A New Generation in the Workplace

It’s no secret that I’ve been a serial job-hopper since graduating college. I’ve had 4 jobs in less than 3 years. Yikes, that doesn’t bode well for my permanent record (read: my resume). I know I’m definitely not the only one of my graduating class who’s suffered from job dissatisfaction/lack of direction/being taken advantage of by employers, but my lack of “being-in-one-placeness” isn’t something I’m proud of.

Fortunately, I’ve found a position with a great company with a decent mission and wonderful people. My goal is to stay here, learn here, and grow as an employee (and person) here for many years–to put an end to my serial jobbing. I really feel like my talents and knowledge are being utilized, and I’m still learning something new every day. I also feel like I have a lot more agency than I have in my previous jobs. I don’t have to go through three thousand people to approve a single word.

Dilbert

You know, I never thought this comic was funny as a kid. Now I understand…

I saw one of my friends from my previous job (the most recent previous job–it’s sad I have to say that) who started a little after I did, was presented with another job offer. I was really happy for him because I know the expectations in the previous job were slightly ridiculous (show up before everyone else, leave after everyone else, endure intense training, learn from a mentor who is more of a bully than a teacher all in the name of “success”–yeah, I said it). It got me thinking about “our generation” in the workplace.

While I know a lot of people think we’re lazy and just looking to update our websites or chat with friends while on the clock, I feel as though a lot of my peers’ talents are being overlooked or mismanaged. Employers aren’t taking advantage of the fact that our generation can down information by the gallon and output some revolutionary business metrics. Maybe they expect our generation to be cogs in the wheel of “what has always worked for us.”

Lemmings

Remember this Apple commercial? Me either, I wasn’t alive then, but it’s the thought.

That, along with a lack of entry-level jobs (unless you want to be an unpaid intern or attend graduate school straight out of college and forgo paying off your tens-of-thousands of dollars in student loans), has made it harder for our generation to adjust to working life, I think. We’re used to our ideas being nurtured and carefully considered, because we have always been told those ideas were good. But, going into a workplace that’s already running the way it’s running, you become just another face in the crowd and your ideas become just another point in the meeting agenda (if that at all). That’s not easy for a generation raised on praise and adulation.

I’m sure to us it feels like taking all the smart kids in a class and putting them to work building popsicle stick towers. It’ll be done before you know it. And they’re left bored, waiting for the next assignment.

Cute Cat

This is relevant because all nerds love cats, duh.

I think companies and organizations need to take a chunk of the responsibility on themselves, too. I don’t mind working hard, but work is not my life. I like to do other things. I believe a lot of businesses are understanding this, and adapting well to the “age of technology,” understanding our generation’s obsession with it and implementing the knowledge we’ve come to accept as everyday life.

This post isn’t really meant as a rant, but it’s sort of coming off that way… Just to clarify, I definitely feel like I am getting to do WAY more at my current job than I have at any jobs past. I know there are multiple reasons my last jobs just weren’t for me: mismatched goals, unfair management, ridiculous expectations with no follow-through, etc.

Don’t get me wrong. I have learned a lot at each experience, and I know there’s no way I’d be where I am without that experience and knowledge.

So what’s the point of this post?

Classic Johnson

Classic Johnson…

I’m not really sure. I guess I just wanted to tell you that sometimes, serial jobbing is what you need to find the right fit. To find a company that utilizes your knowledge, helps you build on what you know, teaches you about yourself, lets you make mistakes, isn’t a giant egotist colony (unless that’s your thing), has a mission you support (you know, other than making money), etc.

It’s ok to keep searching for better opportunities. But once you’ve found a great one, you’ve got to stick with it and work hard to do your absolute best to fulfill your position description and more.

Finding Your Purpose

To the right, please.

Happy Tuesday!

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4 thoughts on “A New Generation in the Workplace

  1. This is an encouragement for me to read… I’ve been applying for some jobs since i graduate in december… (I know it’s early, but why not start now?) and i’ve been nervous about not liking my job, or what if i’m miserable or… What if i hate what i do? I just spent a couple of years in grad school training to do what i’m doing…

    But you give me hope that it’s okay to stop and move onto something that may be a better opportunity. The job i get now won’t have me trapped for life. That’s okay 🙂

  2. I have been dealing with a lot of these same thoughts. It is always nice to know that you are not alone. I recently picked up a book by Jon Acuff called Quitter. It is really worth the read. Happy Tuesday!

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