Training and Development

Millennials talk careers: Monica Karpinski

Monica Karpinski

Age: 26

Education: Bachelor of Arts

Current role:  Director & Head of Content, Curated Digital

Ideal role: Director & Editor-in-chief


Are the stereotypes about millennials true?

The stereotypes about millennials being spoiled and unwilling to work hard are completely untrue and frankly quite damaging. It is well-documented that millennials face fewer job prospects, are less likely to be able to own property, and in competitive industries are often forced to work for free in order to get a foot in the door. These stereotypes also assume that all millennials are of the means to complete an unpaid internship until they get the job they want.

Part of these stereotypes is the idea that millennials have high buying power and spend their money frivolously, for instance equating a penchant for avocado toast with being able to own a house. Trends are much easier to pin down and visualise with the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram so it’s easy to point to these various fads and call them superfluous, when consumer trends and fads have existed for decades -- they just weren’t as well-documented and moved at a different pace due to changes in technology.

In their haste to tap into this alleged millennial buying power, brands are actually losing money over-targeting millennials and overlooking needs and behaviours of other generations.


What benefits most attract you to a new position?

What most attracts me to a new position would be degrees of creative freedom, opportunity for development, and company culture. You have to get up every morning and do the same job, with the same people, so it’s essential you feel you’ve got ownership over that within a group of people who you work well with. You also want to feel that there is room for you to grow.


In the long term, which of the following is most important to you? (Please explain why?)

  • Career development
  • Work/ life balance
  • Salary


Career development, because in creative fields, particularly with writing, it can be a long way to the top where you’re able to call the shots and work on things you like -- this also naturally leads to a higher salary. If you are unhappy at work then all the money in the world won’t make that fact go away. Work/life balance is a tricky one and I think very dependent on the organisation and field you’re in, and also on the person you are. Work is a part of your life so it feels a bit strange to me to see a kind of work/not living vs. not at work/ living binary.


What do you think most companies are getting wrong when hiring/ retaining younger workers?

Treating them disrespectfully, for example treating interns and graduates as dispensable. Not paying interns. Overlooking the value of soft skills, such as communication, attitude, etc. in favour of markers such as grades or the university someone went to. Sticking to more traditional, hierarchical management structures that motivate by fear rather than engaging with someone with what they are doing.


Looking back, is there anything you’d change about the route you took to your current career?

It’s hard to say -- I was in a position where I felt I just needed to get my foot in the door to eventually get to a point where I could work on projects I cared about. In previous roles I put up with things I wouldn’t put up with now, because I felt I had no choice if I wanted to work in media and pursue writing. One particular role was so stressful that I had a nasty burnout, which pushed me to leave. There’s the pervasive narrative that you’re lucky to have a job -- no matter how they treat you -- if you want to work in fields like this. So I would probably have stood up for myself more and been more decisive in saying what I wanted. However, going through all of this taught me how to leverage value and stand up for myself.


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