fact done something right. #selfhighfive
One of the greatest topics discussed at this class was communication and how to preserve interpersonal communication in a world where we only seem to text, instant message, chat on Facebook, etc AND how this common concern plays out in the workplace. To jump start this post, I ask one simple question: What is interpersonal communication?
While an undergrad at UNC, I actually studied Interpersonal Organizational Communication Studies as one of my majors. If you are a Duke or NC State fan you can go ahead and stop laughing (b/c I never had a "paper class"). Everyone made fun of this major. The comments I received from people were rarely positive but more like: "You're learning to talk?!" "Don't you already know how to communicate?" "How will you ever find a job?!" HAHA! Not. Considering communication and how we communicate is one of the biggest topics surrounding Millennials, the joke is on all the #haters because I learned to define "communication" based on the value of the exchange and not so much by its mechanics.
FOR EXAMPLE: Professional Poker players have excellent non-verbal communication skills. They can play the "poker face" and cause their opponents to fold. Is resting "you-know-what face" a valid form of communication? Sure - considering it did exactly what the player wanted it to do.
FOR EXAMPLE AGAIN: I text my law partner and ask him to get our mail. He gets the mail. Success! That text was a form of communication. #10-4
FOR EXAMPLE AGAIN AGAIN: I email a client and ask for documents. Client sends documents. #Winning
JUST FOR FUN: I text my spouse a bunch of cat emojis while on a run and when I get home, he has hidden my car keys. He clearly got the message that I wanted to bring home a bunch of stray cats encountered on my run. #boom #messagereceived
See where I am going with this?
We are facing a reality where they are more options to communicate with others than there have ever been before. Due to this plethora of communication types, we are more connected with one another than we have ever been in the past. Before texting, we had email. Before email, we had phones. Before phones we had telegraphs and before that, letters. Before letters we had a face-to-face communication. Interestingly enough, when the phone was invented, it was lauded as one of the greatest inventions of it's time. When texting became a recognized form of communication about 15 years ago, it was seen as a social demise by the adults and one of the easiest ways to communicate with friends while in a classroom by the youngsters. Alas, here we are with the #GreatDivide and I haven't even discussed the rise of Emojis...
I give you this extended background to point out that text messaging, as odd as it may be, is still communication. Because this is fact, not fiction, non-Millennials are going to have to learn how to deal with a generation of texting and emails as opposed to telephone and in-person conversations.
The caveat to this general rule: you tell the Millennials otherwise. It's a shocking concept but for the Employers dealing with this Millennial issue, consider telling Millennials you prefer they call or talk in-person as opposed to text messaging or another alternative (albeit equally useful) form of communication. We're not all idiots so we tend to respect our authority in the same way we listen to the airline attendants: we don't want to lose our coveted jobs just like we don't want to crash a plane. If you get lip from some cocky Millennial (looking at you 15-20 year olds), then you hopefully have policies and procedures in place that would permit you to pass down some discipline. If they don't want to work with you after that, then let them rejoin the unemployment line. However, you cannot expect your Millennial employees to forgo from texting their boss if their boss is texting them so the conversation needs to go both ways and apply across the board to avoid confusion.
In other words, don't yell at me for poor communication if you haven't communicated your expectations to me first. After all, you said it yourself that communication is key!
#OVERQUALIFICATION (And why it's a moot point)
Picture this: You just graduated from college and its *literally* the best day of your life. Your family is so proud and you just posted 1,000 photos to your Facebook page so all your friends who had to take a victory lap can see what they missed. Then the worst question of all time comes up at your celebratory dinner: "DO YOU HAVE A JOB?" No, Random Family Member, no I do not. #whywouldyouaskthat
A lot of Millennials share the above story. Graduated during a recession - check. Unable to find employment post graduation- check. Living in parents basement (which many older people think we love to do) - check. So what do you do? What advice were we given by college and career counselors? STAY IN SCHOOL! GET A MASTERS DEGREE! GO TO LAW SCHOOL! Then $100K of student debt later, you are told you're OVER-QUALIFIED for pretty much every job you apply for. :-( :-( :-(
In some cases, the term "over-qualified" may be an honest analysis that the candidate's knowledge and experience simply doesn't fit the needs of the job. However, "over-qualification" is also another way of telling someone "I'm unwilling to pay you what the letters after your name say you're worth." It's also a way of saying "your skill set may be too advanced for this position" (a.k.a. "you may be smarter than me and one day take my job.") It depends on the context, but it appears this term is a bit overused nowadays and is quite frankly a moot point in today's economy. Here is why:
(1) Shockingly, Millennials are not all idiots.
Grad school doesn't always mean more $$$$; experience means more $$$$. Most Millennials recognize the fact that even with an advanced degree, its really experience that gets you big money. So if I am fresh out of grad school and have never worked a real-world job, I'm probably not interviewing under the assumption I will start at a company for $100K+ a year. I probably just want a job so I can move out of my parents' house and make a few unsubstantial payments on my student loans. We're also damn good creative problem solvers thanks to 20+ years of education (see below).
(2) A lot of Millennials didn't even want to go to grad school but were told (maybe by you) that it was the appropriate route to take.
Most Millennials didn't ask to be an over-qualified, unemployed adult. Just because a lot of us have an advanced degree doesn't mean we can't get creative with our respective career paths. We may actually be very qualified for the job but you will never know that until you take the resumes seriously and invite Millennials for an interview. For example, due the the flux of lawyers in recent years, many J.D.s are actively pursuing alternative careers in education, business, and consulting. Law school may not teach students how to run A/R reports but it teaches critical thinking, which last time I checked is paramount to any career. My guess is the same is probably true for other grad degrees so keep this in mind.
Bottom line: Millennials have some pretty cool skill sets that are surprisingly versatile for a lot of different careers - you just have to get past the M.A.'s, MBA's, and J.D.'s and realize not everyone wants to pursue a career in their field of education.
.... And if you don't give us jobs, eventually we will start our own companies and put yours out of business. #omgburn <insert evil smile emoticon here>.
One of the fastest growing concerns for a lot of industries is dealing with a lack of skilled labor. For industries like Construction, the availability of trained and willing workers has been on the decline and, according to recent economic reports, is possibly the single biggest factor inhibiting economic growth. If you ask the average 50+ person, this decline in workforce is due to the so-called "Millennials" being unwilling to "do the hard stuff," instead opting to super cushy jobs at silicon valley-wannabe companies where there is a foosball table in the break room. Kids these days....
However, (shockingly) a lot of experts and surveys have chimed in and what employers are witnessing isn't necessarily a generation of gamers who sleep until noon and only communicate via text and emoticons. Instead, this generation now entering the workforce has a new set of priorities and values that they want to see reflected in their careers. In addition to that argument, the current workforce is also dealing with the fact that a lot of Millennials went to college, grad school and beyond, rendering them "over-qualified" for certain jobs and unskilled for the jobs that are actually available (think: construction).
So how does an employer attract a generation of over-educated, emoticon-using misfits that end every sentence with a #hashtag? It's all about recruiting and the overall package that is "The Job" (read: #TheJob). In this multi-part blog series cleverly titled "How to Make Millennials Like You," I will go over some thoughts and considerations that may help recruit the younger workforce such as: Paid Leave, Retention & Training (a.k.a. Investing in Employees), and the infamous HR topic "work-life balance."
Yes, this may be more of an editorial with some helpful links and knowledge but as a narcissistic #Millennial myself, I feel it is my job to educate the masses on my self-serving thoughts. Believe me, if I could insert emoticons all over this post and text it to people, I would.
Sarcasm aside, did you know our Firm provides HR Consulting services at an easy-to-swallow price?! <insert happy emoticons here> !!