5 Things to Avoid If You’re a Millennial in the Workplace

millennial in the workplaceThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 46 percent of the labor force will be comprised of people born after 1980, also known as millennials, within five years.

That means you, your kids, your friend’s kids or your fellow coworkers are going to play a much more dominant role in the workforce of the future.

But with the generation gaps between millennials, gen-Xers (born 1965-1979) and baby boomers (born 1946-1964), relationships at work can become strained by different work styles.

Here are five things to avoid if you’re a millennial in the workforce.

1. Using emoticons to get your point across

We’ve all heard the statistic: more than 90 percent of communication is nonverbal, and only 7 percent of communication comprises actual words. This might explain why there are so many misunderstandings over emails and texts.

Phone companies work to alleviate this communication barrier by providing their users with an endless variety of emoticons with which to convey their emotions. Are you sad? There’s an emoticon for that—even in dog and cat versions. Happy? Got it covered. Angry? Check.

This is all well and good for our personal lives, but it’s not quite up to par with the degree of professionalism required at the workplace. If you think your words might be misinterpreted in an email, the safest bet is to talk in person.

2. Adding your superiors on Facebook

Facebook is for friends and family. Your boss doesn’t need to see 17 pictures of your 4-year-old’s finger painting, and heaven forbid you posted that album during work hours.

In general, it’s just not professional to add superiors as friends on Facebook. Try to keep your personal life and your professional life separate.

If you still want to connect with business associates online, a more appropriate outlet is LinkedIn. Building your LinkedIn profile can also help you in your future job searches, as long as you use it how it was intended and don’t make these mistakes.

3. Being chronically late

We can’t all be Paris Hilton, and being late all the time infers an entitlement complex that we’re just “too good” or “too important” to be on time. The truth is, no one is above being on time, and making tardiness a habit could actually harm your chances of getting promoted.

If you’re going to be late, call your supervisors and let them know. The only thing worse than being late to work is being late without giving anyone a heads-up.

It might also be a good idea to set your alarm half an hour earlier every morning so that there is no mad rush to get out the door. Driving 80 in a 35 mph zone is never a good idea anyway.

4. Staring at your phone all day

The temptation to check our phones can be hard to ignore, especially when so much of our lives revolve around the latest technology.

But always checking your phone at work can hinder productivity and make managers think you’re not involved, or worse — lazy. You may even receive disciplinary action if it appears as though your phone has become another appendage.

It’s best to keep your phone on silent or vibrate and tucked away so it won’t distract you while trying to get work done.

5. Having a bad attitude

Nothing says “I don’t deserve a promotion” like an angry sigh over being asked to do something not explicitly stated in our job description.

Our managers, who typically have many more years of experience, want us to be flexible in what we’re able to do. Part of climbing the corporate ladder involves doing things we don’t always want to do, and doing them with a smile.

Having a good attitude about taking on more responsibility makes you, as Beyoncé would say, irreplaceable. Build up your skillset and seek out opportunities to become more valuable to your employers.