"There is neither an ideal nor convenient workplace"
Figure 1. Common Traits for Millenials at Work. Photo credit: Newsbytes.ph
Professional advancement in this day and age is not necessarily guided or shaped by meritocratic principles, nor by the so-called 'carrot and stick' approach. As discretion is given more weight these days over well-established performance metrics in promoting or appointing people into key positions in organizations, the chances for close friends, associates and even distant relatives of the appointing power to be promoted or appointed are relatively higher than the chances of those perceived to be competent and fit for the position skills and abilities' wise. This practice isn’t necessarily wrong unless prohibited by law, as the appointing power is usually given the leeway to choose the people who fit his/her organization and personnel management style and approach. This practice is also not new in both the government and the private sector. In fact, the practice of cronyism and nepotism in organizations has become a norm than considered as a wrong management approach.
While organizations by nature are different and distinct from one another, they are motivated by a common goal- to advance its interest first above all. It only means that those who contribute greatly to the advancement of this interest will most likely get key positions in the organizations. It is also important to note that each organization has its own culture, norms and habits- may these be positive or negative.
These are the realizations that millennials must come to realize. You don't expect utopia when you enter the workplace- may that be in the government or in the private sector. Performing one's work well is only one of the many major components which must be satisfied if one aspires to advance professionally. Human relationships, particularly one's relationships to the powers-that-be, is a major component that many young millennial workers fail to recognize and build. Young millennial workers need to come to terms with a reality that top-level management of organizations give more premium to loyalty than competence. Therefore, the usual demands of young millennial workers for preferential treatment or favor often fall into deaf ears if they appear to be dispensable and perceived to be non-committal with the organization, more so if they have not established trust and enjoy the confidence of their respective managers.
The reality also young millennial workers must realize is that there is neither an ideal nor convenient workplace. Each organization has its own strengths and weaknesses institutionally and personnel-wise. Instead of ranting about the system and seeking drastic reforms while being at the bottom of the organizational hierarchy, young millennial workers should be reminded of where they are in the power dynamics within their respective organization and how much influence they yield with their positions.
At the end of the day, competence may land you a job but it is not the sole consideration for professional advancement. Trust is not just built around competence but also on loyalty and commitment.