Would you leave your job with no other form of work lined up?
This is what’s happening in record numbers with millennials these days.
Our parents’ generation would likely consider it irresponsible, risky and down right crazy.
But why is it that millennials are handing in their resignations often without hesitation or a safety net?
Why are they changing careers more frequently than any other generation before them?
Young people have come to a point where they feel like they’ve been ‘sucking it up’ for too long. They dislike their jobs and see no other way out but to quit. Even if that means facing unemployment.
But why is that number increasing? Why are millennials reaching this point in their careers, and why so early?
From what I've seen in my millennial clients, there are 3 reasons:
1. Feeling like a Minion
One key to lasting job satisfaction is the ability to contribute to the overall vision of the organisation. Knowing that the work you do is important and that it’s seen and appreciated.
Unfortunately, many millennials feel like their voices and ideas get quashed by those in senior positions.
This can result in low morale and feeling like there's 'no point'. Why stay in a job if you're not going to make a difference anyway?
‘I’m just another cog in the wheel’.
I hear this from many young people who I speak to about their job satisfaction.
In many companies supervisors are not listening to their staff or taking their ideas on board. This reveals their lack of trust in their staff.
I remember one time I asked my manager to explain a process to me so I could understand the 'behind the scenes'. I was hoping that one day I would be more involved in the process.
He replied 'You don't need to understand.' To me this meant that he was not interested in my growth and career advancement. It seemed like he didn't trust me or believed I had the necessary skills.
As you can probably guess, my life cycle at the organisation wasn't long...
This mindset of 'I'm the expert and you're the minion' is not only frustrating for the millennial - it's also a loss for the company. They are wasting time and money due to low levels of productivity.
Millennials want to feel like their thoughts and ideas are being taken into consideration. They want to feel like their work is meaningful and contributes to the greater good of the organisation.
2. Growth Stagnation
Arguably the biggest reason why millennials are leaving the workplace is a lack of growth opportunity.
Having fulfilling and satisfying work relies on the ability to grow and expand our skill set in the workplace. Our brains love to learn new things and be pushed to do what we couldn’t have a year earlier.
Most jobs have a four year life span. After this time you've likely mastered the skills required to carry out your job with excellence.
I remember the four year itch well. I was in my dream job, but felt like I had stagnated. It was a small organisation so a promotion was not an option.
But that’s not what bothered me. The reason why I stopped growing and stagnated was because I wanted a new challenge.
I had discussions with my supervisor about new challenges I could undertake or new projects I could spear head. Attempts were made but nothing stuck. The role was virtually the same no matter how hard I tried to evolve it.
As a way to get my ‘growth fix’ I took on more work thinking that it would meet my need for growth. It didn’t and instead resulted in a burn out.
Upping your workload is not the same as developing a new skill. I learned this the hard way and eventually left that role to go travelling after being in the organisation for six years.
I’ve had several conversations with highly capable, intelligent millennials who got blocked from any career progression because their managers don't want to lose them.
When seeking career advancement they are met with the reply:
'You are doing a great job in the position you are in.’
Although flattering, this comment leaves staff feeling helpless. With no hopes of progression in the organisation, they are likely to check out mentally or find opportunities for growth in another organisation.
3. Companies Driven by the Bottom Line
Millennials have grown up in an era of heightened social awareness.
The detrimental impact of our footprint on the planet and those living in developing countries is weighing heavily on the conscience of this generation. Therefore it’s important for them to be in a company with ethical work practices. If those are not adopted by management and leadership, many millennials might decide to leave.
Unlike any generation that has gone before them we see the impact our shopping and spending habits are having on those who live on the other side of the planet. Therefore, to be in a work environment that is overly driven by the bottom line rather than the well-being of people is a huge turnoff for any millennial.
Here is a typical response from a client when asked how they feel about their workplace:
‘The whole company is driven by shareholders and profit at the expense of the lives of individuals. I feel like it’s crushing my soul.’
So when millennials are asked what’s important to them in the workplace, it’s no wonder that they respond with ‘meaningful work that gives back to others’.
Millennials have often being criticised for being idealistic and lazy. I believe this comes from a lack of understanding of the values and upbringing of millennials.
Unlike their parents they grew up in an era of affluence and physical comforts and luxuries. They are fortunate to have most of their physical needs met. As a result they want jobs that offer more than just a pay cheque.
Fulfilling and satisfying work not only includes a good pay rate, but also work that is going to improve the lives of others in a meaningful way.
Can you relate to any of these experiences in your own workplace? If you feel that your current role has an expiry date but you’re uncertain where to head next, then consider engaging with a career coach. I offer a FREE discovery session to help you determine if your career dissatisfaction is temporary or likely to be permanent.
If the idea of changing careers makes you feel overwhelmed and scared, then I can help you gain confidence and clarity to make your career transition as smooth as possible.
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Millennial Career Coach