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Millennials Are Killing Job Complacency

How the “job-hopping” trend benefits young employees and the companies they leave

“Congratulations to Janet on eight years with the company!”

Even summer interns were looped into company emails. I remember looking at it and feeling a sense of shock, quickly followed by panic. As an intern, I was a hot new commodity. I couldn’t imagine staying somewhere for eight years.

That’s apparently a millennial thing.

Millennials continue to be the world’s focus group. As we grow older, our every move as a generation is perceived as almost prophetic, a broadcasting of how the world will change. The consensus among our predecessors is that we’re changing it for the worse. We’re restless, picky, demanding, entitled, selfish and noncommittal — especially when it comes to jobs.

The expectation is to land a job and keep that job for 30-plus years, to sit at that desk like my supervisor and receive that email once a year, every year, until they finally put your name under the “Best Wishes for the Future” headline and you retire. My grandfather did that. My father did that.

I’m not going to do that.

According to a 2017 Deloitte Millennial survey, 38 percent of millennials plan to leave their current employer in under two years. This occurrence is called “job-hopping,” a trend that older generations denounce as a manifestation of our restlessness. It’s also dropped 6 percent since last year.

Forbes offers up a simplistic, almost needling explanation for this phenomenon, stating in a February article that we are “no longer the young, carefree crowd lingering at the local coffee shop,” but rather, “mature adults responding to changes in their personal lives and in global realities.”

That description implies that job-hopping is something that should be grown out of.

On a professional level, job-hopping fosters innovation, creativity and growth. You’re doing a lot in a short amount of time and are more motivated to do it well. A new job is a new honeymoon phase, where every day is a challenge to outdo what you did yesterday. Millennials can repeat this feeling over and over again when they change jobs.

In actuality, it’s security employers should be wary of. It breeds complacency. Employees who have been with companies for over 20 years tend to put down their roots and lose initiative. I saw my father fire a long-time employee because he was habitually failing to meet company standards. The man felt that seniority ensured job immunity.

On a personal level, job-hopping cultivates time management and organizational skills. A millennial searching for the next opportunity needs to be on top of things. The job market now demands that we be so much more than one thing. How can we hope to be the ideal candidate without experience? Jumping from job to job keeps us on our toes, keeping our current skills sharp and honing our new skills into something palatable for the next.

Maybe job-hopping is a millennial thing. What I’ve found is that, like most millennial things, it tends to catch on. So I will not be vilified for my unwillingness to settle. Rather, I will be vindicated in my assurance that I will never receive an anniversary email — because I strove to do more.