Thursday, November 29, 2007

One Week Job

Sean Aiken, 25, has been working one job a week for a year, in an exaggerated version of the common 20something job search. According to the Times's "Life's Work" columnist Lisa Belkin,
"he is like so many of his millennial generation — new workers wavering on the threshold of real life, determined to get it right, they say, and fearful that they might get it wrong."

Or as Penelope Trunk puts it, while Gen Y talks of seeking passion and embracing what is new, that is just brave cover for a less comfortable truth. “The reality is they might prefer one job that would last forever and end with retirement, but that kind of job doesn’t exist anymore,” Ms. Trunk says. “The alternative, the instability, terrifies them. Sean Aiken is an example of how uncertainty and constant change can be O.K..”

Yes and no. It reminds me of an interview I was reading last week with a spiritual teacher named Adyashanti. He talked about how the constant spiritual search can become a substitute for actually arriving--staying with a practice day after day, experiencing a quiet peace without the fireworks of enlightenment. In the same way, the search for "passion" substitutes for what you can actually learn about yourself by sticking with a job for awhile and overcoming difficulties.
But what do I know. I'm just a freelancer.


Anonymous said...

You are hitting on something that touches us all. It is the path and not the destination that counts. But I am a bit tired of hearing about the pangs of these so-called 'new mellennials' and their hesitancy to join the working class. I am especially irritated by authors/journalists (Dr. Twenge comes to mind), who have created this buzz in the corporate world intimating we have to learn how to deal with and accommodate them in the workplace! There is no difference in what they are feeling now than what my grandfather and his father felt back then. At some point in our young adult lives we have to ask ourselves: What can I do to make a living and contribute to the world? Yes technology has impacted/changed how we do things, but we all have to ask ourselves this very personal and emotional question. It's called growing up.

So what is my message to the new mellennials? Guess what, boys and girls, that trophy you won because you participated on a team that got last place, it doesn’t mean you are special. Your life is calling and it wants to get started. Get used to it.

Eric Hensley
The Roaming Recruiter

Anonymous said...

Hey Anya,

Ditto on what Eric is talking about. Part of the eventual downfall of our society will be these punks with this stupid, unfounded sense of entitlement and those who enable them. Life is full of hard knocks and that's what make life worth living - the experience and hopeful lesson learned from those knocks. Our country was built on trying new things and learning from mistakes, and that tradition should go on. So, Caleb/Brianna/Hunter/Caitlyn/Brandon/any other stupid-sounding name, it's time for you to get a six-pack of clues and get out there and start being productive.

My Social Security-funded retirement depends on it ;-)

Scott C, another headhunter

Anonymous said...

I agree with Scott and Eric about the new mellennials needing to suck it up and get to work. However, I also think that if portions of the new mellennials have an over-inflated sense of entitlement it was probably implanted there by someone else. I'd also bet that you'd find a lot less of that attitude from new mellennials that come from working class families.

Anonymous said...

Millennials are having a difficult time transitioning to the workplace, where intellectual challenges and positive feedback are rare.

The day to day grind isn't personally fulfilling for any of us, yet we do what we must to finance stability. We don't have the luxury of living off coddling parents. We can't hide in grad school and then complain when the bill comes due.

There are character lessons found in jobs that are "beneath" you. Lessons in sticking with positions for years to reach bigger goals.

Millennials have too many options that allow them to avoid the scut work, but in the end they are only cheating themselves. Personal pride is earned in unlikely places. The same for compassion.

Try grinding it out for a few years and build a career and a savings. It's far superior to instant gratification.

Anonymous said...

Staying at the same job may not be helpful in career growth. I noticed my peers were not moving up, just sideways. The next company can offer 5-15% more for similar work.

Penelope Trunk is a notorious job hopper. Her piece on girls guide to success in the workplace by accepting sexual harrasment - when did that every work?

Anonymous said...

Here is my response to the first few comments - you are a disease to everyone that reads your posts; an infection of negativity. I feel sorry for your bitterness towards life. It is OBVIOUS none of you ever did something you loved and therefore, you feel everyone should be as miserable with their job as you were (no one is entitled to happiness or a job they love).

I give this kid credit that he is searching for something that will make him happy.

Without happiness, you have nothing. And without a job you love, you won't have happiness. You end up bitter, old, & waiting to retire on social security.

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