by Jenna Stramaglio | 3/24/16
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials are born between 1982 and 2000 and represent more than one quarter of the of the nation’s population. We also carry 1 trillion dollars in student loan debt … YAY! We have all read the statistics and everyone keeps talking about us like we are some enigma, but if everyone would just take a step back and see us for what we are then there would be no problem. We are just another generation that is different than the one that preceded us — just like Gen-X and just like the Baby Boomers.
I have been told by Gen-X and Baby Boomers that I am entitled, selfish, and need constant reinforcement and accolades. Truly, who gives a damn? Generations do not define the person and just as with all generations, there are those stereotypes that just follow you around and are super annoying. PS: The Boomers created us and they are really to blame for this black hole of millennials floating around the world, still living with Mom and Dad, trying to pay off student loans, and whaaaa whaaaa whaaaa! To my fellow millennials – stop complaining. You are creating a bad rep for the rest of us. Stop spending, start saving, and get off of your parents’ couch. <end rant>
When I was asked to write this blog a million things ran through my mind. I could write about the Boomers, but then I would just piss off my employers and managers. I could write about the Gen-X-ers but then I would piss off my teammates. So, instead, I am going to call out our industry.
The print imaging industry is awesome. Yes, I 100 percent believe this industry is one of the most exciting channels one could possibly work in and for. I started off selling copiers right out of Arizona State University (go Devils) at Chicago Office Technology Group. It was by far the hardest and most eye-opening experience I could have asked for. I packed up my Wrangler, drove across the country, lived on my cousin’s couch for a while until I had enough money for an apartment in the city and then started my sales job. It was incredibly humbling and I wouldn’t change it for a thing.
That was over a decade ago. I remember being at bars on the weekend and when asked what I did, I would lie. I was embarrassed to say, “Hi! My name is Jenna and I sell copiers!” So, instead, I would say, “Hi! My name is Jenna. I work in IT!” Which, at the time, was kind of true, as I was replacing stand-alone printers to connected MFPs.
Fast forward a decade later and I am proud to say that I am still in the same industry I started in and that’s not because I couldn’t have left for other opportunities. It’s because I met people in this industry that have taught me how to be a better employee, a better manager, a smarter sales representative, and an all-around better person both professionally and personally. I have been lucky enough to work with partners such as GreatAmerica, ESP, Intellinetics, Clover Imaging Group, and BEI, as well many of the major OEMs and dealers, and every day a lesson is learned. This industry isn’t just local, it’s global, and it’s amazing what you can learn if you just listen.
Millennials, I encourage you to check out this industry. Stay a while. You might just like it. Also, we are surrounded by Boomers and BOY do they have a lot of experience. It’s amazing what we can learn if we actually ask questions and absorb some of their knowledge and expertise.
Pro-tip for millennials? We are surrounded by people who have way more experience than us. Zip it and listen. You’d be amazed at what you can learn. Also, guess what? You want that work-life balance? Put in some hard work and be loyal to your employer and they will return the favor.
Pro-tip for employers? Don’t treat us as millennials with pre-conceived notions that we are going to leave within three years, expect raises, title promotions, and massive amounts of accolades. We will work hard for you if you invest in us. We just want to feel like our voice is heard and we can make a difference. I think you Boomers can relate to that.
Jenna Stramaglio is Chief Marketing Officer at MWA Intelligence, Inc. She manages day-to-day external and internal communications as well support all sales and marketing initiatives. On a personal note, she loves her son, Dom (pictured), and supports The Jillian Fund fiercely.