NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Listen up millennials: It may not seem important right now, but, at some point, your biological alarm clock will be set to establish roots, buy a house, have kids, and build a more secure platform to provide stability for both you and your significant others. And when that time comes, you're going to look back and wish you had made fewer mistakes in your career.
It may not seem fair, but you have already been judged by many of your older colleagues as entitled, lacking in company loyalty, and lazy. It's harsh feedback for employees who are relatively new to the workforce and, certainly, not true for everyone. The deck is stacked against you from the start. But that doesn't give you free rein to act out or to prove that they are right.
A few words of advice on what not to do to prevent your career from derailing and to get back on track when you have fallen off:
1. Don't think that just because your boss is older that you are smarter.
You can disagree but not in public and never with an ultimatum. Think about what you can learn from your older colleagues that will make you a more well-rounded professional. You have not worked long enough to force your point of view on the decision-making process. Part of growing up as a professional is learning how to achieve consensus through discussion and occasional compromise.
2. Don't violate your company's social media policy.
When you break the rules there will be a penalty. Posting embarrassing details about your life outside work or proprietary information about your job or company on social media is never acceptable. Spending work time texting friends or Tweeting is time not spent working. You are paid to produce and to deliver.
3. Don't job hop too frequently.
You will eventually pass the point of no return. Regardless as to why you made the moves or how bad the situation may have been, your explanation will be met with skepticism. You become the problem, not them. Before you jump ship, think twice. Is it sinking and am I moving to a better job? Will the decision to move be obvious without needing to offer an involved story to my next possible employer?
4. Don't get involved in romance in the office.
If it gets serious, the odds of a breakup are pretty high. If it is just casual and random, then one of you may have stronger feelings and interest for the other. Regardless, it almost always gets complicated and messy quickly. When you continue to work together even the smallest gesture may now have strings attached and hidden meaning. Sending a memo with a request? Awkward. Working together on a project? Easy for conflict to emerge.
5. If you decide to pursue a traditional career, don't expect to be evaluated based on non-traditional rules and metrics.
The rules are not yours to make or to bend. Dress like your colleagues, work as hard as they do, and follow the lead of peers who are senior to you.
6. Don't become a cliche by being lazy and unreliable.
I asked a number of Boomer bosses about managing their millennial employees and they all echoed the same complaint. After 7:00 p.m., the office typically clears out -- except for their older and seemingly more responsible employees. As one fellow told me, it is his gray- and white-haired employees who can be counted on to stick around to get the job done.
7. Don't bring the entitlement to work.
Office hours apply to everyone. If you are expected to arrive at work by 8:30 or 9:00 a.m., it is not acceptable to saunter in at 9:30 and then exit when everyone else does.
8. Don't go forward without a career plan.
The world is morphing at a pace never before seen. New career opportunities are emerging as others become rapidly obsolete. If you want to stay relevant, then you must have a commitment to staying on top of technology and innovation. So, consider options like continuing education, professional conferences, grad school, and seeking a mentor. All will expand your knowledge and make you far more valuable as your career unfolds.
9. Don't forget good grammar and presentation skills.
"Me and ..." is not acceptable, nor can you use emojis or shorthand in your correspondence. If in doubt about your communication skills, get feedback and practice. Your company will not promote you if management has any concern over your ability to communicate with key stakeholders.
10. Don't make unnecessary boundaries as you begin your career.
"That is not in my job description" should never be uttered. When a deadline is imminent or a colleague is out sick, you will need to step up -- not back. You may not trust your company to do right by you but that is your issue, not theirs.