The Millennial Career Dilemma Series -7 : Dealing With Workplace Disappointment


By Shubika Bilkha


From the challenge of getting employed after graduation, to dealing with negative feedback or reviews at work, to competition, stress and long hours, to difficulties when launching and scaling their startups, millennials (18 to 34 age group) today encounter a variety of highs and lows in their work life.


A recent survey by titled ‘MyFirstJob’ found that millennials when faced with challenges at work get easily disheartened and are even prepared to leave their chosen field on this account. According to a global Deloitte survey titled ‘The 2018 Millennial Survey’, 43% of millennials planned to leave their current job within 2 years and only 28% were inclined to stay in the current job role for 5 years. Millennials are seen by employers as more entitled, demanding, low in empathy, highly sensitive and easily disappointed.


As I am constantly reminded by my father, workplace challenges, long hours and disruptive dynamics are what every generation has had to encounter, and millennials are no exception. Millennials need to “buck up” and “smell the coffee” is what I have often heard his generation say.


The ‘Expectation Hangover’ as it is often referred to,is further exacerbated by the increased weightage placed on a Linkedin or Facebook update as millennials look to better position themselves among their peers and social networks. The fallout of the disillusionment, whether its failing to get the ‘dream’ job or have their startup become a unicorn or be on a career fast tracketc, leaves them with a host of emotions that they weren’t entirely taught how to process. As parenting styles have evolved over the years to more encouraging, positive and conciliatory, the blow of the workplace challenge is a lot harder to digest for millennial workers.


How then do they prepare themselves to deal with the ‘reality’ of work place disappointment?


In my experience of leading, managing and being a part of large diverse teams, some of the ways of trying to tackle this sense of disappointment for millennials could be as follows:


Manage your expectations: The single biggest factor that causes disheartenment is a mismatch in expectation. If we set reasonable goals, assess the environment around us for what it is rather than what we want it to be and delete the baseless comparison with our ‘neighbour’, we will focus on being better versions of ourselves instead.


Don’t make it personal: The key is to challenge yourself and aim high without getting too attached. There is a tendency to have our sense of self-worth get intertwined with our goal, which leads to further disappointment. Feedback will only help improve you and your performance in the long-run, take it kindly.


Accept your part in it: I have seen this often that we remain unable to accept the role that we had to play be it in a negative review, a failed task or a situation that didn’t quite go as planned. Being self-aware and reasonable is key.


Stay Positive: Ups and downs are a part of the process, especially in the disruptive and constantly evolving world that we live in. Be prepared mentally to succeed and fail all the time. Build your resilience and keep the outlook positive. Don’t give up!


Find a confidante: Find a mentor or a buddy you can go to as a sensible sounding board. Find someone disconnected with your personal and work life to get some dispassionate advice.


Don’t jump the gun: Remember incorrect assessment or assumptions lead to wrong expectations that lead to disappointment.


Have a goal bigger than YOU: A focus only on ‘you’ often leads to greater ‘expectation hangovers’. Have a larger goal that you strive towards to give yourself a better sense of purpose


And relax, this happens to everyone and is just a part of the process!


About the Author- Shubika has an ideal blend of corporate experience and entrepreneurship in India and Internationally. Her experience of over 12 years spans the finance, technology, ecommerce, education and real estate sectors. As the managing Director of two early stage start-ups in technology and education, she has hands on experience in strategy, execution, operations management, marketing, sales and customer experience, HR, recruitment and finance.


Shubika is a published author and a prominent media spokesperson for the real estate and education sectors having contributed to publications, portals, panels/events, the radio and television channels in India. Shubika is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College, USA and Columbia Business School, USA; an Associate Member of the Chartered Securities Institute (CSI) in the UK; and has completed the “Building Excellence in Higher Educational Institutions” at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad.



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