With the rise of the Millennial generation, the “S” word no longer means what it used to in the past. And by “S” I mean success. Simply put, success generally refers to being accomplished or reaching a level of achievement. However, the perception of success changes from person to person and depends on the given situation. Our personal definition evolves as we pass through different stages of life. For some people, being successful means owning the biggest house with the fanciest car visibly parked outside; for others, it could be represented by an acceptance letter into medical school, travelling somewhere new, or something as simple as receiving a C- in a statistics class.

Generational differences also influence viewing success from alternative angles. Since the majority of professionals in the research industry are Generation Xers or Baby Boomers, it’s important to recognize that they think differently about success than Millennials. When profiling Millennials, it’s essential to remember that they measure their degree of success through their level of happiness. Rather than considering a great career as the epitome of success, Millennials invest more importance toward their experiences and relationships. Experiences are what make Millennials feel successful. For previous generations, the desire to reach a high paying position of authority was the primary path to success. The Huffington Post talks about how the ladder to success used to be a “good job→marriage→house→family→cushy retirement.” But Millennials are less likely to own a home, are more likely to get married later in life and have an evolving definition on what a good job is. From a Millennial’s perspective, defining a successful career could be a job that enables their independence, allows them to balance their time and cultivate meaningful relationships and experiences. Tapping into what helps them feel successful and honing in on their values will help Baby Boomer and Generation X employers better understand the needs of their Millennial employees and cultivate a workplace built to succeed.

For example, when Glamour interviewed Ivanka Trump, a 33-year old Millennial, regarding her thoughts about success, she said, “I know plenty of people who are outwardly highly successful and inwardly miserable—and to me that is not success, that’s the opposite of it. Success is setting goals that feel true to who you are, not to what others expect of you.” Allowing Millennials to create goals that feel true to who they are will aid them in defining their own path to success and unleash their potential.



Post by Camilla

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The “S” Word

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