The Stereotypical 20-Something Worker

I recently read an interesting Forbes article titled “The 10 Most Important Lessons for 20-Something Workers.” The article opens with, in my opinion, a rather misleading statement from Meg Jay, Ph.D., a psychologist and author.

“…many 20-somethings believe they have all [the] time in the world and how they spend their 20s doesn’t matter.” The article then proceeds to say that Dr. Jay is urging millennials to “take yourself seriously.”

I would like to directly address these comments, not just for me, but for my friends and coworkers. While some media outlets continue to portray us as lazy – the barnacles of society, the pests of our parents’ basements – I can honestly say that every 20-something I work with is widely talented, professional and, most importantly, dedicated. We believe we can change the world – and why wouldn’t we? Our generation already is (hello, Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest).

Here at Symmetri, my generational peers and I take ourselves and our work seriously every day. We come in early to prep for meetings and stay late to ensure all of the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed (figuratively and sometimes literally). We not only attend, but often lead, strategy meetings for multi-million dollar corporations. We continuously push the envelope: learning new trends, analyzing web data, understanding customer preference, and always asking “Why?” and “What’s next?”

And it goes beyond the tech-savvy knowledge that my generation is known for. It’s the level of professionalism we learned early – because we had to. With the unemployment rate at an almost all-time high, it’s survival of the fittest. My generation has learned to be lean, mean working-machines. We wear multiple hats and handle the transition from project management to strategy development to technical support with ease and a level of maturity beyond our very few years of professional development.

So, Dr. Jay, my comment to you and everyone else who believes the stereotype of a 20-something worker: You need to take us seriously because we already do.

BONUS: Check out the 30 Under 30, Class of 2012. Just remember – ten years ago, most of these CEOs and Founders were barely driving. Pretty impressive.