An 8-point letter to young people | Workplace tips

As the future of the world – Millennials and Gen Z – resume at the workplace, it is important they do not carry over the mistakes of the last year, and the ones even millennials are already making.


Social media has been tagged the ‘safest’ place for young people to vent or brag. A lot of people use social platforms to talk about fights, office politicking, and so on. One of the knocks against Generation Y is that they have been encouraged to believe that everything they say and think is interesting should be aired and shared. But, you do not really need to go to Twitter every time something negative takes place at the office.

Though it would be unreasonable to ask young people to stay off social media, we should learn to use social platforms appropriately. Periodically sharing bits of personal information is valuable because it humanizes you, lets others know what kind of person you are, and facilitates socialisation and trust-building. But oversharing in the workplace just makes you annoying and immature.

Oversharing - workplace

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Saying goodbye at 5 p.m

The pandemic has changed modern workplace functions. Many workers now value flexibility in their jobs and consider creating an effective work-life balance – no wonder ‘work from home’ has become a prioritised conversation. Work-life balance is important, however, it is important we don’t continue the ‘clocking out at 5 pm’ habit. That habit interpretes as having a lack of passion for the job. Maybe you could stay a little over 5 pm, like 10 minutes, just to show that your eyes have not been glued to the clock to bolt out of the building, instead of the work.

Not recognising who the boss is

In cultures like Nigeria, there is a heightened sense of entitlement and that is slowly creeping on from millennials to Gen Z. This is mixed with over-confidence and makes many workers believe they are higher up in the office than they actually are – something unattractive to superiors. Young people are sometimes indifferent to pre-existing hierarchies and credentials, and sometimes even hostile to them.

To ensure young people do not make the same mistake in the workplace, they need to make it a point to recognise who the boss is at work. Even in the most laid-back work environment, superiors need to be treated with respect. Listen when they give you advice, take their critiques with a smile and never speak over them or act as if you have more power than they do.

Unprofessional communication

This is becoming more common than can be tolerated. And, it is justified with the use of the word ‘wokeness’. Both Millennials and Generation Z have grown up with email and social media at their fingertips, so it’s understandable that they tend to have sub-par communication skills. No doubt, electronic communication comes in handy, but professionalism is the conversation here.

Young people rely on emails and texts as opposed to physical communication, which is good, but they need to avoid abbreviations or acronyms, using appropriate greetings and salutations and know when to make a call than send an email.

Taking things personally

You take things personally when your idea isn’t selected. We have all been there. We know stories of people – or ourselves – who get highly disappointed because a project is not liked by management. The reality is, most of the time it’s not a personal attack on you. Maybe there wasn’t enough budget. Maybe you’re needed to focus on different tasks and need to relinquish your old ones. When you start to take it personally, everything can feel as if you have a target on your back.

Being a perfectionist

Perfection is impossible. But many young do not want to understand this. Young workers spend so much time on projects, sometimes asking for extended deadlines in an attempt to make the work perfect and please the boss. Those who have even 30 days working experience know that the reverse is usually the case. Team Leads want high-quality work, of course, but they also want productivity, quick turnarounds, and efficiency. Young people need to learn how to find a balance between perfectionism and productiveness.

Trying to befriend everyone

You cannot be friends with everyone at work. Possibly, no one at all. Young people think this makes the work impossible to do and when the other shows no sign of becoming friends, some kind of mental analysis begins, and sadness sets in. Then, the work suffers unnecessarily. Young people should stop thinking that friendship makes work easier to do. You just need to exchange basic pleasantries, discuss the task(s) for the day and go on. What to do with all those friends?

Not thinking big picture 

When you are new to a company, this mistake can be easy to make. You are busy trying to learn the ropes of your role and it can feel like there is 0 time to think big picture. But pay attention to those All Hands with executive level management – they’ll share their goals for the year. Try to align your goals with theirs.

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