Let’s get back talking about the Millennials in the workforce. No, please don’t get me wrong. I do not hold any grudge against these bunch of privileged kids (ooops!…) but, it’s just that, one of my own will be joining the rat race soon. My kid belongs to the Gen Z, and like it or not, Millennials at work today will either be guiding or competing with my son in a few years. It is normal that I care.
I have written a piece about A Gen X to A Millennial: How To Get Promoted To Manager. Check it out. You might want to add your own views in the comment section.
The Millenials, like it or not, are brought up in an era where everything is changing at an accelerated rate. Gen X witnesses some changes in unprecedented ways in the 90s, with the rise of the internet. Really, things started to move faster. Telecommunication for instance. Cordless phones were racing to see who could substitute the pc first, from Nokia winning the race initially, then got beaten bad by Apple. Now, let us see, what change…
1. Specialize On Many Jobs
Gone are the days where you need to be a specialist to be successful. In fact, to be a specialist was so…80s! You might have taken your college degree with a bachelor of engineering. Even though you love your job, do not for the sake of your unborn child, to tie yourself up in manufacturing. If you have a few years in managing the production line, move out and expose yourself to other departments, sales perhaps. Or even marketing. Your goal is not to be just a generalist, but a specialist of two or three functional responsibilities within your own domain of service.
“This year, Randstad’s research found more marked salary jumps in some specializations and skill intersections, which may offer a salary negotiation advantage, too. For example, engineering coupled with project management experience and information technology (IT) pros with healthcare experience got bigger pay increases than their counterparts who didn’t specialize” quote from Fast Company
Plan your career in a strategic manner. A Millenial armed with a few professional specialties will never quit his/her job without a backup plan (it’s not money). Your specialties are all that you need, as your backup plan.
2. You Just Need One Roof Over Your Head
Many Baby Boomers and Gen X became wealthy by speculating in properties during their lifetime. You can blame the Baby Boomers for the excessive property prices in major cities around the world. If you are staying in Hong Kong, you cannot afford an apartment even if you are earning $ 4000 per month.
In spite of all the gloom, set your goal of owning one property. One is enough and don’t be greedy. You can share the burden with your spouse after you get married. You could opt for an affordable piece at a not too bad location. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with the Joneses though.
3. Start A Side Business While Keeping Your Day Job
While your boss may ask you to stretch your goal for the coming financial year, you should stretch your own personal goal too. Again, I’m not instigating the Millenials to quit their jobs abruptly or even to turn their focus away from the day’s job. Nope.
What I’m advocating is for you, our younger generations to open your perspective to various possibilities. While you are working on projects for your employer, think about how you can create a smaller scale of your projects if you have a startup. It may not work but I want you to stretch your thoughts. While visiting your clients, talk to them and find out their needs. What are the values that you can add, that your employer might find to small for their own execution?
I recall a time when I was a Business Manager for one of my former employer. We were looking at buying a food ingredient trading company in 2008, but the top management decided against it. Frankly, I was thinking of buying the business myself but the question of ethics and loyalty cropped up in my mind. Although I did not pursue the purchase, the thoughts have initiated some flames within my yearning to own a small business.
4. Quit The Hope That Your Government’s Retirement Fund Is Enough For Your Retirement
Do you consider Japan, Singapore or Hong Kong to be wealthy countries? These countries boast of GDP per capita of $ 40,000 to $ 95,000. Unfortunately, most of their retirees could not last 5 years relying on their retiring funds alone.
I’m not asking you to live in fear because of these facts. Although your friendly financial planner would be using these kinds of figures to frighten you into buying their financial products. Save some money every month but do not lose sleep for not having enough savings to complement your retirement fund. Those extra high premia and investment-linked policies will only put a large dent in your cash liquidity. Don’t worry too much about how much your loved ones will get after you die. More important things await you when you are alive dude.
Instead, make a decision that you will continue working into your twilight years, not out of fear. But out of health and fun purposes. I agree, even at your age, your middle age advisor here was vying to retire by the age of 30. When I reached 30, I extended the time frame by the addition of ten years. Now that I’m 47, I have told all my friends that I will work till the day I die. The fact is, God has blessed that I am able to lead a semi-retired lifestyle at this moment. I go on holidays two to three times a year as compared to once every two years when I was underemployment.
5. You Count On Your Boss Only For Job Experience, Nothing Else
I predict that good direct bosses are getting as rare as hens’ teeth. Hey hey…nice idiom right? Anyway, Millennials at work should only be counting on their bosses for valuable job experience.
Market stability is a thing of the past. At this moment of writing, President Donald Trump had just called off his negotiation with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, and Pakistan might just be going to war with India. Talking about volatility.
The time of peace has ended. The hostility relationship among countries, debt instability, climate changes have all contribute to an extremely challenging market to companies around the globe. Your potential mentor’s experience is as good as yours. All that work in the 1960s to 2000 are no longer applicable in this era of rapid trend volatilities that span from the basic energy market to cryptocurrencies. Even your managers and even your firm’s CEO are losing their jobs at breakneck speed due to their inability to bring in the dough.
Consumers lost confidence in the products of old labels like Heinz and Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway had lost billions due to this. Cannabis that used to be illegal and brings about the death penalty in certain countries has become the darling of IPOs in 2017. You might get to see the first lab-grown meat in the supermarket by late 2019.
Therefore, are you still counting on your boss for job security? Like Bruce Lee said,”Be like water.”
6. Marriage Is Sacred
There is one thing that remains unchanged, from the day of Adam to Gen Z. Our marriage vows. When the journey gets tough, a good spouse will be your pillar of strength. I have been through one life-threatening and four career shattering experiences, but my wife never left me during all these. She is God sent.
Whether times are changing consumers’ behavior or the characteristic of the current generation affecting the market, Millennials at work have the ability to rise above this madness. Open our mind to new trends and our money making the journey will be a joy.