Gen Y: Understanding a Generation of Job Seekers

I’ve just watched a TEDxMileHigh YouTube Video (below) that analyzes the current work force and it’s changes for the future.  During my search for meaningful work here in Silicon Valley, I really connected with this video and feel compelled to reflect.

I was born in 1988, which makes me a Millennial or Gen Y professional.  I grew up with the Spice Girls, gel pens, pogs and Beanie Babies in a prosperous nation- until the global financial crisis of 2007.  This depressing job climate continues today and my generation is still out looking for work or possibly stuck in menial jobs that they are unhappy with.  During my college career I worked tirelessly to build a stellar resume- I was on the Dean’s List, started a student organization, did a service learning trip and two internships.

Then, when I got out of school I found the employment opportunities to be few and far between.  As student loan payments and bills began to loom I found a job with a local real estate company.  I was an assistant paid to do data entry and file paperwork- nothing more and nothing less.  I knew I was lucky to have a job, but felt like I was betraying myself– I graduated with the vision to do something so much more and change the world.   Something that every other student that walked across the stage had in their mind.

I finally recieved an offer for a position with the promise to do so much more with my creative skills and talents.  Community Relations Director with Bickford Assisted Living in Ames.  There, I bonded with an extremely talented group of professionals and we formed a tightly knit team that operated like a well-oiled machine.  Finally, I had the unwavering support from my branch director and the limitless possibility to make a positive impact in the residents & families lives.  However, because I place so much of my personal values and pride in my work I was emotionally blindsided by how difficult this position would be. I began to retreat into a numb version of myself able to deal with any situation with professional grace.  I thoroughly enjoyed making the residents and families happy, but I wasn’t prepared for some of the heart-wrenching stories I would be a part of that are included with senior living work.  When was I going to find something that allowed me to truly use my creative talents, but empowered me to carry my values into work everyday?

Now that I am re-located to the South Bay area, I truly see this as a golden opportunity to find a fulfilling and exhilarating position.  To understand how to do this, I have begun to research- what is this job market really like?  What is my generation classified as in this job market?  Where can I find jobs that meet my needs?

Then, I found ReWork through my friend Tristan Pollock– one of the first members of the talent pool.  I have so far completed the first part of the application process and am crossing my fingers to be invited to round two.  In the video, ReWork founders Nathanial Koloc and Evan Walden discuss the emerging paradigm shift of baby boomers exiting and Millennials entering the job market.  I really connected with the founders in that ah-ha! moment of realizing that I was never going to settle for another job where I didn’t feel like my talents or skills were not being utilized.

Some enlightening facts communicated through the TedTalks Video:

  • “18% of Millennials plan to stay with their current employer for more than 18 months”
  • “1 in 3 employees is planning to leave his or her job in the next 12 months”
  • Happy people = productive employees = profitable companies
  • Companies haven’t figured out how to utilize and hire the right Millennial- but will need to rely on our generation with the baby boomers exit
  • ReWork- “People that lead with their values

Ummm, I would check yes to all of the above.  I heartily agree with the fact that my generation no longer looks for the job where they are one person at work and another on the weekends. We want jobs with flexible schedules, the ability to be creative, and feel empowered.

We desire:

  • To have drinks on a balcony of our workplace and enjoy the view for a few minutes
  • Enjoy a wide array of cuisine offerings on our work campus
  • Identify with the mission and values of the company and live them every day
  • Bond with our team outside of the work environment- volunteer
  • Take enough vacation to have a life outside of work
  • What’s going on at the top? We want to know

I believe that even with the downfall of the employment market- we are on the verge of a significant change.  As companies begin to understand the complex needs and goals of our generation we will see them be successful.  And those who reject change will fall by the wayside. Our generation-whether the industry likes it or not-is coming into the job market a changed and inspired group of people ready to change the world.  Inspire us, utilize us, understand us and profit.

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