We’ve all heard the term 'millennial' at least once in the past five years, it’s the generation born between the 1980s to 2000s, or, those who check their smartphone every 10 minutes.
We are often described as 'lazy, entitled and self-obsessed narcissists'. Yep, that’s my generation, according to Time magazine anyway.
My parents’ age group think they’ve created monsters and companies have still yet to decide if we’re the best or worst thing that has ever happened to the market.
However, there are good things about millennials.
If you belong to this age group you’ll know that we can bring many things to the table.
We are passionate and constantly seeking new experiences. We are obsessed with the side-hustle, such as all those things we do apart from our part-time/full time jobs.
You know, those activities that you just love. In most cases, we can learn different skills from these hobbies.
My passion is photography.
So, by having all these side abilities can potentially add great value to a company.
How, do you ask? By approaching problem-solving tasks in a multi-disciplinary way.
Millennials are actually changing how companies are structured, partly because of all those extracurricular activities.
It’s funny because 20 years ago, a workplace like SEED would have been structured into single teams that would only take care of tasks described in their job title.
Account managers would only deal with clients, graphic designers would only worry about visual components, developers would only focus in writing code, and so on.
Flash forward to 2016 and the way we work is slightly different.
We all get involved in several stages of our projects so we can solve potential issues with a holistic approach, instead of breaking down the project and delegating it to teams.
It’s important that we all understand what everyone’s working on when we have status meetings.
This is because we can target issues from different points of view, yet everyone speaks and understands the terminology, reducing risk of miscommunication.
I believe that diversity leads to greater innovation.
All these side-skills we have developed throughout the years makes us a stronger team, but also, independent co-workers.
For example, if there’s a wireframe that needs to be designed but Matt, the Lead Designer at SEED, is working on other projects, I can go ahead and do it.
Meanwhile, Mike Ebinum, Director and CTO at SEED, realised that practising yoga became very handy for him while starting a business.
Mike wrote in his blog that being able to complete a yoga inversion and arm balance didn’t come easily, and with it, many failed attempts before succeeding. In terms of business, he talked about learning how to fail intelligently and growing from those mistakes.
Processes become more efficient and you find you may be applying some of your side abilities without really noticing it.
My side hustle is photography.
I’m not sure if I would call it “hustle”, because it’s something that I absolutely love to do in my spare time.
I could spend hours taking pictures of the same subject.
There are four main things that I’ve learned from photography:
1. Everyone will say it’s easy but only some will understand the complexity of it. This applies to pretty much every aspect in life.
Just because you own a phone doesn’t mean you're a photographer. You can take pretty pictures, and that’s okay, but photography is so much more than just pressing the shutter.
Same goes with food, just because you can cook doesn’t mean you’re a chef.
However, the knowledge and tools are out there. Don’t settle with the things you think you know, but make sure your curiosity leads you to learn more about something you like.
How does this relate to my workplace?
Whenever I’m analysing traffic and data on websites, I try to dig deeper to explain the behaviour of our clients’ users.
I will read blogs about data analysis.
So whenever someone says 'traffic can be only be measured with Google Analytics' I die a little on the inside.
2. It’s all about finding the right balance between patience and being able to take opportunities at the right time.
It might sound cliche, but it’s true – golden moments and opportunities come by real fast.
I learned that patience is the key to getting better at anything. But if you wait long enough you might miss several opportunities.
3. See beyond what is in front of you. This skill is great from a problem solving perspective.
Sometimes we are just blocked and can’t see a way out, so the essential thing is to be able to step out, see what other possibilities are around you and look for a solution.
I know that it sounds very abstract, but for some people it will actually make sense.
4. Attention to detail is more important than you think. Details can make you or break you.
In photography, a picture can be out of focus, under or overexposed, and you need to be aware of the composition of the picture.
The difference between someone with a camera and a photographer is being able to work around the details.
Translating these skills to the work I do at SEED, like working around the details, can actually make us win a pitch.
But, if I didn't pay enough attention to these things, we could easily lose it.
Hopefully my experience will help you see what else can you bring to your workplace.
If you’re finding it hard to connect the different skills you have, just remember that it all comes down to learning more about yourself.
As SEED Director and General Manager Christopher Bartlett says: “I think if you persevere with what you love, the dots in your life start to connect and you find your place".
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