Are Millennials Benefiting from Frequent Career Changes?
By Natalie Sampson
Kelsey Bednar always dreamt of teaching. The first time she stood alone looking out into the innocent eyes of her 25 eager students, she felt that she had finally made it as her body filled with excitement and pride, she finally did it. Until she realized that, quite frankly, she hated it.
“All my life I wanted to teach,” Bednar tells MiLLENNiAL. “This dream fueled so many of my decisions and I worked so hard for it. However, when I realized it wasn’t for me I didn’t hesitate to explore other options. Thats the beauty of the workforce in this day-in-age, it is acceptable to make these changes.”
In the heat of this generation’s competitive and strong-willed mentality, millennials, like Bednar, are finding themselves more eager to switch careers, whether it is a change within the same field or a complete career change. The idea of having a change in career plans is something millennials are embracing with open arms.
Is it Ok to Job Hop?
Traditionally for older generations, once you got a job you stayed there for years and years. The millennial generation has been able to break those traditional barriers and create a new trend when it comes to a career.
According to the 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employee Tenure Summary Report, the average worker between the ages 25 to 34 stays at job for an average of three years. This three year timeline is way lower than the 5.2-year average for the average worker between the ages of 35 to 44 and significantly lower than the 7.9-year average for the average worker between the ages 45 to 54.
In a Future Workplace survey of 1,189 employees and 150 managers called Multiple Generations @ Work, 91 percent of millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years. In the past, a resume with many career changes would be seen as a red flag, however, many people in their 20s and 30s are going through career changes to strengthen themselves as professionals.
As a Nonprofit Management major, Sadie Barlow set out to make a difference in the world once she received her diploma. Barlow was lucky enough to land a job with one of her dream companies but shortly realized she had more work to do before being able to contribute the way she intended.
“When I told my dad my plan he was really confused and frustrated, he felt like I was being completely irresponsible,” Barlow says. “He didn’t see my career switch for what I saw it for. This didn’t mean I did a poor job and this wasn’t an impulse idea. This change was a way for me to develop a more diverse skill set and overall better myself as a professional.”
Broadening the Professional Horizon
Barlow was a Wish Coordinator at Make A Wish Foundation when she realized that in order to make the impact she wanted she needed corporate business experience. She then went on a frantic LinkedIn hunt for a job that would teach her the skills she needed to know to increase her knowledge and value. Barlow ended up at Groupon as a Merchant Development Representative, which is an account manager for the business owners of Groupon.
Another beneficial common circumstance for millennials to switch careers is to speed-up the career advancement process. Instead of staying with a company and growing with them and only them, millennials are taking the growth of their careers in their own hands.
“I couldn’t have been happier at my first job,” Joey Greenstone says. “I became best friends with my coworkers, enjoyed the work I was doing and loved the vibes of the office. But as much as I loved it there, they didn’t have an open position for me to grow and I wasn’t prepared to wait and wait and wait so I had to look elsewhere in order to challenge myself with a higher position.” Greenstone has worked at two different companies since he left iProspect in May 2013. His determined and hard working work ethic has propelled him to constantly be looking forward and working towards his next career step.
“Being millennials, we are given the opportunity to take life by the horns and break boundaries. My perspective on switching careers embodies just that, there is no reason to sit around when you can make things happen now,” Greenstone adds.
Following Your Passion Up the Career Ladder
The phrase is commonly said, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Although this is an old saying this works directly with why the millennial generation benefits from switching careers. By switching careers, millennials are able to hone in on what they are really looking for.
Millennials are able to find exactly what they want in a company or career by weeding through several experiences. By experiencing different people, companies, offices, objectives and many more, the search and journey for an ideal job becomes more clear.
University of Wisconsin Journalism graduate, Dana Erdmann, didn’t realize how important the personalities and morals of a company were to her until she joined the workforce and faced her horrendous boss and coworkers.
“I guess when I was thinking of myself working I was focusing so much on finding a job I wanted that I didn’t think about the rest,” Erdmann tells us. “My first job just wasn’t what I was looking for in a company at all, but sometimes it takes experiencing something not ideal to realize what you want and don’t want.”
A Net Impact survey showed, 88 percent of Millennial professionals considered a positive culture important when searching for a job and 86 percent believed it is essential for a job to be interesting.
Career Changes with the Tide of Interests
University of Alabama Law Student, Brian Siegel, switched careers in order to do what was best for him. Terrified, staring at his application, Siegel abandoned his career in Broadcast Journalism and applied to Law School to follow his dreams in government.
“I think as people mature they fall in love with different jobs at different times,” Siegel says. “People have a hard time staying still and so the allure of staying at a company for 50 years and getting a gold watch at the end has worn off. Being in broadcasting I realized I didn’t want to be the one watching and reporting I wanted to be the one doing things.”
Making this unexpected leap from Broadcasting to Law School was very important in achieving his professional dreams. He valued being in charge of his happiness and success and wasn’t going to it for granted by not seeing his passions through.
“You only grow when you’re out of your comfort zone,” Siegel explains. “I learned so much about myself. To start from nothing and build something is truly an unbelievable experience. In different fields you get different perspectives and different types of people, which allowed me to hone in on what I want my life to be…for now.”
This generation’s ability to break boundaries in the professional world is very representative of their perspective, attitude and presence in today’s society. The benefit’s from a new career trend will continue to cause waves and fulfill dreams.
ContributorMiLLENNiAL is a lifestyle magazine profiling those who are shaping the world we experience. From business innovation and career strategy to sustainable health and cultural disruptors, MiLLENNiAL shines the light on the young change makers of the world.