There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that a millennial employee should expect to hold anywhere from 15 – 20 jobs throughout their lifetime. Some will hold many more, as shocking as it is to imagine.
Think that’s bunch of hogwash?
Well, the current state of affairs in the American job market shows the average worker (millennial or otherwise) is already up to 12 over the course of a career. Much of this has to do with the emerging “Virtual Marketplace” and “Virtual Workforce” and the subsequent decline of the manufacturing sector.
The days of starting a job when you’re 20 and cozying into a desk chair in the corner office, or standing at your guaranteed place on a production line for a 40 year career are all but gone.
Whether you’re change-averse or have a huge drive toward upward mobility, we’re heading into an era once again where only the strong survive. As a new employee (or someone joining a new team as a result of a promotion/demotion) you need to start each new position strong…
… Not just to cement yourself in firmly as a member of the team, but also to work on your “New Job Muscles” that allow you to adapt and move from one position to the next without too many hiccups that might lessen your desire to move on in the future, when great new opportunities are thrust before you.
I always use the following 5-step approach to start each new position with a bang (you should too):
1. Customer/Client Focus Comes First
Whether you’re in a direct customer service role, or your customer is the CEO of your company, you need to always maintain your eye on the prize. The customer is the reason you have a job, and giving the utmost in service will ensure you always have a place to hang your (real or virtual) hat. If the team you’re working with isn’t customer focused, quickly find a way to create a shift or your job security will always be compromised.
2. Earn Your Way Onto the Team
It’s natural for existing team members to exclude new ones. Much like the new kid in school on the playground in public school, you have to earn their trust and worm your way into the inner circle. The easiest way to accomplish this is by committing to listen more than you talk. By listening, you’ll learn how they work as a team and about the current challenges they’re facing — problems that you can offer a solution to. Never interrupt them while they’re talking — at least until you have their respect. People respect those who listen and abhor narcissism, even if they themselves fit into that category.
3. Give Your Team Strength
If you’re a manager, find ways to give your employees more responsibility and accountability. If you’re a team member, make sure you’re the one giving encouragement and compliments. Don’t be the eternal pessimist or Grumpy Gus of the group. You’ll catch more bees with honey than you will with vinegar after all.
4. Be Accountable for Everything You do
The blame game doesn’t get anyone anywhere and will more than likely hold you back sooner or later. Not only is finger-pointing and excuse-making childish, it breeds negativity. This goes for current issues that exist on the team and issues you may have inherited from the last person to hold your spot. As the old saying goes “suck it up Sally!” We all respect do-ers more than we do whiners, right?
5. Be Flexible
This is just as important when working with your customers as it is with your team. Never let stubbornness get in the way of giving a customer what they want, regardless of company policy. If there’s a way to give them a credit for a product or service they’re not happy with, make it happen — even if the boss wants you to tell them to stick it.
Same with your team members. Sometimes you just know you’re right and you still have to cave in order to keep the peace. Tell yourself you’re putting a few extra karma points in the bank and save the fight until a day when it’s more important. However: if you always give in, nobody will respect you; but if you understand when it’s time to relent and when it’s time to hold your ground, people will regard you with boundless respect.
Check out this recent report compiled by an executive developement firm called Future Workplace and released by the United States Department of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/dol/aboutdol/history/herman/reports/futurework/report/chapter4/main.htm
Here’s a dose of reality for those who’re still on the fence about the fact that technology isn’t eliminating more jobs than it’s creating: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21594264-previous-technological-innovation-has-always-delivered-more-long-run-employment-not-less
Main Image: jamesomalley