5 Problems Preventing Millennial PMs From Success

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post. Interested in collaborating on Product School’s blog? Email Gabriela Araujo at gaby(at)productschool.com

From the fear of decision-making to “we are Millennials!” mantra, the true problems of Gen Y are hard to control; but yet, we can try if we want to be productive and successful Product Managers.

Millennials have to deal with informational, economic, and social revolution alone. Their peculiar character traits and tons of challenges they meet on the way to business success result in the lack of guidance and, therefore, problems preventing Gen Y representatives from leadership and overall happiness.

These problems are many, but there are five influencing the work-life balance of 20- and 30-somethings in point of fact.

1. Perfectionism

Bruno Mars scores

Often considered a secret power leading Millennials to success, perfectionism may lead to problems with mental health instead: depression, anxiety, or anorexia. The Cut nailed it when published the study results of the American Psychological Association:

“Compared to prior generations, today’s college students are harder on themselves, more demanding of others, and report higher levels of social pressure to be perfect.”

When it comes to Product Management, perfectionism may seem a must-have trait for effective leadership and better results. However, it appears that perfectionism hinders our performance as we set inflated demands and therefore invite failures. To break this vicious circle, Millennials need to learn to practice a so-called healthy perfectionism and remember a copybook maxim we all heard:

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”

And as Ramya Amancharla, Director of Product at WeWork, said:

Ramya Amancharla WeWork

2. The Fear of Decision-Making

“What if I make the wrong decision?”

Millennials enter top-rated colleges, travel the world, and launch successful startups but… When the time comes to make the next big move, they are still in doubt if they make the right decisions. As a result, it leads to delays in product launch, inability to focus on a product purpose, doubts in methods they consider for Product Management and its better performance, procrastination in choosing marketing strategies and persuasive techniques for product promotion, etc.

All that ends with constant stresses and the impostor syndrome.

According to therapist Tara Griffith from San Francisco, it happens because Millennials are the generation that is lucky to have too many options to choose from. She says that such an abundance can lead to paralysis: too many choices exhaust us and contribute to dissatisfaction. The specialist recommends Millennials to listen to their inner selves and go after passions, as there is no particular formula for success.

3. Stress

According to surveys, Millennials are the most stressed generation. With tons of essays and research written on the topic, it appears that more than a quarter of Gen Y representatives suffer from anxiety, compared to baby boomers. Burnouts and depressions don’t seem mere fatigue anymore, and we come online to find a cure for anxiety more and more often.

It happens because of so-called on-the-job stress.

Tired gif

According to surveys (yes, again!), most employees believe that an average worker today has more stress than a generation ago. Often, it occurs when the requirements do not match the capabilities or resources, and it leads to poor health, productivity loss, and disappointments in a chosen niche.

What we need to do is find our own cure to beat stress. Think of what helps you relax and brings a positive mood – and practice it on a regular basis. Whether it’s hygge, travels, meditation, essay writing, or spending time with families and close friends, don’t ignore this activity (even if it’s a kind of guilty pleasure) for your happier life.

4. Trying too hard

We get used to believing that one has to overcome many challenges and have superhuman willpower if willing to start an online business, create and launch an exclusive product, and achieve something. “Further, faster, stronger” becomes the mantra for Millennials who understand: they live in a fast-changing, digital world where they need to stay tuned all the time if they want to succeed.

But scientists disagree:

Such an approach – when you try hard, getting over yourself and controlling your every step – is not only useless but also harmful. It appears that the best way to accomplish our goals is… to try less. Canadian psychologists Marina Milyavskaya and Michael Inzlicht did a research on this concept and described its work.

In their article for Social Psychological and Personality Science, specialists reported that “self-control was unimportant in accomplishing one’s goals.” Millennials who try hard and fight their temptations often don’t reach success but feel depleted.

So instead of increasing self-control, remove the temptations wherever possible. Also, set your behavioral patterns so they would help to grow your self-control naturally. “The Loop” rule described by Jeff Wise works best here: find a rule bringing you a bit closer to your goal – and stick to it, dialing it back a bit every time it starts feeling like a struggle.

5. Following “We Are Millennials!” mantra

In his article for The New York Times, Tony Tulathimutte shares a theory that Millennials are nothing but “a demographic term that originated with media and marketing busybodies interested in consolidating identities that they can then target.”

“In the same way that a photo of hundreds of faces blended into a single average face might resemble many people but doesn’t represent anyone in particular, the millennial archetype itself is never better than a blurry approximation,” he says.

Placing ourselves as Millennials, most of us subconsciously assign peculiar traits and achievements this generation’s representatives must have to lead and succeed. And we feel unmotivated and unhappy if we unfit that picture. But is it real?

Back in 2016, Derek Thompson took the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and revealed the portrait of an average Millennial in his article at The Atlantic. It appears that a Millennial is not “a college-educated young person living in a city” as most of us probably thought but an individual who  “(a) didn’t graduate from college, (b) isn’t living in a city, and (c) generally hates being called “a Millennial.”

The moral?

Don’t trust everything you read and hear about Millennials and what they should know and do to succeed. Trying hard to meet expectations and get ahead of yourself, you catch stresses, impostor syndromes, fears, and demotivation. What’s the use of it on your way to the successful career in Product Management and your happy life, right?


Meet Lesley Vos

Lesley Vos

Lesley is a web content writer and freelance author. She writes about life, business, and self-growth. Feel free to read her article on writing educational content for marketing on the Bid4Papers blog or check more works of her Twitter @LesleyVos.

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