Recently while considering the need for, and value of, mobility in the workforce, I asked one of my millennial friends to share her perspective on this subject with me. Because my friend is educated and bright, her thoughtful response did not surprise me. Still, it informed me through a different set of eyes. Here’s what she shared: “I find that many of my peers don’t really ‘get it’ that they must be able to fit the environment they work in, and not force the environment to fit them. Especially my friends who have been hired into entry level positions.” She reminded me that, as she works in my employ, I early on encouraged that “…as you’re a millennial and so much of what I expect of you and teach you is new, ‘it’s boot camp’, and you’ll thank me later”.
My young friend told me she has found this to be true. She says, “This helps me so much as I grow in my career. With all the travel you keep me on, I’ll be ready for “war” if need be, and I’ll be able to adapt to any work culture!” She also reminds me that “It ain’t always peaches and cream, though” 🙂
Asking the same question of one of my Baby Boomer friends, he told me: “With a family to take care of, my readiness to move about is not as strong as my desire to continue to be on the move may be. Every day, I recognize that businesses and individuals like me are competing in a new economy with younger people as talent and customers. This means that I consistently ensure that I’m up on all of the new technology and the new business processes. All of this makes me ready to move about, even if I must engage more thought and work to do so. There is this myth that younger employees are better bets for investment in a mobile work scenario. It’s just not true. One thing I do champion is virtual work arrangements that can support work life balance. That’s something that everyone wants though. It’s not limited to tenure nor age. Virtual work requires a lot of self discipline to ensure maximum output. It also allows for maximum output when someone can work at their personal best hour of day.”
Considering the perspectives of both of my friends, millennial and baby boomer, some commonalities exist: Each of them wants to be personally successful in a new and mobile workforce economy and each of them are excited to bring their individual abilities to innovate and participate at their highest levels. As companies express continuing needs for a mobile workforce, finding a willingness in talent will not be a challenge. Educating and training talent is the real threshold to cross…and that’s not going away in an iterative universe.