Leveraging Your Career

Industry Survey

Are you happy in your career? Recent studies suggest that you are probably not. Results from a recent Gallup poll (“U.S. Workers Least Happy with Their Work Stress and Pay”, by Lydia Saad for Gallup”) show that while people appreciate their coworkers they are not satisfied with much else. “Less than half of U.S. workers employed full- or part-time feel completely satisfied with most of the aspects of work measured in the Aug. 9-12 survey. In addition to stress and pay, U.S. workers are the least satisfied with their employer’s retirement plan, their chances for promotion, and their health benefits. No more than 35% of workers are satisfied with each of these.” So why stay in a job you where you are unhappy with your pay and prospects for advancing? Lydia Saad offers an explanation. “Although job market conditions have improved in the last three years, they remain challenging, likely causing many workers to be especially grateful to have a job, regardless of the specifics. This may be reflected in the consistently higher percentages of Americans in recent years saying they are completely satisfied with their job. Still, the majority (53%) remain either dissatisfied or only somewhat satisfied.”

Career Focused Millenials

Millennials seem to have a different take on the situation than more seasoned workers. According to Jeanne Meister for Forbes.com (“Job Hopping is the ‘New Normal’ for Millennials: Three Ways to Prevent a Human Resource Nightmare”), younger workers have been conditioned by growing up in a time of economic instability and use view job insecurity as a given. The result is job hopping as an offensive strategy to leverage their career. She goes on to say, “Job hopping can also lead to greater job fulfillment, which is more important to Gen Y workers than it was to any previous generation: A 2012 survey by Net Impact found that 88 percent of workers considered “positive culture” important or essential to their dream job, and 86 percent said the same for work they found “interesting.” Job-hopping helps workers reach both of these goals, because it means trying out a variety of roles and workplaces while learning new skills along the way.”

Rewarding Loyalty?

Those of us older than these savvy job-hoppers were brought up in a paradigm where loyalty is rewarded, and the right way to advance your career is to stay where you are and climb the ladder. But Cameron Keng for Forbes.com illustrates why this way of thinking may be a thing of the past (“Employees Who Stay In Companies Longer Than Two Years Get Paid 50% Less”). “Why are people who jump ship rewarded, when loyal employees are punished for their dedication? The answer is simple. Recessions allow businesses to freeze their payroll and decrease salaries of the newly hired based on “market trends.” These reactions to the recession are understandable, but the problem is that these reactions were meant to be “temporary.” Instead they have become the “norm” in the marketplace.”

So who gets farther ahead in their career? Is it more of a risk to stay and work toward a promotion that may be filled by an outside candidate, or take a chance on starting in a higher level position with a new company and leave whatever seniority you had behind? The Millennials are comfortable with the latter, and market trends may be on their side.

 

-Susan Mitchell

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