One of the most common criticisms of my generation is that we are an entitled and impatient bunch, always looking for the next adventure and never settling for the mundane nor prepared to withstand discomfort.
I could confidently supply several legitimate counter-arguments here but for the purposes of this specific post, I am going to accept and agree with the above. Because I am not afraid to acknowledge the truth of it – many of us are impatient and believe we deserve more than what life presents to us in any given moment.
I have observed this in my peers and experienced it for myself first hand: the struggles of first finding opportunities, then earning respect and ultimately, acquiring a sense of purpose and meaning especially when it comes to our jobs and career paths. Many of us Millennials feel both ill-equipped for the world, whilst also recognising how the world is ill-equipped to handle and accommodate our needs and desires.
In just the first 2 years of my full-time entry-level job, I remember well the onset of my restlessness, the feeling I had already learned all that I can, how the corporate environment did not suit me and why I believed a sea change was imperative. I tried to resign from that job, twice. I explained to my boss the reasons, one being that I felt overlooked given the promotions happening around me to peers in the same role. He vowed to provide more opportunities for me to progress and thrive. So I stayed another 4 years and I’ve never regretted it.
Without that job, there would be no way I’d be confident and courageous enough to do what I do now. To write about my experiences here on this blog. To share my insights on my podcast. I would have missed out on the experiences that came after and because of that job, all of which have contributed to my entrepreneurial endeavours and to the dreams and goals that I have right now.
Spending 6 years in the one workplace is a rare occurrence for many young people, it’s more of a trend to do a 1-2 year stint, depending on when one starts to feel the itch to pursue greener pastures. This was the case in the corporate media world, with staff turnovers occurring at a rapid rate during my time there. Again, there were and are legitimate reasons for junior staff resigning (not everyone is suited to the dynamic competitiveness of such an industry), but I’ve noticed how entitlement and impatience play a part in hindering young people from real growth and long-term success.
Whether it is because of pure boredom or fierce ambition, the desire to find a better job than your current job can often be motivated by a sense of entitlement. In this rich land we live, most of us are privileged with the choice to leave what is difficult, what is uncomfortable and what doesn’t meet our standards for wealth or enjoyment.
We have an escape plan from boring jobs because we are blessed to have other choices.
It has been interesting for me to interact with young people – whom even in a year riddled by economic chaos due to a global pandemic – have considered leaving their current jobs in search of possibly better ones. It is fascinating to bear witness to a generation that prioritises meaningful and fulfilling work over stability and simplicity. To be part of that generation myself.
Still, this is where we must learn to accept the criticism of our entitlement. For our own good.
It’s an insight I share with all of the youth that I work with and something I’d like you to take note of too: there is nothing in this world that is perfect or certain, no matter how green the grass looks on the other side. Please do dream big, seek improvement and strive for greatness, but stop making the mistake of thinking that what you ultimately desire, comes without its costs.
The costs are hard work, courage, patience, humility, unwavering passion and determination. And more often than not, these will require you to stay in the same place, both figuratively and literally. Sticking out a job for more than one year will help teach you what you are truly capable of. There is always more to learn, no matter how much you think you already know. Learn to grow where you are planted. Find ways to water and tend to the seeds.
Avoid the rush to ‘get there’, to ‘achieve success’ or ‘reach the peak’ as if there is certainty of success once you make it to the top. Because building a meaningful career is about more than attaining success through the lens of society’s expectations. It is about what you choose to do in the garden you find yourself in at this very moment.
Will you be spending your time planting new flowers until you need to find new land?
Or will you be dreaming about the flowers already blooming in the garden next door?
You have the choice. And you have all the tools.