08 May A Message to Millennials

I think I am tuned in to the job market for Millennials as my daughter is graduating with her Masters in Biomedical Science this month, and is “on the market.”  She has a variety of career opportunities before her, and we have had a number of heartening conversations about her options.

I just read an article describing how the idealistic Millennials have been turned into “a generation of realists.”  According to the latest survey of college students conducted by Universum USA, the top five “ideal” employers include Google, Disney, Apple, E&Y and the FBI.  What?!

What about making a difference, and work-life balance, and money-is-not-everything?  It turns out that a company’s past market success was a very important attribute for 30 percent of those surveyed.  Yes – there will be opportunities for professional development, cool work environments and nifty products with those marquis firms.  But what about taking a chance with a start-up with the opportunity to learn in an accelerated environment sans the bureaucracy and hierarchy?  What about getting on the ground floor to create products and services for unmet needs?  What about taking a risk before one is encumbered with mortgages, kids, and a myriad of responsibilities?

The survey also shows a ten-percentage point drop in the desire to join a firm with high ethical standards, and a nine-percentage point drop in the quest for inspirational management.  If there is one thing I have learned about human motivation, it’s a deep desire to make a difference.  And if there is one thing that I have learned about being fulfilled in an organization, it’s to have aligned values, assumptions, beliefs and expectations.  Yes – money and stability are important, but as Robert Frost famously said, “I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

  • Steve
    Posted at 07:18h, 09 May Reply

    Jan – good post and best wishes to your daughter. I agree 100% about taking the chance and joining a start-up. That environment provides such a great learning opportunity! It’s how I started and grew in my career and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. You get to engage in all the types of activities Millennials seek as well – collaboration, team work, making a difference – fast. One challenge with a start-up is the work-life balance – they tend to be very demanding opportunities. But you can grow and move ‘up’ really quick. A start-up is really great right now too as the economy continues to shift. I believe there is a strong shift back to ‘mom and pop’ type operations. Only they will live in a more virtual environment.

    I’m not posting my website here but if you want to connect @RossLeadership on Twitter.

    Keep up the good work!

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