Online, All the TimeThe Millennials are the uber-connected generation. “They were raised on the Internet and devices,” noted Alice Ain Rich, a career coach and corporate employment consultant in Boston. “You’ll have to text, you’ll have to communicate electronically, or communication won’t happen.” This can lead to some uncomfortable situations. While you might be used to dealing with certain issues face-to-face—project updates, say, or even resolving conflicts between team members—your new boss may prefer to tackle those subjects by email or Skype. Whereas before, you may have provided project updates in status meetings, now you may have to put it all in a single slide.
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The Uncomfortable TruthFor some people, reporting to a younger boss can be ego-shattering. In such situations, anger and resentment are natural emotions, but you have to overcome them if you’re going to continue to succeed. “As difficult as it is, you have to check your ego at the door,” said Rich. Though you should “remember that you still have a lot of knowledge,” don’t assume the manager doesn’t have the right skills, too. “The manager was made a manager because they bring something to the table.” Keep your discussions—however you have them—on-point and focused. For example, you might be tempted to spotlight the depth of your knowledge by discussing the theory behind a programming language. Don’t do it. Like any other boss, Millennial managers are pressed for time and need immediate information related to the tasks they have in front of them.
Keeping CurrentStaying up-to-date has always been a key to success in IT, but working for a Millennial gives the idea of “current” new meaning. To communicate effectively, you need to know what’s going on not only in technology, but in culture as well. This is all about speaking your boss’s language. Whether you’re a Gen Xer or a Baby Boomer, avoid the trap of isolating yourself with others of your own age. As Rich puts it, “You have to take the time to know what ‘trending’ means.” A Millennial boss has the same concerns your other managers had, but their approach to directing the team is going to differ. For many tech professionals, working for them will mean jumping into a new world of texting and Skype, of more communications on the fly. Learn how they operate and reach out using the methods they understand. That way, you’ll develop the relationship and the visibility you need to keep your own career moving forward.
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