I’m a Millennial, but I Don’t Have Work FOMO

By: Diana Lavery, GattiHR

As Millennials, we have perpetual FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when it comes to, well, anything.

Our friends are going out to a bar, but we’ve put ourselves on a strict “no drinking alcohol” diet. FOMO kicks in. We end up going out since “everyone else is going,” and we’ve gotta hear the latest about Sarah’s and Joey’s recent breakup.

We scroll and scroll and scroll on our social media news feeds in hopes we don’t miss a funny meme or a cute dog playing in the snow so we can send both posts to our group chats.

When it comes to our professional lives, we’ve been tagged with the reputation that we have the same FOMO and commitment issues. We’re Job Hoppers and are always looking for the next best opportunity.

We’ve been bred to believe that 1-2 years at a company is enough “tenure,” and we should move on after that to beef up our resumes, develop more skills, appear more valuable and be more competitive and…. See?! Even our sentences need scroll bars! As a consequence, it’s really rare these days to see a 30-year-old with 8 years of experience from ONE company.

Companies are constantly trying to rebrand themselves to appear more attractive to us Millennials. Nap pods! Kegs of beer in the kitchen! Unlimited snacks! Sweet…. But how does that help me become a better employee? I’m also not sure how taking a nap at work is productive, and I sure as hell don’t need to hear Joe Schmoe snoring in the corner while I’m trying to work.

However, as one of those *almost* 30-year-olds, I’ve learned a couple of things: First, having multiple companies on our resumes isn’t going to get us a better job. Moving from company to company just to “increase our skill set” isn’t going to magically give us new skills. When are we going to learn that?

Second, brands don’t matter — the work matters. I’m not arguing that joining a new company doesn’t offer professional growth. We grow all the time, no matter what we’re doing, even if the work sucks. But I, like many of my Millennial peers, thought I could find a quick fix to my professional goals by joining a bigger, better, more famous and shiny company.

Did I find and accomplish that? No.

Why? Because there’s no easy fix, and running your career well isn’t just about climbing the ladder.

Yes, when I left the small firm for the shiny penny job, I got a nice raise.  I also became a cog in the wheel. I was on the bottom of a very long (albeit, well-paid) ladder where I had to “pay my dues” while my brain turned to mush, instead of hunkering down and taking advantage of the learning and development opportunities that might have been right in front of me at my previous company.

So, I’m not quite 30 yet, and I’m not quite a job hopper, but I am a Boomerang. I went back to the much-smaller firm that I left because I figured out that indeed “a better professional opportunity” is about the work, not about the resume-building.

I’m so happy to re-join an organization where the mantra is, “Get sh*t done.” If you don’t know how to do it, go figure out how to get it done. We’re constantly challenged to think outside the box, collaborate with colleagues who might have more knowledge in a particular problem or by learning new and improving current skills on edX. (P.S. Check out our product TalentBoost that our clients like Hunter Douglas and Benjamin Moore use to help their dealers with recruiting, engaging and developing great teams. #Ad #Sponsored #Influencer #ShamelessPlug).

A recent Gallup poll found that companies are “11% more profitable and are twice as likely to retain their employees” if they have made a strategic investment in employee development. The study also found that nearly 9 in 10 Millennials say “professional development or career growth opportunities are very important” to them in a job, yet a lack of career growth and learning opportunities are top reasons people give for changing jobs.

Employers: What continuous learning and development opportunities do you offer to engage your employees? Here’s some advice from this Boomerang: It’s not about programs, IT’S ABOUT THE WORK! When my Boomer boss started his career at Goldman Sachs, they threw him in the deep end. He had all the responsibility he could handle and great managers to keep him out of trouble. That’s the way my firm operates, and that’s why I came back.

The demand for great talent is at an all-time high now, and the biggest workforce generation is Millennials with Gen Z right behind us. If you’re going to stick us in a corner and tell us to wait our turn, we’re going somewhere else. There are BIG problems to solve and BIG things to work on, and we want to do that work!

That’s not to say that programs aren’t important. What are you doing to get the best of us to come work for you? Do you have mentorship programs? Tuition reimbursement? MOOC access? Brown bags? Workshops? We’re hungry and eager to learn, but sometimes we need your help.

Millennials: I know you’re prepared to do the work, but as the best-educated generation ever (and the student loan debt to prove it), make sure your employers know that, too. Take advantage of any and all resources you’re offered, but also think outside the box, too!

There are plenty of *FREE* opportunities out there besides things your company could pay for. edX offers SO MANY free courses that can help you increase your skill set. You can even purchase an upgraded version of the course, which includes an official certification or credit towards another actual degree.

Your current company may even have internal resources like mentorship programs. Reach out to your direct manager and see if they can lead you in the right direction. If there’s nothing currently in place, take actions into your own hands! Find a colleague you ~vibe~ with, and set up weekly meetings with them to learn what steps they took in their career to get where you want to be.

Be proactive. Take initiative. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take initiative of your own career paths if it’s not already clear. Ask for forgiveness, not for permission, and most importantly… Get sh*t done!

Diana Lavery

Director of Marketing and Sales Research

Diana Lavery is Director of Marketing & Sales Research at GattiHR. She oversees the marketing and communication efforts, along with managing the firm’s business development and sales process. Diana spent 2018-2019 at Manulife Investment Management as a Content Manager in the Marketing Operations department. There, Diana worked with Investment, Product, Compliance and Distribution teams across the globe in order to complete and deliver quarterly marketing and communications materials in order to increase assets under management for the firm. Prior to working for MIM, Diana spent 3 years at GattiHR, leading its marketing and communications efforts.