Archive | July, 2012

Companies Need To Make It Easier For Gen Y to Job-Hop

29 Jul

It used to be that employees would stay at jobs for years and years and years and then they’d die. Or retire. Or whatever came first.

But today, that’s not the case.

Studies have shown that on average, Generation Y workers are staying at jobs for about 18 months. Then, they’re leaving. Because it’s so expensive, the cost of turnover is something that’s really making employers nervous. I, however, don’t think it’s a bad thing. On the contrary, I think it’s wonderful that workers these days want to experience new things and expand their skill sets.

When it comes to Generation Y and turnover, there are a few questions that need to be addressed:

1. Why does this happen? 

This new generation of workers grew up with more options than ever before. We’ve lived with technology our whole lives and that has contributed to our awareness of all of our options. There’s  zero appeal in doing the same thing for the rest of our lives because we want to experience so much. There’s too much to do, too much to see, and we don’t want to be stuck doing any ONE thing, forever.

In addition to this is the fact that our interests are changing. By the time we enter the workforce and hold our first real jobs, our interests are much different than the interests we had when we first entered college. And that’s the problem. From as early as pre-school, people are asking us to decide what we want to do with the rest of our lives. I’m really sorry, but in pre-school, the only profession I could see myself going into is that of being a princess. But as we grow up, our interests change. ALOT.

For example…

I used to hate eating.

Now, this is me…

Also, I used to hate boys.

Today, not so much.

My brother is one of my favorite people.

And this is the love of my life…

Okay, but really, our interests do change. When I first started college, I thought I’d be a Physical Therapist. Then, I got a degree in Health Services Administration, figuring I’d be a hospital executive one day. Today, I can see myself doing a lot of different things. I’ve learned through the past couple of years that I’m passionate about teaching. I’m passionate about leadership and helping people make the best out of the workplace. I’d like to one day write a book. I would love to work in a non-profit some day. I’d love to be a college counselor.

Point is, we only figure out what we like and what we don’t like through time and experience. We shouldn’t be expected to know what our dream job is upon entering the workplace. We shouldn’t be forced to stick to any one job for years and years and years especially if it’s not the best fit for us. Generation Y wants work that engages us and that allows us to explore our different interests using the talents that we have. This is not a bad thing.

2. What can we do about this?

Without a doubt, it’s in a company’s best interest to understand their workers, in this case, Generation Y, because by 2025, 75% of the workforce will consist of these employees. By better understanding their workers, companies can then strategically align employee incentives to ensure that they are able to retain the best talent.

So rather than fighting this issue of turnover, how about employers just go with it? Young workers aren’t interested in having the same job for fifty years. They’re just not. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t want to stay at the same ORGANIZATION for quite some time. What does that mean? Employers can retain employees by making it easier for internal talent to transition to other jobs. They can also do so by allowing employees to belong to different task forces, helping to expand their skill sets on a regular basis. We want to develop, we like varied tasks, and when we express interest in another field, we’d like nothing more than the opportunity to explore that.

Too often, people start off their careers at jobs that they soon realize are not for them. And then what happens? They leave the organization because they figure it’s their only option. At most organizations, it’s really difficult to change jobs. Why? Because every job requires x amount of years of experience in that particular field. If you’ve been busy working at job A, how are you supposed to have x amount of years of experience in job B? You just can’t.

Companies can really do a much better job at providing on-the-job training which would allow employees to pursue other career options without leaving the organization and taking their talents elsewhere. Companies need to make sure that their employees don’t feel stuck. And in order to do that, there exists a need for leaders who guide and mentor other employees, helping them reach their career goals.

3. Why is this a good thing? 

At this point, I’m sure some people are reading this and thinking, “Dude, that’s a lot of work…I hire someone to do a specific job and that’s it. If they don’t like it, they can leave.”

That’s fine. You can choose to feel that way.

But they WILL leave.

And you WILL miss out.

You’ll miss out on talent. And you know what? Your people and their talent are your greatest assets. So use it. Make better use of your talent. If your employees are expending their skill sets, that’s great! Let them! Encourage them! Instead of being proficient in only one area, they’ll now be proficient in many. Isn’t that the goal? To have well-rounded employees? I certainly think so.

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We Really Have No Reason To Be Unhappy

24 Jul

This weekend  kind of sucked.

First of all, we had that crazy idiot who did what he did in Aurora.

This really put things into perspective for me.

Secondly, I was in a car accident. 

Again, this really put things into perspective for me.

Upon entering the workforce, I’ve witnessed a lot of things, both good and bad.

But the one thing that’s been most noticible during my experience with the “real world” is that people are generally unhappy.

People are unhappy about something and/or everything.

ALL.

OF.

THE.

TIME.

This is unfortunate and it’s stupid.

Through my research regarding Generation Y, I’ve been able to find plenty of articles that explain that my generation is the most unhappy of all. During a time in which we’re trying to discover ourselves, we’re faced with so many decisions that need to be made and we don’t know how to make them.

This makes us sad.

This makes us depressed.

Then we’ve got all the other generations…

It seems that at work, complaining about stuff  is the cool thing to do.

“I can’t believe I wasn’t invited to that meeting”

“I hate my boss”

“Jack didn’t cc me on that e-mail. How dare he?”

Really, guys?

If these are the worst of our worries, I think we’re doing okay.

Let’s stop sweating the small stuff, alright?

I think that’ll make the world a much more pleasant place to live in and it shouldn’t take a tradgedy or a near-death experience to realize this.

We should feel grateful for what we have, every day.

So next time you’re unhappy and you’re discussing one of the following:

  1.  how your life is terrible
  2.  how you want to punch your boss in the face
  3.  how your life is over and you have no reason to live

Stop and think for a second.

Then kick yourself for being so dumb.

If you’re reading this, CONGRATULATIONS!

You’re alive and you have eyeballs!

And that, my friends, is enough reason to be happy.

Want Something? Great! Now Ask For It.

17 Jul

There are some days that I fully regret being a grad school student.

Today is one of those days.

I feel like I haven’t slept in weeks, my body is exhausted, and I don’t even want to THINK about any of my assignments.

NOT FUN.

So because I’m a brat and because I need to get rid of some of this stress, I became a member of Massage Envy, where I get a massage every month.

Hey, it was either get a massage every month or go drown my sorrows in alcohol. I’m pretty sure I made a the right choice. Well, at least the choice that’s best for my liver.

Anyway, I just finished getting a massage and dude, it freaking hurt. I mean, this lady dug her hands into my back so hard that it was painful. As I laid there face down with my face in that pillow with a hole in it (which is really uncomfortable, btw), all I kept doing was trying to hold in all the profanities that I wanted to scream.

After about 3 minutes of pure torture, I realized…

I NEED TO TELL HER!

I need to tell her that she’s hurting me. You know why?

Because she’s not a freaking mind reader.

I think too often we believe, we assume, rather, that people know exactly what we want.

*NEWSFLASH*

They usually don’t.

In relationships, it’s the same.

Communicating with our partner is key to getting what we want. We can’t just assume that they’ll know what’ll make us happy. We can’t assume that they’ll know what pisses us off, either (although it would be helpful).

We need to talk about things. We need to communicate. It’s really not that difficult.

And we need to because we can’t read minds (and thank God that we can’t because think about all the terrible thoughts that go through your head sometimes…yea, exactly).

But this concept applies to work too, you know.

Our bosses can’t possibly know what we want all the time. Likewise, our employees can’t know what we expect of them if we don’t communicate these expectations.

I got my first promotion by simply asking for it. I was working as a secretary and I was bored out of my mind. I felt that I could be doing so much more. So nicely, I went to my boss and I told her how I felt. And you know what? She listened. She told me to be patient and that she’d do what she could to see that I was given more responsibility. Within a few months, she had created a new job for me and I was promoted. I was so grateful.

But you see, I could have remained frustrated at my job. I could have held in all my feelings and been mad at my boss and felt under appreciated. I could have done those things. But you know what? My boss would have never known how I felt. She would have never thought there was anything wrong and I wouldn’t have been given that new position.

If you want something badly enough, you have to ask for it.

Because usually, it’s not going to be handed to you. It’s really not.

There are way too many people that want what you want and there are way too many people that want for you to NOT get what you want (hope you enjoyed reading that sentence!)

Figure out what you want, then ask for it, nicely. That’s the only way you’re ever going to get it.

And if it doesn’t work out, well, just go get a massage. But make sure you don’t let your masseuse torture you.

“The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he’s going” – Unknown.

Random Ramblings on Being A Young Adult & The Importance of Vision Boards

8 Jul

Sometimes I  don’t know what’s wrong with me.

You see I think, a lot.

About life.

About love.

About my past.

About my future.

And a lot of times, it’s unsettling.

Growing up is hard. A lot harder than I ever expected.

I think back to when I was younger and I hear my mom telling me, “Slow down. Stop trying to grow up so fast.”

I thought she was crazy. Why would I NOT want to be a grown-up? There was nothing I wanted more.

The past few years have been hard for me. But at the same time, they’ve been a gift.

Being a young adult is unsettling. It’s unsettling in every way possible. In every way imaginable.

There’s no rule book.

And on top of that, more than 75% of what we’re taught in high school and college is pure crap. Stuff we’ll never need to know.

We graduate and we’re left to figure out the things that we DO need to know.

We’re left to figure out what our world means to us. We’re left to discover what and how we wish our lives to be.

We’re left to figure out what we want to do. Who do we want to be?

And before we do that, we’re figuring out, every day, who we actually are.

There’s nothing scarier.

But although it’s scary, there’s nothing more beautiful.

This is the time when we get to create. We get to create everything.

Our careers.

Our friendships.

Our relationships.

Our future.

How do you want your life to be? Think you have an idea? Great!

Now go and take steps every day to make that happen.

Dont’ stop until you get there.

And believe me, you’ll know when you get there.

I have a problem sharing things. Sometimes this is bad. We’re taught as early as preschool that we need to share. We can’t be selfish. Being selfish is bad.

But not now. Not when you’re a young adult. Not when you’re trying to create a future for yourself.

Make decisions.

Make decisions for yourself.

You’re the one that will have to live with them, so make sure they’re not for anyone else. It’s okay to be a bit selfish.

This time in our lives can be the best if we choose to make it that way.

But that’s not to say that it’ll be easy.

It won’t be easy.

Because as focused as you are on your vision for your life, for your future, there will be times where you lose sight of where you’re going.

You’ll question everything.

You’ll freak out.

You’ll cry in your room and eat ice cream.

You’ll hope no one finds out.

This is the time that you’ll need to focus the most on what you want. You’ll have to remember who you are and where you want to be.

And that’s why it’s important to create for yourself a vision board. So you don’t forget these things.

I have one. A virtual one. It’s here if you’d like to check it out.

It’s a place where I keep all the images of things that inspire me. Things that I’d love to achieve one day. Quotes that resemble my feelings about life. It’s where I go to dream. It’s where I go to think.

But most importantly, it’s where I go when I start to question my life. It’s where I go when I forget what I’m working towards. It’s where I go when I lose myself in the craziness of life.

And I find myself, again, every time.

Teaching Gen Y How to Lead: Why We Can’t Afford Not To

2 Jul

I could probably spend a whole day annoying people about all the things that I’m passionate about. But since most people have an average attention span of about 2.7 seconds, I won’t do that.

Instead, here’s a list of my top three interests:

  • Leadership
  • Youth Development
  • Food

Yes, I freaking like food, okay?

But this isn’t a post about food.

It’s about the fact that employers are doing a terrible job a cultivating proper leadership within their organizations.

I have a problem with the fact that organizations don’t start leadership training sooner.

Don’t get me wrong, many companies have wonderful on boarding programs that aim to teach new leaders how to handle conflict and how to deal with difficult employees (like me, sometimes).

But here’s the problem…

Professionals are being taught how to be leaders at the time when they’re already expected to fill these roles.

What organizations should be doing is training individuals how to lead BEFORE they’re in leadership positions.

This will allow them to be more successful.

Come on, people. Let’s be proactive, not reactive. Would that be so bad?

As a young professional in the workforce, it’s frustrating to see that knowledge in general is usually reserved for the “elite”… for supervisors and above.

How annoying is that?

Very.

Look, as a member of GenY, I know that we have a tendency to annoy those older and more experienced than us because we’re seen as hungry and ambitious when we enter the workforce.

I get it.

But the beautiful thing about many of us young professionals is that we WANT TO LEARN.

So if you’re smart, you’ll teach us.

Leadership seminars are great. I find them quite interesting. But more often than not, this is the attitude held by most organizations. “Oh, there’s a leadership training? Sorry, you can’t go. You’re not a supervisor. You’re not a manager. Maybe next year.”

Okay. So we’re not yet in leadership positions. We’re not supervisors. We’re not managers. We’re not the CEO. We don’t own this place.

But that doesn’t mean that we’re not leaders.

And most importantly, it doesn’t mean that there’s no value in preparing us to lead, before we fill those positions.

Tell me, would you train a surgeon how to perform a procedure while his patient is bleeding out on the operating room table?

Not so much.

The same principle applies to leadership development.

Strong leadership is what sets great organizations apart from the rest. It’s the difference between engaged employees and employees that hate their lives and make everyone else miserable because of it.

For this reason, we can’t afford to wait until employees fill leadership positions to teach them how to be leaders.

There’s too much at stake.

Successful organizations understand this. They understand the value of leadership at all levels. And most importantly, they understand the importance of developing and investing in young workers.

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