Millennials, stay at your job

I recently told a potential customer (client) that he should stay longer at his current company, rather than jump ship after only about a year of working there. We agreed to talk a short time later to determine in which direction he wanted to go with his LinkedIn profile and strategy.


Awesome, right? Yes and no.

A week later he replied to my email saying he had decided that he would stay put and therefore didn’t need my services. He thanked me for my “awesome” advice and said he would get back to me when he was going to make a move.

My would-be customer is a data analyst at a healthcare organization in Boston. At the time he was impatiently waiting for a promotion he was promised months ago. Fearing the promotion wouldn’t materialize, he felt it was time to make a move to another company where he would be recognized for his hard work and talents. He was 26 years-old.

Perhaps I’m getting old and think this young man was too impatient, but he made me think about how Millennials are constantly on the move for bigger and better things. Is this necessarily a bad thing? It depends. A Forbes article states that the average tenure for a worker these days is 4.4 years, but Millennials (born between 1977-1997) plan to stay at a job for half that time.

I work mostly with Baby Boomers (1945-1964) and some younger and occasionally come across Millennials. I notice a distinct difference in the work attitudes of the two. While the younger workers are on the move, the older ones are more content staying for a while.

One concern employers have of the Millennials is confirmed by this man’s attitude, who at the time he talked with me had been at his company for nine months and the one prior to that eight months.

His choice reminds me of choices I made at his age. I was reckless and changed jobs like people change socks. I felt no loyalty toward my employers; it was all about me. This type of thinking doesn’t sit well with companies, as the Forbes article states:

For companies, losing an employee after a year means wasting precious time and resources on training & development, only to lose the employee before that investment pays off. Plus, many recruiters may assume the employee didn’t have time to learn much at a one-year job.

One thing I emphasized that night when talking with my Millennial is how his resume would look. To employers his resume would show a job hopper, not someone extremely talented at what he does. He agreed with this assessment. Perhaps this is the reason he decided to stick it out for hopefully three more years.

His reason for leaving wasn’t only because he wanted to advance quickly; he wanted to learn the latest and greatest software. I saw his point because I’m also one who likes to learn new things.

What about the plight of Baby Boomers? Some of my unemployed Baby Boomers feel as if they’ve been betrayed by the company they worked for for 25 years. They pride themselves for showing loyalty and commitment. So they wonder why they were let go unexpectedly.

To make matters worse, they’re not as well prepared for the job search.

My Baby Boomers also tell me either training opportunities were not available to them, or they didn’t take advantage of them to learn new technologies. Shame on them if the latter was true. How can we fight the stereotype that says older workers aren’t as technologically inclined as Millennials when the older generation hasn’t taken advantage of opportunities?

So, what’s the answer? For the Millennials, their best bet is to stay put for at least four years; and for the Baby Boomers, they’ve learned their lesson by showing loyalty and growing comfortable at companies for so long.

Photo, Flickr, Gustavo Camarillo Rangel

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