The Most Important Job, Is the Job You Have NOW

In Business by Joe SweeneyLeave a Comment

In this world where technology has the ability to change things so quickly, it has also made a profound impact on shortened attention spans. As a result, employees are now less likely to spend time with a company for the long-term. A generation or two ago, it was not uncommon for employees to commit to one employer, even one particular job with that employer. However, tenure of employees is dropping and has hit record lows in recent years. The fact of the matter is that the average person now has 13-14 jobs in their life.

Many considerations such as the recession, technology and more have all had an impact on a company’s loyalty to their workforce. Many have been forced to give way to the bottom line and the most current standards for driving shareholder value. Once this transition occurs, employees and job seekers realize their need to look after themselves. This outlook is much different than it was 50 years ago when someone would go to work for a business, get a gold watch after 25 years, and stay for 35+ years.

The key factors affecting job tenure in the United States have stemmed from advancements in information technology and the Internet. While some may assume having a long tenure with an employer makes you a more attractive candidate, the truth now is that sometimes too much of the same thing, isn’t a good thing. Career progression, improved scope and responsibility make for a more marketable candidate. Here are a few interesting statistics to consider in regard to employed Millennials:

  • By 2020, 40% to 50% of all income-producing work will be short-term contracts and freelance work
  • The length of a career is already averaging 48 years; by 2020 it will be 50+ years
  • 91% of millennials expect to stay at a job for less than three years
  • Considering these stats, millennials will experience 15 – 20 career changes in a lifetime.

In addition to people going through a transition in their career, I do a lot of talking to students, faculty and administration at colleges and universities. The most common theme in the talks I have with individuals and groups is the importance of focusing on the ability to network and connect with others. If you are someone who may be looking for a job 1 year, 5 years, and/or 10 years out – networking and connecting with others is critical. One other key message I like to stress is this: Do not dismiss the importance of the job you have right NOW. Here’s an example why:

A few years ago, I took part in an important board of directors meeting where the group strategized about the company’s need for expanded growth into Mexico. Why Mexico? Because a lot of the people who were buying their product, were building manufacturing plants in Mexico. The challenge that we had was to find someone who understood Spanish, could put together the sales brochures and talk to the connections in Mexico to help get our strategies and tactics put into place.

The meeting took place over lunch at a restaurant north of Milwaukee. A very engaging young man named Hector, who happened to be Hispanic, was our waiter. I asked him a little about his background and goals, and learned that he was graduating college and in the process of looking for a job. I asked what he wanted to do after school and he said, “I’d like to find a company that is looking for someone to help bridge the English/Spanish challenge.” Ironically, what he described was exactly the challenge our board members were discussing at lunch that day. We invited Hector to sit down and talk with our group. That short chat during his restaurant serving shift resulted in Hector being hired as an intern, and later as a full-time position marketing assistant helping the company open their operation in Mexico.

My point in sharing this story is that the job you are in now, may matter more than you know. Whether you’re a cocktail waitress, bartender, doing landscaping part time, or work as a sales professional – what people notice and remember is the energy and enthusiasm you display at any job. Smart employers know that all those important traits are easily transferable.

Is your inability to network and connect with others holding you back from attaining your ideal career? Check out my “Get Out There & Introduce Yourself” worksheet filled with tips and key points to keep in mind when introducing yourself to others.