While ageism can work in your favor, it can also work against you, especially if your attitude confirms the GenY negative stereotypes.
If you’re a recent college graduate, take a look at this attitude adjustment checklist so you don’t make a big mistake that could hold you back—or even get you fired.
1. The boss, customer or coworker is always right, even when they’re wrong
You’re paid to show up on time, perform a service and generally be pleasant. If something you don’t like happens in the workplace, you’re entitled to your opinion and to discuss it with your supervisor in a one-on-one meeting and have it resolved.
But you’re not entitled to cop an attitude, shoot out passive-aggressive tweets and emails about it or stop working hard to “show everyone.”
Stay classy at all times. Even when someone is screamingly, grossly or inappropriately wrong. Just stay classy. Do what you can, leave the room and follow up with your supervisor for an appropriate course of action.
2. The place for personal technology is not your desk
Cell phones and personal technology items are everywhere. Even if you have a lax office environment, you don’t have a free license to text, tweet and SnapChat through your day’s work. (Unless you work as the social media expert at Zappos or Hootsuite, of course.)
Appropriate access means checking your phone for important messages every few hours or having your phone in your pocket (without your hands on it). Carrying on active conversations or missing deadlines due to smartphone hijinks means you’re in for an uncomfortable conversation.
3. You’re not the universe’s gift to your employer
If you believe your workplace is lucky to have you, you may be in need of an attitude adjustment. Employment is a pleasant arrangement of partnership between two benefiting parties, and if you do it right, you can get a lot out of it.
Your employer makes an income based on your work (translation: even if you’re amazing at what you do, you can be replaced), and you make a reliable income from your employer (translation: even if the job is awesome, you can find a new one).
Luck or emotional attachment shouldn’t factor into this situation. To think you’re gracing the workplace with your presence—and therefore it’s okay to take a long lunch, show up late frequently or cop an attitude about common practices—means you may not be adjusting well.
4. Work isn’t an “if I show up, I’m good” proposition (Click to Tweet!)
When you show up to work, it shouldn’t be obvious you stayed up til 3:00 a.m drinking with friends or driving back from the nearest large city. Sliding into your desk on time at 9:00 a.m., hung over and barely groomed, doesn’t cut it in a professional workplace.
If you’re receiving a regular paycheck, eat regular meals and sleep regular hours—at least during the workweek—so you can bring your A-game at all times.
5. Work isn’t a whim
In this increasingly digital and mobile world, the workplace is often more flexible and casual. But with great flexibility comes great responsibility. Just because you can do something at home doesn’t entitle you to do it at home.
And not having meetings lined up for the morning doesn’t mean you can ask your boss to let you roll in late just because. For every favor you ask, you’re using up your professional “bank”—make sure it’s worth it.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the attitude-challenged? Do you think this behavior is unique to 20-somethings, or is it a workplace epidemic?
Sarah Greesonbach is a former teacher turned content and new media specialist who blogs at Life [Comma] Etc about simple food, better relationships and more money for everyone. If you want more of any of that, connect with her on Twitter @AwYeahSarah or see what she’s up to at Greesonbach Creative.