Tyson & Mendes Young Professionals: Tips for Overcoming the Millennial Stereotype

Author: Cayce E. Greiner

May 25, 2017 2:31pm

Tyson & Mendes is proud to announce the formation of our new Young Professionals Group to support the personal and professional growth of our young attorneys and clients. 

To kick off our YP Group, we surveyed TM attorneys of all generations for their best tips to overcome the millennial stereotype.  The responses shared common themes – work hard, be prepared, and be patient.  Read our tips for millennials below!

Reece Roman, Associate:

“I don’t understand your generation,” my mid-60s (former) boss said to me.  I had just asked for a raise and some assurances of future advancement within the firm.  “What do you mean?” I said.  I did not consider the desire for promotion to be a generational defect.  He said, “Why do you think you deserve a raise?”  I explained that I was paid 15% below market salary, that I billed 300 hours over the minimum yearly requirement, that clients liked me, and that I had a track record of success with increasing responsibility.  He said, “Yeah, but what have you done that’s special?”

The experience illustrated for me the difference between millennials and the baby boomers we work for.  Millennials, having been raised believing we are special and that we will succeed if we do the “right” things we are told to do, believe that should be enough.  We believe that if we do what is asked of us, we should be rewarded.  We believe if we exceed institutional requirements we should be promoted.  And we believe we should have a life outside of work too.

But in my experience, our baby boomer bosses do not always agree.  Baby boomers believe in the American Dream and they pursue it.  They believe one can, and should, be self-made.  They believe in work and results.

What is my advice to millennials looking to succeed in a baby boomer work culture?  As my (former) boss would say, “do something special.”  But first, let me take a selfie.


Kelly Denham, Associate:

One of the most common stereotypes about millennials is “laziness.”  I have found the most effective way to overcome this stereotype is to be overly prepared.  Be proactive in finishing tasks, whether it be preparing well in advance of a deadline or offering assistance to others when needed.  Follow through when you say you will.  Do not offer excuses or tell someone you are too busy to help.  I believe these practices have helped me gain respect from my colleagues and bosses.


Kyle Pederson, Associate:

I feel the millennial stereotype is that we are lazy and entitled.  To overcome both, I spend extra time preparing and researching in order to be best prepared for otherwise unanticipated outcomes.  I find my level of preparedness directly affects my confidence level.  I allow more experienced attorneys to offer their opinions and advice, while being careful not to get steamrolled.  I speak up when it is my turn and provide well-researched opinions or positions on a given topic.  If another wants to dismiss me because of my age, I do not take it personally.


Julie Matyi, Post-Bar Law Clerk:

I think a great way to combat the millennial stereotype is to associate myself with people from all different age groups.  Many millennials tend to only associate with their own generation.  I think it is important to be able to relate to and have conversations with everyone, whether it is the 22-year-old new graduate or the 70-year-old on the brink of retirement.  You can learn so much from friends of all generations!  I make a point to break the mold and get to know everyone in my office.


Morgan Van Buren, Associate:

I think the only way millennials can overcome the millennial stereotype is to actually practice patience.  Younger millennials grew up with the internet; they are accustomed to instant gratification.  Yet, you cannot expect to develop your career overnight; it takes years of professional growth and hard work.  You cannot expect to achieve career goals and dispel stereotypes without going the extra mile.


Susan Oliver, Partner:

My advice to millennials is simply to not act in the stereotypical way that is associated with millennials.  You do not get a reward just for showing up.  You have to earn advancement, higher pay, and respect.  And earning those things takes time.  It takes hard work, keeping your nose to the grindstone, and giving your best every day.  If you do these things, rewards and respect WILL follow.


Tamara Glaser, Senior Counsel:

It is not enough to be great on paper or e-mail.  Every now and then, get up from your desk and talk to the senior lawyers or take a client to lunch.  Let them get to know your personality, your sense of humor, and to develop a real relationship with you.  There are lots of great professionals out there, but a great relationship is what will help you succeed both inside and outside your company.


Kathryn Besch, Senior Counsel:

My advice to young attorneys is to take full responsibility for the calendar for all your cases, even if you are not the primary attorney.  Be prepared.  Know your deadlines well in advance so you can ensure you have sufficient time to address issues, such as potential motions or objections, and for your supervising attorney to review your drafts.


Jessica Heppenstall, Associate:

Pay attention to details, be thorough, take your time to do the work properly, and carry a note pad with you at all times.  You never know who you will run into around the office and need to take advice or direction from.  Ask questions in order to get the job done right.


Jake Felderman, Partner:

When you are working on a project and come to an impasse, come up with a possible solution or two before talking to your supervisor.  When you tell your supervisor about the issue, also offer solutions.  This will train you to troubleshoot and showcase your self-motivation.


Bob Tyson, Managing Partner

The best advice I ever received when I was a young attorney was to just be the best you can be at whatever you are doing.  My boss could tell my heart was not into it at one point, which is going to happen at times over a long career.  Around 30 years old, I wanted more responsibility, more trials, more money, more recognition, more autonomy, more everything!  My boss acknowledged that my current job might not be my final resting place.  But if I wanted to advance my career and get that dream job, or have my own firm, I had to work extremely hard wherever I was.

So I planned for my future and pursued my dreams of having my own insurance defense firm, but I also redoubled my efforts to make sure I was learning as much as I could and working hard for my current employer.  And this former boss is still a mentor today!



To learn more about Tyson & Mendes’ Young Professionals Group,

Contact Cayce Greiner at cgreiner@tysonmendes.com.

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