Job Advice to “Gen Y”

The posting was evoked by a blogger whose writing I consider to generally be excellent.  I recommend you visit her site

That link will take you to her most recent post about Gen Y job hopping.

I am 63 years old and have been retired for over 5 years now.  In my lifetime have held a total of six different full-time jobs.  My last job lasted 19 years and gave me the means to retire both early and comfortably.

Were you to see my resume’, in addition to those six full-time jobs, you would see that I am a US Army veteran, have a B.S. degree and a Master of Arts degree.  But even though my master’s degree is from an extremely well thought of university, I would not want to be looking for a job in today’s market.

When I speak to young people today I always advise them to do a job that thrills them, and not to settle for something that just makes good money.  I tell them that they should look forward to going to work every day and if they do not, they should reconsider the decisions they have made thus far.  It is too easy to lay the blame for not liking a job at the employer’s feet.  The fact is, for most of us we sought out them to employ us.  We went to them.  They did not come to us.  It is not enough to say “I can do this job” but you have to be able to say “I can do this job and it meets most of my requirements for my own personal success and for my future desires.”

In my last job I had to work for a few bosses who were less than wonderful, who were jerks.  But I still performed to the best of my ability and then maneuvered myself within the company into a better position and a better boss.  It is up to you to not only meet the expectations of the job into which you are hired, but to inform your boss of your personal expectations from him and the company, particularly when those needs are not being met.  Personal responsibility is key to personal success.

One of the qualities that makes a person particularly desirable to a prospective employer, beyond your formal education, are the special skills you bring to the table.  It is rare that you cannot specialize within your chosen career field, and if you cannot then possibly  you need to reconsider your career choice.  Figure out the niche you like and that is attractive to your employer and then get him to pay for it.  Most will.  Such skills gain you leverage not only within that company, but with prospective employers in your future.  For example, I worked in aviation safety and was considered a “subject matter expert” in certain aspects of aircraft.  I became that by doing the laborious and tedious work of learning as much as I could about a very specific aspect of my job.  That is both highly desirable by a present employer and as a selling point to a prospective employer.

I know from experience that career fields become a small circle of colleagues and your expertise within your field of choice becomes a matter a basic public knowledge over time.  That does not mean everyone knows your name, but it means that by presenting a small set of facts you become both a known a desirable quantity.

People who job hop cannot gain long-term skills.  As time passes, job hoppers become less and less desirable to companies.  A person is judged by their history.  Good managers budget for years in advance and they have little desire to employ a person who has shown a propensity to leave a job after a short time.

Any company that plans in the long-term does not want high turn-over, and certainly will not plan for such.  Most companies hope that once a person reaches the age of 30 he has gotten a grasp on what he wants and will stay in his job for the long-term.  Before you think of job-hopping, consider how you are going to look to a prospective employer.  It is expected you will change jobs, just do not make a habit of it.



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