Originally published on Chicago Tribune
Savvy, progressive, and success-oriented – millennials are known for their tendency to do things differently. They’ve been raised in the era of smartphones and social media, tools that emphasize the endless possibilities the world has to offer. As a result, many millennials have grown up to strive for prosperity and think outside the box to achieve it.
These attitudes have heavily reflected on the millennial approach to the working world. Millennials have long-since abandoned the baby boomer philosophy that sometimes a job is “just a job,” and that the sole responsibility is to be able to support your family. Millennials are starting families at a later age than previous generations, and some are not starting families at all. This new individualized approach to life goes hand-in-hand with their emphasis on career satisfaction.
Although many think that there’s not much to learn from the younger generation when it comes to the workforce, their perspectives are actually quite eye-opening. So, what can millennials teach us about finding the right career?
Be a self-starter
Millennials grew up in the age of the influencer – self-made celebrities and professionals that used social media to gain notoriety for their skills and talents. As a result, never in history has there been a generation this fixated on becoming entrepreneurs. According to Forbes, 72 percent of millennials want to be their own boss. Sure, previous generations have seen their fair share of hotshot CEOs, but they’ve also seen a large percentage of workers that are perfectly satisfied working 9-5 jobs under someone else.
For older generations, work is about stability. For millennials, it’s about fulfillment. They use the resources the internet provides to be their own boss and don’t simply wait for the right job to fall into their lap. The millennial generation teaches us to put ourselves out there and take the risk to make your own success. After all, the biggest regrets we have in life are the things we didn’t try, right?
Explore your job opportunities
Millennials are job-hoppers. And, while this trait is perceived as negative by some, it can actually be quite healthy in early employment. Millennials are searching for their calling, and they won’t stop until they find a job they truly enjoy. A CareerBuilder survey showed that 25 percent of young employees have worked five jobs. Employers are adapting to this growing statistic, with the same survey showing that 32 percent of employers saying they expect workers to job hop.
The millennial generation stresses the importance of trying new things, gaining experience, and making contacts – all benefits of working a variety of jobs. For individuals who don’t quite have career aspirations or a set goal, this can also be an extremely effective way to find a field they enjoy.
Connectivity is key
Despite the fact that so many millennials work remotely, often from the comforts of their at-home office, they understand that connectivity is key. They value constant feedback, performance reviews, and progress meetings more than their Gen X and baby boomer counterparts. This is a surprising fact to those who believe Millennials prefer to be glued to their phone screens, avoiding communication at all costs.
The truth is that 84 percent of millennials value an open communications policy over job perks, preferring honest feedback over the usual job perks. Checking in for 15 minutes a week is even more appealing to millennial employees than a top-tier benefits package. Due to the open communication and connectivity fostered by the social media age, it’s not a surprise employees expect this in the everyday world. Millennials understand the importance of feedback in improving job performance and strengthening work relationships.
Follow your passion
A job is not just a job to millennials – it’s a way of life. In a study by Department26, 44 percent of millennials valued passion for their job role over salary and other benefits. Millennials are preaching the “do what you love” philosophy, recognizing that satisfaction in a job is more important than perks, and contributes to employment longevity. Rather than chasing paychecks, they chase contentment, which contributes to a healthier attitude toward money and eradicates stigma surrounding career choices.
Instead of judging their peers for their employment choices or striving to land in prosperous fields pre-determined for them by their parents, millennials understand that the most important qualifier for a career is enjoyment.