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Today’s Millennial Problem

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By: Danika Tallman

Many different people have many different views on millennials. “What is a millennial?” you might ask. Well, a millennial is defined as a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century. If you have heard at all about this generation, you have heard about “The Millennial Problem”. The people who are talking about this the most would usually be the “baby boomer” generation (individuals born between 1946 and 1964) and the “Gen X” generation (individuals born between 1961 and 1981). The problem is that everyone views the millennials as a lazy , selfish, entitled generation. Just because they get so much bad press doesn’t mean you should just write them off. Here are some reasons that you should take a second look at this generally misconstrued generation of humans.

Based on a recent study done by Pew Research Center in April 2018, “More than one-in-three American labor force participants (35%) are Millennials, making them the largest generation in the U.S. labor force”. They make up the majority of the workforce today. Managers and bosses are struggling to control this specific group of employees. This could be considered a problem. Also, this, according to motivational speaker and author Simon Sinek, reflects our parents failed strategies to raise said group of individuals. He speaks about trophies being given for last place which affects the reality that last place is not something to be rewarded. It teaches children that anything can be won just by showing up. Not only is that not how the world works, but this also damages the perception of what they should actually be getting for their effort. It can even cause embarrassment or shame when they get something for nothing and realize they don’t deserve it. For example, if you don’t show up to work, you don’t get paid. If the “last place trophy” philosophy is applied here, you could miss all the work you want and still bring home your paycheck. It will be a very nasty reality check to those who believe too deeply in this thought process, as everyone knows, would not be accepted in a professional atmosphere anywhere.

According to a study from Bentley University, “67 percent of their respondents said they wanted to start their own business, while 13 percent said they hope to climb the ladders to become CEO or president”. This is in part to millennials being so tech savvy. It is so easy now to start your own company or brand due to things like Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter. It’s not that this generation doesn’t want to work but this generation doesn’t want to work for other people. They want to work for themselves and be in control of their own schedule, income and have a say in the important parts of a company. Some might say that the technologic advances are a hindrance to development but in fact, may be a great business tool when used in the right context. This is also a great way to connect with people, network and expand your business.

To be fair, this generation has been saturated with technology since they were very young. They were growing up the same time that the internet was and that made them best friends for life. While this does have to do with the fact that they have lower self-esteem, this is also something that Sanuk believes is through no fault of their own. He points to technology as the culprit and says that growing up in a world drowning in social media may lead many young people to look constantly for praise and validation through social networking. According to Rachel Hosie on the ‘Independent’ website, “How many likes and followers you have is the new social currency, and all we care about is keeping up appearances online.” This obviously does not apply to all millennials. Even with all that against them, the Millennials may be one of the best generations to come a long in a great while. Despite this generation “coming of age” during a particularly bad economic climate, Beth Kobliner, who has written Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in your Twenties and Thirties, states “The Millennial generation is amazing – they’re carrying more student loan debt than any generation in history but have less credit card debt that Gen-Xers or baby boomers.” One thing to be said about the millennial generation is that they learn from past generations mistakes and this shows immense maturity on their part. According to the same article, millennials open a 401(k) at 22 years of age as opposed to 28 for Gen-Xers and 35 for the baby boomers. Kobliner also defends the millennials from accusations of putting off adulthood and finds them extremely unfair. Kobliner says “they’re not putting off adulthood – they’re making wise financial choices”. This is in regard to a “record one-third of millennials” living in dorms or with their parents to save up to buy a house.

Another thing that the millennials have going for them is the fact that they care about social change. An article by Fred Dews on Brookings Now talks about some important fact about the millennial generation, “89% expressed a stronger likelihood that they would buy from companies that supported solutions to specific social issues” and “63% of Millennials want their employer to contribute to social or ethical causes they felt were important. About half of older Gen Xers and Boomers felt the same.” That says a lot about them as a generation. They care about and are actively trying to change what happens to the world and the people in it. They are trying to make something better happen. It’s going to be slow going but it is something that has been coming for a long time. If they can make the world better just by waiting to buy a house or not having kids as early as past generations then so be it. Like the old saying goes, I would rather stand for something than fall for anything.

System Development Lifecycle

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By: Mike Tibbits

A System (or Software) Development Lifecycle (SDLC) is useful for managing a planned and controlled development effort. The biggest advantages are that it provides some level of control of the development process to ensure that the ultimate solution is consistent with the original requirements, and to ensure that the design process and testing process leading to release of a solution is sound and well-managed. It also has the advantage that it is a repeatable process. If you develop something with a given SDLC and a similar project comes along, you should be able to use the same process, with some level of confidence of success.

The software development lifecycle is not only a great way to ensure your app meets the needs of your business and customers, but it is also essential in supporting the app once it’s published.

Here are the SDLC’s five key elements for better understanding the process:

 

1. Research and Analysis – It all starts here. SDLC begins with gathering information from all stakeholders who will benefit from the new application, answering questions such as, “What is the problem at hand?” and “What are the requirements?” In the research phase, it’s critical to gather as many facts as possible, especially with requirements. For example, the application may need specific user permissions in the code that grants “super user” rights to some and not all.

2. Design – Design occurs after all of the requirements and wish list items of the research phase have been addressed and documented. This kicks off when the application developer creates the app layout as well as the other code needed to create app functionality. There are times when the developer hits a road block, where certain requests can’t be addressed, or another functionality should be considered. When this happens, it’s the developer’s responsibility to be sure the applicable stakeholders who created the requirements list are aware of the issues.

3. Testing – Developers perform a Unit Test of the application. After the app passes Unit Testing, it moves to IT QA for testing. If no internal QA is in place, the potential end users have to test the app. This is called User Acceptance Testing. In either phase of testing beyond Unit Testing, it’s important that any bugs or functionality issues are well documented. Documented issues have to be addressed by the developer, corrected, and regression tested. All testing is done in a non-production environment. No live data is affected during testing.

4. Implementation – Depending on the application and other infrastructure at hand, implementation can be an intricate process. The application code is copied from the testing environment to the production environment. Even when implemented, the application often needs more testing to make sure all is functioning as designed and all requirements are met.

5. Support and Evolution – During this phase it is important to have all proper personnel in place to handle any issues that may arise after the app has been implemented. This occurs usually when larger user groups are trained on the new application. Sometimes new users will attempt to do things the app isn’t designed to do. It’s up to the support team to educate the users on the functionality and proper use. Granted, other scenarios may arise that may be a legitimate bug in the app. Hopefully this doesn’t occur often, but if it does, the support team has to address the issue accordingly. The developer will need to be involved so outstanding issues are addressed and resolved.

The SDLC is just that, a cycle. It doesn’t terminate until the application retires. The process can go on for as long as more items are added in response to potential needs. It often require on-going innovation from the developers. If there’s one takeaway for an SDLC, it’s that all phases of the SDLC need to occur for the success of the app and satisfaction of its users!

Professionalism in the Workplace

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By: Danika Tallman

If you’ve ever been to a job interview, you know you need to dress as professionally as possible to be seriously considered. Depending on the job you get, that part of professionalism doesn’t go away. In fact, it becomes even more important and extends far beyond just what you wear. Professionalism is a broad term and includes things like character, attitude and even dress code.

Character

One of the most important things to have on the job is good character. Character is defined as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”. This affects almost every part of your working life. This includes simple things like being on time, taking responsibility for your mistakes and maintaining accountability to those above you. Employers won’t care if you get those spreadsheets done on time if you’re taking supplies home or blaming your mistakes on your co-workers.

Positivity and Attitude

Attitude at work is everything. Nobody wants to work with someone who is always moping or complaining about their job. Employers like people who are respectful. They want someone who is upbeat, positive and receptive to other’s ideas. When you’re willing to take on extra projects or help out with the workload, you prove your usefulness to not only your colleagues but your bosses as well. This also includes being humble because even if they pat you on the back, you need to be careful not to let the accolades go to your head.

Dress Appropriately

Dress code is something that a lot of people seem to think that they can disregard. It seems like a little thing but reveals a lot about you. Again, this depends on the job that you have but if you are working in a law firm, their dress code would be very different than if you were working at a bar. You need to dress appropriately for the job that you have. For example, flip flops or tank tops in a professional environment would be very inappropriate. Be aware of the atmosphere you work in and dress in a way that will demonstrate that you are a professional and there to do your job.

Punctuality illustration

In Conclusion

These attributes are something that every employer looks for in an employee. Respectfulness will never be something that will fail you. On the same note, having a strong character will help you meet your professional goals, and even if you have no goals, attitude will take you far in whatever you decide to pursue. Keeping these things in mind will take you far in the professional world. Whether you want to start your own company or simply move up in someone else’s, these qualities will stand out in a world of unqualified people.

High Performance People? Total Myth!

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One of the things I’ve been fortunate enough to learn is that there really are no “high performance” people, and no one is specially wired to perform at the greatest levels of achievement. There are, however, people who exercise certain habits and through those efforts achieve high performance results.

Lately, I’ve been making an effort to integrate some of these habits into my own life and have experienced greater productivity and general well-being. Although there are many more practices to list, I wanted to share some of the habits I’ve been using each morning to kick start my day.


Give your phone a rest

Before I go to bed, I put my phone in another room to charge. That way all the distractions, stress and temptations that go with it are removed. If I wake up in the middle of the night and my phone is within reach, it’s just too easy to get lost checking Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or email, even though all I meant to do was check the time! This is where a cheap alarm clock comes to the rescue. No frills, just the time. Keep the place you sleep as peaceful, quiet and distraction free as possible. You can’t perform if you’re not rested.


Get your body moving

After waking up, it’s time to stretch, do Yoga, or Tia Chi. Any low intensity movement practice works well here so it really doesn’t matter what you choose. I usually go to the gym later in my morning routine, so stretching works well for me and I can keep that practice whether I go to the gym that morning or not.


Meditate

After stretching, I’ll sit in a straight backed chair and meditate for 20 minutes or so. There are lots of methods and helpful apps out there if you’ve never meditated before, but I highly recommend this practice to center yourself and reduce stress. Most of the top performers in the world from CEOs to athletes have some daily meditation practice. You can go longer than 20 minutes if you like, just be mindful not to bump your head on the ceiling should you start to levitate.


Gratitude

I use an app for logging this, but any tool where you can write a list of things you’re grateful for will do. If you’re going through hard times or some tragedy, finding things to be grateful for might seem challenging, but this is when gratitude is most powerful! If you’re stuck, just list some of the people and things in your life that support you, those from the past that had an impact on you, and some of the people who inspire you.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. 

— MELODY BEATTIE


Affirmations

This is probably my favorite habit. First, create your list of affirmations. I have one for each of my goals, so as an example, I need to get back in shape. My affirmation goes something like this, “I am 210lbs of pure ripped to the bone bad-assery. When I walk into the gym the free-weights tremble in fear and the machines cry for help!” This is stated in the present, positive and for me is funny enough that I can remember it. I say it each morning and out loud in the car on my way to the gym.


Planning

Next it’s time to review my goals and check anything already on the schedule so I can plan my day. I like to do this before I check emails or any social media so the day is framed first. This helps me stick to my goals and be less reactionary. I can fit minor emergencies in where necessary without allowing them to hijack my day.


These are just a few habits you can use to create a morning routine and position yourself for greater productivity. They’ve help me and I hope you can gain from them too.