The careers millennials want may seem out of the ordinary to our parents, but what we value in a career defines our generation.
I could tell you that more millennials are mechanical engineers or teachers, which is true according to payscale.com. I could also tell you that more millennials take jobs as servers and interns, according to Forbes. But instead let’s examine what millennials look for in careers and what continues to drives us as a generation. As the largest generation to date, we have the power to change the workplace.
We Want To Make A Difference
According to Forbes, “85% want work that makes a difference and is enriching to themselves but also enriching to the world.” This means that not only do we want a paycheck; we also want to do something that feels important. We won’t settle for meaningless work, which means we spend less time in cubicles and more time, perhaps, helping others overseas or working to improve communities.
We Want To Make Money
Don’t think that wanting meaningful work means we don’t care about money. We still want to make bank. The American Psychological Association study in 2009 found a “63% increase in the number of young people who rated money as ‘extremely important.’” Millennials want to make money; we just want to make money our way, not our parents’ way. We don’t tend to aspire to jobs we devote our lives to and then retire. Instead, we change jobs until we find the right fit.
We Value Innovation
The days of sitting at home and reading the paper have disappeared. The days of clipping recipes and passages out of magazines have been replaced with pinning links from websites. Companies change the way we communicate and transform the way we tell stories through social media. “Social media is a defining characteristic of our generation, which can be a positive thing,” sophomore Public Health major Megan Mecrae said. According to a new survey of millennials, “78 percent of Millennials were influenced by how innovative a company was when deciding if they wanted to work there, but most say their current employer does not do enough to encourage them to think creatively.” We want to be challenged and we want our creativity to be valued. I once read a story about a woman who flew to the Pinterest office and asked for a job. It was an unprecedented move, but eventually Pinterest offered her the position. It just goes to show the appreciation of originality on both ends.
We Get Bored
Getting bored quickly can seem like a negative attribute. According to Dan Schawbe, founder of a Boston consulting firm, Millennial Branding, millennials often get bored with their jobs. “They choose meaningful work and flexible schedules over salary. It’s a matter of figuring out what they want…They want to find what connects best with their values and what they’re good at,” he told the Chicago Tribune. Mecrae agreed. “The main thing I want is variety; everyday I’m not doing the same thing. Being happy is more of a priority,” she said. We aren’t lazy or indecisive; we just won’t settle. We are more likely to change our jobs because we are still searching for what we truly want, and we refuse to be locked into a company that makes us unhappy.
It’s time to stop focusing on the negative qualities of our generation and begin to emphasize the positive. We are a passionate, uncompromising and creative generation. Those traits will transform the work environment. “If it’s after college and I’m figuring things out, I would leave my job because I don’t want to get tied down,” said Mecrae. Millennials lack interest in staying with a company for 25 years, retiring and moving to Florida if it means being miserable for 20 of those years. We are much more interested in following our dreams in an innovative way, so that our jobs don’t feel like work at all.
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