TWELVE JOBS? Wow! Minimum? Double Wow!
Gen-X’er (there’s a new name for my generation now!) Xennial and when I was growing up my Dad (a slightly pre-Baby Boomer) and I sat down and had a long chat about job prospects: What would be expected of me in the workplace and what a career life would look like for me.
My Dad had been in the same job for 25 years at that point – and in fact he stayed with the same company (albeit under different business names) until he retired. His total time in the company? 57 years!
Back in the 1990s, my Dad had already worked out that a “Job For Life” wouldn’t exist for my age group but he thought that my brother and I may go through 3-4 jobs in our lives.
For the record I’m on my sixth job but only my first career change, my brother (who is a couple of years younger than me and just misses out on the Millenial Monniker) is on his Second job and second career change.
What got my attention was reading an advertorial by an “Entrepreneur” who has worked as a choreographer, writer, some form of financial adviser and in publishing.
Do these jobs have anything in common? Not in the slightest! Does this mean that this individual can advise me on how to set up and run a business? I don’t see how if they can’t hold down a job in the same industry for more than 5 minutes.
When I moved jobs, I moved from one web development job to another either up or down the management scale depending on my need of a job, my interest in the job and how I felt I would fit in with the company (oh, and money may have been a factor too!). I now work in retail (I’ve always had part-time retail jobs of some description) to bring some cash in whilst giving me the flexibility to work on this blog and my own web development company as well as a few other ventures I have in the pipeline.
My problem with this current trend in job-hopping is how can you be an expert on something when you keep on swapping jobs before you’ve had a chance to get to grips with the role and what it entails? And then you move to a job that seems to have very little in common with anything else you’ve done.
I know I’ll upset a fair few of you with this view: You’ll argue that any job is better than no job. And do you know what? I whole-heartedly agree with you. But, do you also know what? All those jobs don’t make you an expert so please don’t profess to be one.
I see so many people online touting their courses based on their “extensive business knowledge in multiple disciplines”. Do you know what impresses me more? Being able to stick at a job even though you have arseholes for clients and an idiot for a boss. That’s where you get your real experience.
I’ve been building websites since 1999 (yes, Ladies and Gentlemen I am that old). I’ve worked for some of the biggest companies in the U.K and Europe. I’ve worked for Multi-nationals and small one-man-band companies. I’ve worked on projects worth $100 and jobs worth $800,000+. Why do I tell you this? Not to blow my own trumpet but in fact the opposite: I may have almost thirty years experience but I would never call myself an expert.
Maybe I’m selling myself short, maybe I’m lacking confidence, or maybe I just want to get on with a job without lording it over others with a (fake) sense of superiority.
We all feel that we have something that we’re good at, and that we feel we can impart knoweledge on but the market seems to be getting over-saturated with people who think that can offer some form of advice with little or no knowledge to back them up.
You might think that I’m a fine one to talk as I offer an email course and an e-book but both of those are not only based on 30 year experience but numerous expensive courses my bosses put me through (thanks by the way – appreciated!) but I don’t see how the millenial “entrpreneurs” can justify selling their courses to me when they haven’t even lived.
There seems to be a shift in companies at the moment promoting younger and younger people into management. In a way this is great: they bring a new persepective and freshness to a psoition however they have no real-world experience and don’t know how to deal with themselves, let alone what their customers or staff need or want.
Additionally the problem is that these young managers don’t garner the respect of older employees who wonder why they’re in the position they are, and the younger managers don’t know how to relate to their older staff on a meaningful level.
It would appear that us Gen-X’ers are getting overlooked: Too old for Management Positions, Not Old Enough for Directorships. We’re stuck in the bermuda triangle of limbo-management. We’ve already gone through the palaver of applying for management positions, done the embarrising interviews and horrendous team-building and now, having moved to a new company in a lower-ranking role thanks to the enconomy have to go through the whole lot again.
Whereas we get the Gen-Y’ers who pop from one company to another happy to reinact the same thing as it’s safe and familiar (and presumable they can use the same props for their 3D Resume). Give them 5 more years and I think they’ll be even more jaded than us Gen-X’ers!
What am I trying to say? All of you who class yourselves as millenials please don’t discount us “oldies”. We’ve not had an easy time of it – we had to deal with a time without iPhones or the Internet! We’ve also had to try and live up to our Parent’s ideals of an “almost” job for life and have them try to understand remote-working is not slacking and I can do work from a phone whilst I’m spending time with them. They don’t get that the internet can be a real-job but by the same token you need to understand that there are other jobs than just working on the internet.
Please also understand that you’re young enough to be my child. Your 3 different jobs in retail (which you proudly announce as Customer Service Executive roles), two secretarial jobs (Executive Assistant Positions) and working for the N.Y.S.E as a cleaner (Stock Exchange Floor worker) which you stretch the job title for do not make you better than me, nor more experienced. They just make you come across as a bit of a brat and that can’t hold a job down.
Amongst your peers they may admire your random career flits but I’m sorry, I think you need to knuckle down and understand that just because a job pisses you off one single day it doesn’t give you the right to leave: Millenial up and try to stick it out for a change.
When I was growing up everyone was after their 15 minutes
of fame, now everyone is after their 15 Seconds of fame. Please don’t lower your expectations of yourself – you’re worth more that that. Don’t be afraid to stick something out – in this unclear job climate you can’t expect to walk from job-to-job, and of you stick it out maybe you can pick up some much needed experience too.