For all the talk of millennials having "self-esteem on steroids," it's startling how often one finds just the opposite. More like self-esteem on oyster crackers. Yet it doesn't have to stay that way, as shown by the following story.
When I worked as a university career counselor, students would come in for practice interviews—sometimes all but cowering. (I can say that with humor in my heart, because at one point I was that student.) So it was fun for me to help restore their confidence, just as someone had done for me all those years ago.
If the interview wasn't going well, I would stop and suggest to the student that we switch roles. "I'll be you, and you be the interviewer." This always intrigued them a little. It also caused them to sit up taller and smile, even when they didn't want to.
Then in their best interviewer voice, they would start in. "So. Tell me about yourself." By this time we were both smiling and locking eyes. I would answer as them, using the actual information on their resumes—and nothing more.
Sometimes by the time I finished answering, the formerly shy student would gush, "You're hired!" Boom. Whole different interview. The student now felt free to be a much more confident version of himself.
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You don't need a counseling degree (or any degree) to affirm and encourage a young person. Smile and give them the time of day. Listen to their stories—everybody's got one. Learn from them. Laugh with them.
Try not to laugh when they get right in your face and explain what Coachella is.Yes, Brianna, I know it's a music festival.
Invest in young adults, even the ones you're not raising. Today's caddie or barista may become your next intern, employee, co-worker, or friend.
Most of all, show millennials respect—and watch how more often than not, you're respected in return.