IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Do you Surf?

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 19, 2008


There was an article in business week on young people and jobs. Seems like more and more of us are seeking jobs that matter, or jobs that allow us some measure of freedom. It seems we are not willing to accept the same conditions of work as our parents were.

Interesting Work Is Paramount

Benefits and compensation are still important to the new generation of employees, but young adults put a premium elsewhere, says Phillip Gardner, director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. “Interesting work” is the job characteristic ranked as most important by young adults participating in the institute’s 2007 survey. The survey also shows that 50% of young people felt their career plans were “unfocused” and 65% were willing to “job surf”—explore opportunities at many different companies rather than staying at one.

Some employers are adjusting to meet the expectations of the new workforce. Dan Gerstein, founder and CEO of Gotham Ghostwriters, a New York speechwriting company, hopes to attract the next generation of talent by offering flexible hours and the opportunity to work freelance.

As a generation, we seem to have something of a reputation for job jumping, and this is not entirely undeserved. There are many of us out there who have made huge leaps forward by changing jobs ever year or so. I have often been asked (usually by someone the age of my parents) why I don’t feel any loyalty to the company. My response is fairly predictable, how much loyalty do you think the company has towards me. Will they manage my career for me? Will they give me raises appropriate to my rising levels of experience and accomplishments? I think not.

Funny thing is, I also often hear this from co-workers that I have left behind all the time. I always get a good laugh out of it since they are still in the same positions where I left them 3-5 years ago, and you know how much they are making? The exact same amount they were making when I left. Sometimes they get 1 or 2% “cost of living” raises, but last I checked, inflation was closer to 4% so essentially, they’ve taken a pay cut every year. How much loyalty would that inspire in you?

Manage your own career, no one is going to do it for you. There is something freeing about being able to tell companies how much they will pay you and they can take it or leave it. When they ask you why you change jobs so often, just pull out your list of accomplishments and redirect. In the end, its not about where you’ve been, its about what you’ve done. I’ve found that a hearty list of accomplishments trumps sitting in one place for 5 or 10 years any day because they bring with them a breadth of experience that working for one company can never give you.

So have you been standing still too long? Have you been in that same seat for 3 or more years? Chances are that there are other fish in the sea, you just have to find them. Its time to jump in, waters just fine my friends, and surfs up!

Photo by: Fr Antunes

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