For many 20-somethings entering the workforce, the biggest challenge is not adjusting to the new environment but rather overcoming a negative stereotype associated with people of their age. Referred to as Generation Y or the Millennials, this group is often considered by other age groups to be entitled, lazy, and too dependent on technology. Faced with these undesirable views members of Generation Y must work hard to break the stereotype.
Of course it is important to note that Generation Y is not the only group that must face bad perceptions. Each generation must cope with these unjust generalizations. Instead of being part of the problem by buying into these notions, individuals need to strive to identify when they are making unfair judgements and then look past the stereotypes.
The best ways to discredit these workplace stereotypes is through individual actions and behaviors. Being classified as lazy and entitled should be that much more of a motivator to work hard. Demonstrate excellent work ethic by going above and beyond and taking pride in what you do. In essence, take what the stereotype states and prove that the case is very much the opposite; Generation Y employees are driven and capable of taking on challenges.
A second way to undo these preconceived notions, is through the interactions with co-workers. It is likely that your career will require you to work with people of all ages. Treat each person with equal amounts of respect. Reach out to the veteran employees and gain their insight or mentorship. It is likely that this relationship will be beneficial to both of you in more than one way.
The main idea is that the easiest way to discredit stereotypes is to not buy into them in the first place. By doing this, the stereotype will not affect the way in which you view others or yourself, thus ending the perpetuation of the stereotype.
For more insight on how to avoid generational stereotyping checkout this article from Forbes.com. Click here to view.