Us millennials hear it all of the time. We’ve been dubbed as the “lazy” generation, the entitled generation, and a generation that thrives off of avocado toast (after Insta eats first, of course). However, while our generation is the most critiqued to-date, it has also become one of the most praised for our appetite for learning and growth in the workplace. So why is it that so many millennials are job-hopping every couple of years?
Why Millennials Have Such a Bad Rap
While salary certainly plays a role in determining whether or not a millennial will accept a job, there has been an increased burden on employers to provide more than just your average work environment. To millennials, it is not just about the compensation, it’s about the passion that is sparked at work. Passion can come from the work environment, co-workers, and the day-to-day operations of a business.
When Harvard University conducted a study in 2016 on What Millennials Want from a New Job, it became clear that a hunger for learning is directly correlated with an employee’s sense of purpose and passion. So in order to fully understand why one in five millennials are job hopping each year, we need to first understand where this heightened sense of passion first began.
A recent Gallup report on How Millennials Want to Work and Live found that only 30% of millennials were actively engaged in their job. When millennials were asked whether or not they are actively searching for new work opportunities, about 60% said they were open to a new position. While this lack of allegiance to one particular employer or role within an organization may come across as selfish, millennials are merely just attempting to look for a worthwhile job.
Rewind 10 or 20 years back and this behaviour pattern was most likely adapted when millennials were observing their own parents *cough Baby Boomers cough*. Dad would work a passionless and strenuous 9 hour workday with the same company he’s been working for for the past fifteen years, sitting next to the same people that he incessantly complains about every day once returning from work. Over time, it has become more and more apparent to millennials that the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze. So what now?
How to Marry Passion and Profession
Now, for the most difficult question of all – how do we inevitably combine our inner passions with our profession? We all want to find that unique connection to our jobs, enabling us to say that our day job doesn’t feel like work at all.
First off, it’s important to understand that the perfect job is not just going to be handed to us one day. Yes, there is a lucky .0001% of the population that is offered their dream job by happenstance. But as for the rest of us, we will have to put in the hard work in order to achieve that same level of success with our career. Before pursuing that passion you’ve been longing for for years, understand that nothing worth having comes easy – and believe me, a life working with passion for what you love to do is worth it.
Secondly, don’t quit your day job! Seriously, you’ve probably seen (or will begin to see) plenty of friends quit their jobs to move home or travel in order to “figure life out”. Sorry Nike, but just don’t do it. Your parents don’t want their 23 year-old daughter or son living at home – and let’s face it, you won’t be figuring much out when you’re back in your hometown rubbing shoulders at the neighborhood coffee shop with your middle school math teacher. If you are fortunate enough to cinch a job coming out of college, stick with your day job. Besides, you most likely have to start paying off some of those student loans anyways. Might as well start early.
Third – and most important – recognize that a day job is only eight hours of the day. If you’re someone that gets a full nights sleep of about eight hours (which most of us do not), you still have another eight hours of your day to work towards your passion! It’s all too easy to get into the routine of spending an eight hour day at work, only to come home, sit on the couch, and binge watch some Netflix TV show for the rest of the night. You’re not doing yourself any favors here. Prioritize three goals for each week that you can do to help you achieve your long term passion.
For instance, if you are working in an investment bank during the day, but aspire to create your own footwear brand in the future, make it a goal for yourself to meet three people from the industry each week. Ask them how they’ve achieved success in their goals and take notes. I’m sure that some of the things that they did early on in their careers, you can begin to do now.
Once you’ve developed a disciplined and consistent routine of devoting time and energy to a passion outside of work, you may begin to see growth, and sometimes, a secondary source of income. If after a certain amount of time you find that it is appropriate to make the jump into the passionate role you’ve always aspired for, go for it. But use your best judgement and always have a plan B and C in place if things go south.
At the end of the day, you must be willing to sacrifice time and money in order to achieve delayed gratification in bringing that passion you’ve been dreaming of to fruition. So take a chance and see what happens. What’s life without risk, anyways?