Your Employer is Not Your Friend, and Young People Know It

An employee shackled to a job

An employee shackled to a job | Source: iStock

So often, millennials are depicted as the bane of traditional America. They’re unattached to political affiliations and religions, and they’re more willing to post a selfie online than any other generation. (Probably because they’re also the generation that made the selfie ubiquitous.) Milliennials are also less likely than their predecessors to get married, according to the Pew Research Center, and are generally distrustful of others.

But perhaps what makes millennials the target of so many negative articles about the “state of America’s youth” are the same characteristics that will also prepare them for their future careers, or protect them in the jobs they already have. A recent article posted on Lifehacker reminds those of us in the workforce of a harsh but true reality: The company you work for is not supremely worried about your well-being, and it’s definitely not your friend.

This could be a tough concept for anyone who confuses their Facebook friends with their real-life circle of confidants, but for the most case this should make sense to millennials. The generation might be a perennial pain for human resource managers because so many of the traits they have reflect that of the companies they work for. Just as employees are a resource for a company, younger generations of workers are beginning to view companies as a stepping stone in their careers. This sometimes leads to job hopping, as we’ve covered before. But in many cases, it leaves the door open for when a workplace situation isn’t ideal.

Less loyalty = more bargaining power

The age group between 18 and 33, known as millennials or sometimes Generation Y, are more loyal to workplace advancement than their paycheck. Often, if given room to grow and meet personal and career goals, they’ll stick around. If that isn’t the case, they’ll look for other offers. This is where the dreaded “Trophy Generation” phenomenon comes into play, according to an article in Psychology Today.

Millennials’ need for immediate glory (the effect produced from everyone getting a participating trophy in Saturday morning soccer clubs) is also what makes them more willing to cut their losses if a job isn’t what they expected. Sherry Buffington, a Dallas-based psychologist, explained in the article that this characteristic is exactly what boosts their position of power in job negotiations. “Millennials know that,” Buffington said. “They’re the most willing to walk because they have no problem with working 15 or 18 jobs in their lifetime. That puts them at an advantage.”

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