"You have to pay your dues."
"You don't have enough experience."
These phrases have been heard countless times by employees. While every career advisory site states that such statements are normal, an inherent problem remains, where the economy from which such statements originate, no longer exists.
The economy of past generations was built on routine. Change was predictable for both businesses and employees. Businesses received loyal employees while employees received a predictable career. If change occurred, it occurred while maintaining system stability.
Today's economy, however, is vastly different.
Both businesses and employees are facing a highly dynamic economy. Just in time global processes are moving businesses and employees to a more "ad hoc" approach, where resources are deployed only when necessary. If the new economic environment is moving towards an "ad hoc" business approach, then what does it mean for Millennial Generation employment? It means that a new paradigm is breaking current reality. So what is the new normal?
Corporate ladder climbing is DOA: The dynamic nature of today's business environment means that businesses need to be ruthless and efficient. As such, individuals are increasingly treated as expendable resources to be used for specific needs. For individuals, this means the traditional corporate ladder climbing has been replaced with a do-it-yourself career path.
You are a mercenary for hire: If the expectation in today's economy is that there is no permanent employment, then everyone is a mercenary for hire. In many respects, individuals need to be a loyal employee one day and a ruthless job seeker the next. Individuals will have to increasingly treat themselves as corporations using very similar tactics as highlighted in the article Treat Yourself Like A Corporation.
Experience is no longer about seniority: Past generations used to equate experience only with job longevity. However, thanks to today's dynamic economy, job longevity no longer means experience. Experienced individuals now go through business battles in a shorter amount of time than in the past. We now see 30 year old CEOs who have been through more merger and acquisition discussions than some senior investment bankers.
Expect to hit the ground running: The ability of individuals to "grow into their jobs" no longer exists. There is an increasing expectation that individuals need to be fully functional and instantly ready, instead of being gradually ramped up.
Forget retirement: The reality of demographics and economics is finally catching up with the retirement system. With senior citizens staying healthier longer, and with fewer young employees making contributions, the retirement system is in for a significant evolution that may involve benefit reductions or senior citizen employment. Therefore, today's Millennial Generation should expect to work their entire natural lives.
To many, this future is an unforgiving one. While one can blame technology and outsourcing, the reality is that the nature of work is changing. So how is one to survive these dynamic times? One needs to only look at the Millennial Generation for answers.
Yes, the Millennial Generation. The generation born between 1982 to 2002 that has been mischaracterized by many employers as lazy, incompetent and entitled, is the same Generation that is the best prepared for the changing nature of work.
The reality is that the demands of today's Millennial Generation are the same demands that enable their own survival. The Millennial Generation is merely being motivated by self interest and self protection given today's economic and social constraints.
So, if the Millennial Generation is right, what is it right about?
Demanding More Responsibility Sooner: The Millennial Generation knows that to advance means to demonstrate responsibility sooner than later. Self responsibility and self management come easy for the Millennial Generation, due to their experience with the "latch key kid" phenomena. They are not only looking for more responsibility in today's jobs, but also more mentorship and guidance to allow them to grow their careers faster.
Demanding Growth Opportunities: The Millennial Generation is finding that today's jobs are repetitive and lack challenge. They are increasingly aware that in order to grow and thrive, they need jobs which challenge and offer them opportunities to push their own boundaries.
Celebrating Personal Successes: There has been significant criticism in which way the Millennial Generation celebrates every personal and professional success. But who can really blame them? Not only are those celebrations essential for self esteem (considering the rocky future career prospects they must endure), but they are excellent ways to build the necessary profile for career advancement.
Linking Personal Values With Professional Ones: With the value of labour devalued due to automation, it is not surprising that the Millennial Generation is re-evaluating whether working solely for financial gain is the best option. While it might be glamorous for a short time, many individuals are starting to question whether or not it is possible to combine financial fulfillment with personal satisfaction.
A Better Work Life Balance: With retirement an increasingly impossible goal for the Millennial Generation, many are demanding flexible work schedules to pursue personal interests. And who can blame them? If individuals are expected to work their entire natural lives then why shouldn't they build in opportunities to achieve personal lifetime goals, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?
These "rules" have enabled a number of the Millennial Generation to enjoy success sooner and find happiness faster in this dynamic economy. While past career "rules" will continue to work for some, the reality is that the new Millennial Generation "rules" are ones now needed to ensure individual career advancement and survival.