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Friday, November 14, 2008

Gen Y's Career Reaction: Fight or Flight

So much has been said about Generation Y's tendency to hop scotch from job to job and how it is becoming an accepted annoyance by employers. Coming from someone who has had more jobs than he can count since graduating college, I feel strange about this new normality.

First off, the reason I had lots of jobs after graduating college was because no one would hire me. For whatever reason, my experience and persona didn't fit the type of jobs that I was applying to and I was forced to work freelance and odd gigs whenever and however I could. Whenever an interviewer asked me why I hadn't stayed anywhere very long I wanted to slap him and her and scream "do you think I had a choice in that?"

That being said, today I find myself in a pretty good, fast paced job that is giving me progressive responsibility and learning potential. I am making it work and I don't feel the need to run out of the door tearing out my hair every day (how about that?). I have been here since April and come next month that will have been 8 months on the job. My last job which was in human services was easy but the lack of challenge left me unhappy. I spent 9 months there before my employer and I had just about enough of each other. Now I am starting grad school with tuition reimbursement from work and I see promise for my position within this particular company. I hope to stay for a few years and put some time in.

When I was going from job to job, it wasn't a pleasant experience at all. I craved some sort of stability. Although I know some people my age thrive off a challenge and a frantic lifestyle, I feel there is a certain quality that people who leave jobs often are missing. Not that you need to be a lifer at any given company, but I feel true experience and mastery can only come with several years of exposure to a topic and task.

That being said, I am an opportunist as many folks I know are. So nothing is out of bounds career wise, but having a steady job sure beats going on an interview every few weeks and having to answer the question "so I see you have jumped around from job to job a lot. Why is that?"

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