Opinion: Swiping to the right career

For some of us, our li­v­es are spent in the que­st of the perfect partn­er, while for others it’s in fin­d­ing the most ideal and fulfilling career. In the balance scale of life, we are constantly at a tug of war to reach eq­u­ilibrium, especially amidst a new world order of endless opportunity that is only a few clicks away. For young graduates who are accustomed to having easy access to just about everything, from favo­u­r­ite foods, to booking a mo­vie or class or holiday, to even finding the right partner, their next job should then be just moments away.

In a world of increased ea­se, instant gratification and simplicity, how can they swi­pe right in seconds to hit up­on the ideal career? As org­a­n­isations work overtime to ha­ve their cultures, workpl­a­ces and more attuned to this millennial or Gen Z mindset, they continue to struggle to recruit and retain talent. In fact, according to estimates, the average time a millennial spends in a job is 20 months. The proliferation of the gig economy, the rise of co-working spaces and the advent of startups to unicorns has further exacerbated the mundanity of a 9 to 5 desk job.

Whether its tindering or careering, for the millennial job seeker the extent of the quest is the now. How then, do you as an employer, a ma­n­ager or a parent focus on to­day while still swiping right to their ideal career? In my experience of working with millennials on their career development, some key areas that we need to hone to strike the right kind of deal are:

Define who they are: Wh­ile education institutions are focused on academic succe­ss, corporate team leaders on RoI and parents on just keeping the peace, who works wi­th these young graduates on trying to make sense of who they are? Whether on Tinder or Naukri, the seemingly sta­n­dard first question of “tell me more about you” is what ne­eds to be made sense of in terms of their motivations, va­lues, strengths and intere­s­ts. It will enable them to dig deeper and align their pu­rp­o­se with their career tr­a­je­ctory for greater fulfillment.

Why timing is everything: In this world of instant gratif­i­cation, there is a natural te­n­dency to swipe left when an­ything doesn’t go accordi­ng to plan. Millennials are ea­sily disappointed, dishea­r­t­ened, impatient and fearl­e­ss. While employers/manag­ers/parents need to unders­t­and that, inculcating the understanding of the import­a­n­ce of timing is quite essenti­al. If you are on a 20-month itch, make sure the balance scale is skewed to long-term advantage.

Earning money vs crafti­ng a career: It’s one of the key tugs of wars when it co­m­es to attracting and retaining the millennial jobseeker.  Wi­th the appeal of the gig, ba­lancing the millennial ne­ed for earning money today, vers­us crafting a career in a constantly evolving world, is the eternal challenge for firms & families. Rationalise it with the millennial jobseeker. 

What makes it a winning hand: Like with dating, in the workplace, there needs to be something for everyo­ne. Get a network of inspiri­ng mentors or career coaches in place to work with the millennials on striking the right deal of what the emplo­yer puts on the table vs how much value they add to the organisation.

Keep it cool: It’s importa­nt to dance in the moment wi­th the millennial jobseeker. In this disruptive world, th­ere is little interest in the pe­rils of the past and much mo­re focus on the today. Ma­ke it relevant, relatable and current. They don’t need another nag after all!

(The writer is founding partner of Edpower-U, a trained executive coach, author and corporate advisor)