Looking back to when I was about to graduate from college I remember feeling like a world of possibilities was on the horizon. The year was 2010 and we were getting through the recession of 2008. I had some friends who had been out of college for a couple of years and had been struggling with finding a job – some had even been unemployed for over a year.
Our commencement speaker that year was Chris Matthews, from the MSNBC show “Hardball With Chris Matthews.” I distinctly recall him talking about the many “No’s” we’d receive in the process of looking for a job post-graduation. Words like perseverance and grit were used, encouragement was given but the reality was far from sugar-coated. We were going to face quite the uphill battle. Since then the unemployment rate has decreased:
Companies today (especially startups) pack their job postings with fun perks like snacks in the office, unlimited vacation, paid sabbaticals, etc. In a matter of nearly a decade companies are shifting towards this model to entice applicants to choose them as their potential employer.
Day in and day out there are reports that have been conducted about how Millenials are the “job-hopping” generation. On average though Millenials are actually staying at their jobs about 4.2 years (as of 2018) – and often times it’s heard that the reasoning for leaving is something along the lines of “lack of appreciation.”
Going back to 2010 – I think it’s important to understand the landscape that is the job market today in comparison to 10 years ago. As noted, it was tough getting an interview – let alone a job. Finding or keeping a job shouldn’t necessarily be about the “perks” that a company offers but rather we should all think about the culture we create. As a millennial, I can honestly say that finding a company that values and helps me pursue my professional development is the company where I want to be. Personally, I get tired of hearing that my generation is entitled, spoiled, inconsistent, etc.
Simply put, we don’t settle.
When I’ve asked my dad, a mechanic, an immigrant, a Gen-Xer, about what he valued about work he often says that he values the fact that it got my sister and me through college and that as a result we can now go and pursue bigger and better things. So, when I go to work that’s what I want, better things, and those things often mean professional development and appreciation.
As you, a co-worker, a friend, sibling or an acquaintance begin to explore the idea of changing jobs – think about what matters to you the most. Finding a job today, in comparison to 2010, gives us all the ability to compare perks but at the end of the day finding a job is about culture. Find a place that will push you to your limits – don’t be afraid or intimidated when you’re challenged though. Find a place that will put your professional development at the forefront – this doesn’t mean that it’s their responsibility though. You share 95% of that responsibility to communicate about your aspirations.
For those managers out there – think about how you interact with your direct reports as well. Every once in a while you’ll find a “unicorn” of an employee and yet those expectations will be projected to everyone else. That’s unfair to those who need guidance. I had a mentor tell me once that part of what makes you a great manager/leader is in how many people you are able to reach and help develop their careers.
No one wants to job hunt and more than likely neither do your employees. So I ask that everyone think about what we, personally and as a company, can do to help keep the talent that we do have. This could be a series of culture pulse checks or even stay interviews.