Millennials, These 3 Pieces Of Career Advice Don't Work Anymore

 

 

The working world can be terrifying and unfamiliar, especially if you feel unequipped to deal with its challenges. After all, nobody wants to make a career move that could set them back for years. That’s why when people offer new graduates advice about their futures, they listen closely and soak up all they can.

 

Most of this advice is comforting, thoughtful and well-meaning. Parents, teachers, and mentors eagerly share their collective experience and explain how to use and apply the strategies that once worked so well for them.

However, the working world has changed and continues to evolve rapidly - while the advice that worked for previous generations hasn’t adapted adequately to reflect this new reality. Millennials who follow outdated career advice risk finding themselves in confusing, and oftentimes, disappointing situations. And in order to avoid this danger, they need to understand the dynamics of the modern workplace they will soon to enter.

Here are three pieces of career advice that don’t work for Millennials anymore, and what they should do instead.

  1. Commit to a path

Everybody knows that changing jobs too often looks bad on their employment record. It indicates a restlessness of character that’s sure to trigger alarm bells among recruiters and prospective employers alike, and as such it is strongly discouraged.

But despite this, the Bureau of Labour Statistics states that the average work stint of employees between the ages of 25 to 34 is just two and a half years - three times lower than that of employees in their 50s.  While these constant career shifts may appear disruptive, they make perfect sense once you realize that Millennials are an intensely purpose-driven generation. A survey of 7800 Millennials from 29 countries revealed that over 50% of Millennials would take a pay cut to find work that reflected their values. 77% of them said that a company’s purpose was the reason they chose to work there.

In short, Millennials would rather leave a job that pays well and devote themselves to pursuing meaningful work. As the corporate world becomes more socially conscious, and a greater emphasis is placed on the culture of organizations, Millennials will be pulled by the exciting vision of business leaders that emerge all around them. Changing jobs more often will therefore be extremely commonplace, and a Millennial’s career will develop in tandem with their personal value system.

  1. Do what you’re good at

It’s flattering when your boss acknowledges and rewards you for your skills. You’ve worked hard honing them after all. But only being valued for your aptitude forces you to do work you’re good at – even if that work leaves you feeling unfulfilled.

Being able to perform tasks well is therefore a narrow view of a person’s purpose in the workplace. It treats people as tools used solely for the benefit of the company, and assumes that companies themselves have no motivation other than performing efficiently.

However, research suggests that 94% of Millennials want to use their skills to benefit a societal cause, and 70% of these research participants expressed a desire to make a tangible difference to the world through their work. Organisations that fail to recognize these motivations risk alienating themselves from a rapidly growing Millennials workforce. This is perhaps why an increasing number of companies have met the clamor for socially responsible business, and have aligned themselves with the values of the talented people they wish to attract.

For Millennials, work is therefore characterized less by what a person does, and more by the purpose behind why they do it in the first place. Doing what you’re good at is therefore superficial advice, because it assigns more importance to individual performance than it does to working in an environment characterized by personal significance.

  1. Don’t leave before your boss

78% of Millennials have a spouse or partner that works a full-time job, and the average age of a U.S woman having her first child is 26 years old. Managing the growing overlap between work and family responsibilities therefore becomes increasingly challenging for Millennial parents who aren’t in control of when and where they work.

That’s why the popularity of flexible work schedules has skyrocketed in recent years. A Bentley University study revealed that 77% of Millennials believe that flexible work schedules make the workplace more productive , and another survey suggests that 67% of Millennials wished they could choose when to start and finish work.

The archaic tradition of working 9 till 5, accumulating over time, and clocking out after the boss leaves therefore no longer applies to a generation that has unparalleled control over how they structure their days. Instead, a young professional should be encouraged to structure their work schedule in a manner that accommodates the many family responsibilities and personal goals they need to focus on during the course of their lives.

The key takeaway

Advice reflects the beliefs and experiences of the people who give it. Ideas that were relevant to previous generations may not always be applicable anymore, and Millennials need to be mindful of that.

Society, businesses, and jobs will continue to evolve as we grow older. And in order to thrive in this dynamic environment we have to understand the impact these changes will have on the way we live our lives, or risk feeling lost in a world and workplace that no longer reflects our values.

 

By: Daniel Marlin

Source: forbes.com