6 Things All Millennials Should Know About the Changing Workplace

students on the subway
students on the subway

Whether you're in college or just starting out, what you're hearing from your parents about the workplace is likely outdated. You see, as technology booms it's easier to source talent and collaborate across the globe. And as millennials, we are helping to shape this changing workforce. Here are six things you should keep in mind as you embark on the job hunt.

The "workplace" is disappearing

Many offices, including the federal government, aren't investing in office space like they used to. Many start-ups rent blank spaces where employees can choose somewhere to sit for the day. They don't have corner offices. They don't have cubicles. That's because the workforce is mobile. Half of Americans hold jobs that are compatible with telecommuting and up to 1/4 work offsite with some frequency. Be prepared for this type of environment. Decide what's important to you in terms of office culture and structure and don't be afraid to ask questions about expectations if the office "walls" are unclear.

Work-life balance doesn't exist

I don't know many people who hold the old 9-5 anymore. Many jobs require evening and weekend hours. But with that comes flexibility during the day. I recently met someone who goes to a fitness class every day at 10am before heading into work. Granted, this is in New York City where the hours tend to be skewed, but it is a perfect example of the flexibility companies are granting to meet the needs of their employees. This is especially important to consider when it comes to working multiple jobs or starting a family.

Your skills, not degrees, will get you the job

Over 80% of millennials have a bachelor's degree or higher. This tells me that a college degree is a prerequisite for many jobs. How can you stand out in this highly qualified pool? Market your skills, not your degree. And I don't mean proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel. (Please don't list these skills on your resume - they're required these days!) Maybe you are a social media guru or you can decipher data analytics like no one else you know. Can you operate a Wordpress site or manage a budget? These are the types of skills that employers are looking for. Find out what your unique skill sets are and promote the hell out of them.

Freelancing is the new black

It is expected by 2020 that up to 40% of America's workforce will be freelancers. Why is this? First, they're cheaper than employees. If a company needs a project completed only once a quarter or year it makes much more sense to hire someone for the task than have someone on staff year round. Secondly, you can guarantee that freelancers are hired because of their specific expertise. How can you get into the freelance game? You've got to narrow in on your strongest skills. Think about what type of companies need your skills. And then pitch to them. Don't be shy. Because if no one knows what you're capable of, no one will hire you.

Multiple income streams are normal

There are a few reasons for this. For our generation it's much more important to find meaning in our work than work solely for the money. Sometimes that means your "day job" won't start out paying you as much as you need to live comfortably. Enter side hustle. For me, a while back there was a part-time job I really wanted. But it was only 15 hours a week. I needed to complement that with something else. Luckily I was able to find another part-time position in which I was able to practice a different skill set. If you're looking to branch out into different types of positions or industries, this may be a great way to do it. Just beware that balancing two twenty hour positions will likely require much more than forty hours in a work week.

You'll probably work for yourself

See above. I always told myself that I didn't want to work for myself. I didn't want to deal with all the business side of the business. I liked work that was outcomes based. But once I got the taste of working for myself - being in control but also accountable for every action I took - I was hooked! With e-commerce you can sell anything to pretty much anyone anywhere in the world. Even if you like the stability of working for someone else, it's a good idea to seek out information on how to start a business. You never know, you may become a believer like me!

I'm curious to know - what are some other trends you've learned about in the modern workplace?