As a Millennial in today’s professional world, I hear a lot of discussion about loyalty (or the lack thereof) to a particular job or company. Frankly, I hear a lot of Baby Boomer conversations about Millennials, but loyalty is the particular issue I want to address in this post. Many older professionals are under the impression that all professional Millennials do is hop from job to job, with no regard to the company they’re leaving behind. I don’t think I can say it loud enough, so please fully open your ears and listen when I say that just isn’t true.
Sure, I know plenty of people my age who have switched jobs recently… but it wasn’t simply because they were offered more money. In fact, I even know someone who turned down a job offering her more money in favor of staying with a company she loves working for (she’s 25). So it’s not money us Millennials are after… it’s opportunity, growth, culture, and work/life balance we want, among other things. And all those things come before money. We are more than willing to leave a company not providing any of those things to us in favor for one that does.
I am lucky enough to work for a smaller, family-owned and operated company where they value their employees, their development, and their work/life balance. It would make my life a whole lot easier if I had no qualms about leaving this company (read more about that here) but unfortunately, I’m majorly defying the Baby Boomer expectation of having no company loyalty… I really don’t want to leave my job! I am realistic in knowing I probably won’t be with this company for the rest of my career, but leaving won’t be a decision I take lightly or make easily.
Millennials are not hopping from job to job with no regard to the companies being left behind. In fact, a Millennial’s decision to leave a company consists of a lot more factors than just money. We want the opportunity to learn and grow on a personal and professional level; we want to fit in to a great culture where we are valued and appreciated; we want a balanced professional and personal life; we want to be challenged… and we are willing to go where ever we have to go in order to get those things. Even if it means leaving a dead-end, full-time, salary job we just started three months ago for an exciting, open-ended internship opportunity.
There are exceptions to every rule, so please don’t judge an entire generation based on a handful of unmotivated and entitled grown-up children, and instead form an opinion based on your personal interactions and experiences… I guarantee your opinions will change, especially of Millennials already in professional roles. After all, Millennials don’t think Gen X-ers are all crazy, dirty hippies based on a few old photos we found in our parents’ closets, do we?