Listen up gen X'ers

From Wikipedia:
Studies predict that Generation Y will switch jobs frequently, holding far more than Generation X due to their great expectations.
As a proud member of Generation Y I have to say that this prediction holds up. I myself have had at least 8 jobs in the last 10 years (although some were concurrent), and I am not an edge case.

What I don't agree with is the notion that Gen Y will flip between jobs because they are fickle or have "great expectations". The reason is actually quite simple: it's because 99% of employers make absolutely no effort to create an environment that I, and most of Gen Y, want to work in for the rest eternity.

Let's look at some of the common features of the modern workplace:

  • A cupboard full of International Roast, paid for by a social club funded by the employees
  • The opportunity to work unpaid and unrecognised overtime
  • Flexibility to arrive at work +/- 90 seconds of 8:30 am
  • The ability to take annual leave in order to complete study directly relevant to your current job
  • The opportunity to carry around a work phone - just don't make calls on it
  • Criticism for taking the initiative in changing established procedure, even if those procedures are outdated and inefficient
  • Annual performance reviews that will cite you for a lack of initiative 
  • Dirty looks when you try to sort out your insurance over the phone on work time, even if the insurance company will only take calls during work hours
  • Heavily monitored internet access, just to make sure that you are not connecting to other human beings via social networking when you should isolated and staring silently at an Excel spreadsheet
  • Competition for the 6 car parks to be shared between 30 employees
  • Enthusiastic (bordering on aggressive) support for annual training on the occupational health and safety issues surrounding the dangers of not sitting up straight or not maintaining 3 points of contact when walking down stairs
  • Absolutely no support for training on that new software package that you are expected to use on a daily basis to do your job
  • Insert any Dilbert comic strip here...
And Gen X managers wonder why Gen Y employees see little value in signing up to these jobs for life? Seriously!?

Here is the hard truth. If you offer the kind of pay and workplace culture that can be found in 99% of companies, then why wouldn't employees switch jobs on a regular basis?

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