Saturday, February 13, 2016

My comments on: Have Millennials Made Quitting More Common?

My comments on: Have Millennials Made Quitting More Common?

I'm not a Millennial, and nearing 50. I am one of those people who might be considered "disloyal" by those who presume blind loyalty to an employer is a positive trait in an employee.

I need to feel passionate about my work.  Paying the bills works for shorter term contracts, but if I'm going to be employed for any length of time I need to feel what I am doing is valuable beyond the salary.  Such a large part of our lives is spent at work, and I want work-life integration and not simply work-life balance.

I could be considered disloyal to one of my previous longer-term contracts because I believed that millions of dollars of taxpayer money was being wasted because government lawyers and other policy makers refused to make important data sets open access.  This was data that the government collected, and which Canadian farmers needed access to.  Inexpensive (some free-libre) technology tools to access the raw data exist for farmers to use, and all that was needed was to make the data sets open.  Instead, massive amounts of taxpayer money was being spent to create a website which offered restricted access to that data.   This included the large consulting fees I was being paid that was then marked up by 3 different intermediaries between me and the government. (Since the "accountability" brought in after the "sponsorship scandal", my observation has been that government waste has gone up rather than down).

I believe what my current employer is doing has very high social value and I feel pride in what the organization is trying to accomplish.  The salary is much lower than what was being extracted from taxpayers in that previous contract, but when I add the salary plus the pride it has almost always come out on top.  I have turned down multiple offers over the years to return to the previous position.

Where what some might consider disloyalty comes into my current position is that I'm not shy to express to others, including those above me in the organization chart, when I feel priorities aren't aligned or that the organization is being distracted by scope-creeping side-projects.  I have strong loyalty to the goals of the organization, but don't have blind loyalty to the hierarchy within the organization.

I started in my current position as a consultant just over 5 years ago (anniversary in January), and was converted from a consultant to staff in late August 2011.  Before that I was a self-employed consultant since 1995, where contacts that didn't reflect my values were short-term.  Will I celebrate 10 or more years at my current job? (there are people that have been here for over 37 years)  My core values have been consistent throughout my career, but I doubt it will be my personal values changing that would lead to a decision on my part to look elsewhere.

Are "Millennials" feeling similar, where they evaluate their employers as much as employers might evaluate them, and explore other career options when their evaluation of their employer falls short?  I started my self-employed business in 1995 because I was unhappy with a string of employers early in my career, and it would feel like a career setback to go back to consulting.


Note: I recently started participating more on LinkedIn .  I have found it interesting and flattering that recruiting calls,  emails and other contacts have increased. I was on to add recommendations and confirm skills of one of two colleagues that were recently laid off for budgetary reasons, and it was not at all an indication I'm planning on moving onward.
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