I’m a Boomer. Which means I’m the offspring of parents from The Greatest Generation. I was brought up to have a sense of loyalty and was taught not to quit. My mother called it “sticktoitiveness”. My father used plainer English. He simply said, “Once you commit to something, DON’T QUIT”. This was great advice for another generation. In today’s business world loyalty is still valid, but only to a certain extent.
I was hired for a new position in August. Last Friday I resigned. The details are not important. Let’s just say it wasn’t a match. As ridiculous as it sounds, this is the first time I have quit a job — barring a few times early in my career. It comes from a work ethic that is ingrained. I pride myself in staying positive and thinking “It may not be good now but it is going to get better!” This is also known as blind faith.
In recent years the landscape has changed dramatically. When Boomers were out of work and looking for jobs in the 80’s, recruiters considered longevity in one job with one company a good thing. For today’s Millennials, it can be viewed as a negative. Many employers actually prefer candidates with more diverse backgrounds.
In a recent article in Forbes magazine*, Sarah Landrum wrote about Millennials in the workforce:
Job-hopping is in, and being stuck in a dead-end job is on its way out — and that’s good for everyone. Job-hopping millennials are more likely to earn a higher wage, develop their career on a faster track and find a better fit in work culture by changing jobs more frequently. The stigma is lessening as the positives are revealed.
One CareerBuilder survey shared employers expect 45% of their newly hired college grads would remain with the company for under two years, and the study showed that by age 35, about 25% of young employees would have worked five jobs. Employers are aware they’re hiring job-hoppers as millennials find their footing in their career development, learning to make healthy choices rather than staying stuck and unmotivated in a job that’s not beneficial for either the employee or employer.*
My message to all workers is this. Learn what it takes to have an entrepreneurial spirit! I’m not suggesting everyone work for themselves or start their own business. Even if their preference is working for a company, in my opinion, developing the skills of an entrepreneur is of paramount importance. CEO, Matt Ehrlichman, wrote an article for Inc. magazine in 2015*. He mentions five indicators that demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving in someone:
1) They are in-tune with their passion
2) They are always questioning how it can be done better
3) Optimistic about all possibilities
4) They take calculated risks
5) Above all, they execute
Today’s business world is less predictable. It’s important to stay proactive. Always keep your eyes and ears wide open. Learn how to deal with the discomfort uncertainty brings.
Don’t get me wrong. Every new opportunity deserves a chance. Unless a job is negatively affecting your health or your boss is a complete SOB, give it every ounce of energy you’ve got for a minimum of one year. Then reassess. If you see signs of the company’s values not aligning with yours, or it’s clear your boss is not working in your best interest, or if you are finding it hard to get out of bed and go to work, it may be time to develop your plan to leave.
This is the tricky part. In my personal experience, I’d fall back on a convenient excuse. I’d tell myself, “You’re too busy to think about quitting”. I was afraid I couldn’t balance the workload of the job with that of a job search. I thought the distraction of networking and interviewing with other companies would affect my job performance. And, I dreaded quitting. It took me many years to understand that sometimes quitting is the right thing to do.
The words in Kenny Rogers most famous song,The Gambler,sums it up:
You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
*Millennials Aren’t Afraid To Change Jobs, And Here’s Why — Forbes 11/10/2017
*5 Characteristics of Entrepreneurial Spirit — Inc. Magazine 2015