It’s nice to see that the negative hype surrounding the millennial generation has slowed down in recent months. I am, by date, part of the very oldest of the millennials but find that I cannot at all relate to many of the stereotypes that surround my generation. I don’t spend hours on my phone, I don’t really understand hash-tagging, and I just setup Apple Pay last week for the first time.
On the other hand, I can absolutely relate to how this generation of young adults has a hard time settling into a culture that, one, has turned the idea of working a second job completely on its head – enter blogging, Etsy, and eBay. And two, has re-written the rules of effective communication – video chat is honestly the greatest thing since sliced bread.
While older generations have claimed their younger counterparts are entitled and self-indulgent for many, many generations, we now need to take into consideration the lighting-speed of technology growth and the fact that more adults are waiting to have kids until later in life. More years between parents and children means they have less in common.
If you’ve never had the option of starting an on-line business, obviously it’ll be a struggle to relate to someone who has. If you’ve never worked in an industry where video chat and tele-conferencing wasn’t an option, how could you begin to wrap your mind around the millions of jobs that have been impacted by this “new” communication technology?
As current generations find themselves with more options to work remotely, or empowered to own their own digital businesses, we should not lose sight of the benefits that come along with working in the corporate world. Like, actually working in a building with dozens, or hundreds, or maybe thousands of other people. Important benefits we may be abandoning.
Which brings me to the list of five insanely valuable things I have learned from working in the corporate world. I firmly believe that while I currently operate a business almost 100% online, I would not do so successfully had I not first worked in a cubicle for just over a decade.
Everyone communicates differently.
Yes, I know you can figure this out working from home, however, the face-to-face interaction that is required to successfully work with an insanely wide variety of personalities cannot be been learned until you have to work in close proximity with a wide variety of people.
Patience is a virtue.
Everyone has bad days. You still have to learn to communicate with people on their bad days. When you work from home you can often hang up the phone or close Skype and put those people off for a day. When you’re in the office, you have to learn to work with the angry, the overwhelmed, and the close minded.
Get your feelings under control.
Similar deal here – when you are working in an office you have to learn self-control and get your feelings in check. That takes stress management and will power that you see far less frequently from the backside of a monitor. You can’t just escape and run to the gym when you work in an office. Learning other ways to deal with your anger is invaluable.
Your ideas are not always gold.
Many of the online entrepreneurs I know are the boss of their own business. They call the shots; their ideas keep the business running. And while this is highly coveted, there is something to be said for having your ideas smashed to bits every once in a while. How do you emotionally deal with defeat? How do you learn to get back up and re-pitch the same idea when you know it’s good? Sometimes it’s important to have those authority figures keeping you in check. Honestly, it often makes you and your ideas stronger.
Working a 9-5, taking care of kids, squeezing in a trip or two to the gym, not to mention grocery shopping, dentist appointments, the library… when you have “too much to do” you learn to be really efficient, really fast.
Working from home definitely has some amazing benefits, but I would not be the entrepreneur I am today without the corporate training. I am more thoughtful with my “big ideas.” I’m more patient with rejection. And I am more sympathetic to others lives, struggles, and unexpected impacts to their day.
I’d love to hear your thoughts – whether you have always worked online or you love corporate life.