Why Young Professionals Need a YP SIG: A Case for a Forum for Young Professionals in the Workplace

Why Young Professionals Need a YP SIG: A Case for a Forum for Young Professionals in the Workplace

By Madison Fortman, Gretchen Knoelke, and Maddie Liesz, AMC Young Professional SIG co-chairs

Many young professionals face similar unique challenges in the workplace. As co-chairs of the Young Professionals Special Interest Group (YP SIG) at AMC, we strive to create a community for our members that empowers them to professionally evolve through their experiences, relationships, and successes in the workplace. By encouraging this journey for our members, the YP SIG is able to develop their careers, enhance company culture, and build on a foundation for the future of AMC. 

The YP SIG meets every couple of months to talk about the challenges YPs face in the workforce, as well as provides resources for professional development. The discussions that have been generated this year, coupled with the sense of unity that all millennials have been wrestling with the same challenges and resolutions in the workplace, highlights the importance of having of a YP SIG in an office setting. Without the opportunities offered within this group, many YPs would be uncertain of where to direct their inquiries related to career development. 

YP’s Focus in 2019

This year, the progression of our YP SIG meetings have been primarily organic. We started the year with a meeting on burnout, focusing our discussion on the popular BuzzFeed article “How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation” by Anne Helen Peterson. As SIG members discussed the article, we quickly realized that it struck a chord with them as they openly talked about how much they related to the article. Not only were we able to connect based on our shared experiences in the workplace, but also on the issues we all seem to experience trying to navigate our lives outside of the office.

To continue in this vein, our next meeting provided us the time and space to discuss four key topic areas that YPs found poignant following our initial discussion:

  • setting extremely high personal expectations
  • not being able to say no
  • feeling the need to always be “on”
  • looking for feedback.

Engaging in small group discussion and a larger discussion forum, the SIG was once again able to dive into not just burnout, but also universal challenges we all seemed to be facing in one way or another. The process was both productive and therapeutic as we shared first-hand experiences, lessons learned, and ways to better navigate the workplace moving forward. Our ability to connect with one another on a more personal level was extremely beneficial in growing a sense of a YP SIG community in the workplace.

Benefits of a YP SIG

When we opened the door for YPs to discuss their opinions and experiences with millennial burnout, we created a space that made it easy for our YPs to feel comfortable relating to mutual topics with coworkers. With this space, we formed a community inviting everyone to openly discuss different workplace experiences while providing advice and feedback from their own involvement. It is important for us to keep this discussion space available and active moving forward, so all YPs can feel comfortable continuously coming back with more insight and questions to help them improve professionally. 

Based on the information gathered from various discussions, our goal is to create a tool that YPs can turn to when experiencing burnout, work-related stress, or facing other difficulties that were brought up during our meetings. We envision creating a digital resource that points to resources, advice shared, and other relevant tools. We hope to provide advice on how to avoid falling into a burnout routine or even preventing it all together. We would like to thank our current YPs for their involvement in these discussions and for providing excellent advice and feedback. Their willingness to share and listen to others is what has allowed the YP SIG to have successful engagement, feedback, and problem-solving for all attendees this year, as well as led to more job satisfaction for the YPs. 

For additional resources check out the notes on burnout and generational differences within the workforce from Jason Doresy (a leading Gen Z and millennial speaker who presented at the 2019 Global Leadership Summit) on generational behaviors in the workplace. 

Madison Fortman is an operations coordinator for the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, Gretchen Knoelke is a registration coordinator, and Maddie Liesz is a Professional Relations and Development operations coordinator at Association Management Center.

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