Imagine turning down a job offer based on the lack of social good your potential employer is doing in the world. Imagine quitting your job because executive management lacks focus and discipline.
With a generation of employees focused more on mission than money—and more on experience over job title, these once unimaginable career decisions are becoming more and more commonplace.
The other day, Ben announced he was quitting his job after only nine months. It was his first corporate gig. He was making good money for his age, and being given a lot of responsibility—well beyond his agreed upon role. But he was fed up with management’s seeming inability to manage him properly—they just didn’t know how to listen to him—which was a key motivator for Ben. He had given them an immediate ultimatum to shape up, or he’d ship out. They told him they’d get back to him in 90 days. He told them he’d clear out by the end of the day.
Despite the 3 million+ Americans who are out of work, and the bushels of unemployed or underemployed college graduates, more and more 20-somethings and 30-somethings are opting for a purpose, passion, and mission in their life’s career, over the “a good day’s work for good day’s pay” mentality.
The days of patiently waiting for a 5% promotion, or sticking with an energy-sucking job just to get your end-of-year stock options are behind us. We no longer wait to be tapped on the shoulder to climb another useless wrung on the corporate ladder.
Today, we work for the experience, and hope for challenging projects. We look at jobs as “assignments” rather than lifelong employment contracts. While the early Baby Boomers stayed at jobs for 10, 20, or 30 years, today’s average company tenure 1.5 years.
I remember the first time I was left jobless. I never conceived a world where I did not have a job to go to, and a guaranteed paycheck at the end of the week. But I soon discovered that managing my own happiness was better than being managed by a tyrant. I was the man. I didn’t want to work for the man.
Now, of course, we all work for someone else—whether we are “self-employed” or a corporate pencil pusher. But the freedom to know you can walk away from work environments which do not fulfill your life’s purpose is a powerful, self-confident, self-determining, self-satisfying feeling that we should all aspire to have.
We may not be able to work in jobs where the company’s mission is to save the planet, or work for a boss that behaves exactly as we’d like, but we do have the power to choose who we work for, and for how long, based on how the experience fulfills our life’s mission.
And as for Ben, I say he made the right decision. My advice to him was the same I give myself: I don’t demand that my boss takes my advice, but I do demand that he listens to it.
Angry Boss image courtesy of Shutterstock