The labor force needs rethink the concept of staying with one company for the long term. It’s time to normalize frequently switching jobs. Maybe people have been looking at work all wrong. Instead of staying for decades at a company, the Great Reshuffle clearly shows that people are quick to quit and make a change.
The pandemic opened people’s eyes to the frailty of life and how impermanent things are. One day, you are here on earth. The next, you could be gone. One of the positive messages to spring forth from the virus outbreak is that people need to appreciate and make the most out of the short time that they have.
Workers don’t want to waste over eight hours a day, five days a week, at a job that they don’t enjoy or feel appreciated by their bosses. Life’s too short to settle for mediocrity. People want meaning, purpose, fulfillment and fair pay for their efforts. If employees can’t achieve this where they currently are, they’re not afraid to pursue new opportunities.
The Revolutionary New Agreement Between Companies And Workers
If both the executives at the company and the individual workers agree that their relationship may last for only one to three years, the entire dynamic would change. Companies wouldn’t have to pretend that there will always be a career path moving forward. Workers won’t feel the Groundhog Day effect of working at the same place, day after day, year after year.
This new model would be liberating for people who feel trapped, due to societal emphasis on long-term employment at one company. Job hunters are still discriminated against when they are perceived to have switched jobs too many times. Interviewers grill candidates, demanding answers as to why they made each move, with a high degree of skepticism. The undercurrent is that there must be a problem with the person that made them move so often.
Human resources and business executives should start thinking differently. Instead of presuming the worst when an applicant shows their résumé with several jobs listed, the interviewer should think of the person as being thoughtful about managing their career and making decisions based on how they can continue to grow, develop and enhance their earnings potential.
The Good Ol’ Days?
It looks like the future of work will consist of people regularly switching jobs and careers. Back in the day, people took a job, stayed there for 20 to 30-plus years and retired. At the end of their service, they were given a gold watch, farewell party and a small pension.
As the life expectancy was shorter then, they had 10 or so years to enjoy retirement. People are now living longer and the cost of living is more expensive. There is a real fear that you can outlive the money you have in your bank accounts and investments. Many people feel the pressure to pursue new opportunities, as they are having challenges paying back their student loans. Younger generations may be the first cohort to be worse off compared to their parents. There are also folks of all ages that don’t want to stagnate. They want to accelerate in their careers and make something of themselves.
These bold people will learn, make new connections and move on if there is no ability to advance within the organization. Even if there is a chance to climb the corporate ladder, things are changing so fast that many feel it makes sense to continually seek out other jobs to add to their skill sets and stay up to date.
Work Would Be Like A Sprint Rather Than Plodding Along
Rather than plodding around for 30-plus years at the same organization, working would be like a sprint. You learn as much as possible in a condensed period of time. Contribute, ask questions, try out different things, find mentors, have protégés and take on big scary projects without worrying about failing. If you are a lifer at a company, past mishaps will also come back to haunt you. At a new place, you arrive with a clean slate.
If you have a bad boss, it doesn’t matter too much, as you’ll be out of there after your tour of duty is over and it’s time to move on. Managers won’t have to worry about a bad hiring decision, as the person won’t be around for very long. The manager might not even be there themself, after another year or so. This takes off a lot of pressure on everyone.
Benefits are important to workers, but most are geared toward the future. Young people need money now. Human resources could change their programs. Frontload the benefits, especially compensation, which people desperately need with the rapidly rising inflation.
The Benefits Of A Short-Term Tour Of Duty
There would be no job shaming for switching jobs, as it would be normalized. Companies will continually hire people who have a fresh new perspective from working at several different firms. It’s as if you’re bringing in management consultants, who’ve been at several businesses, learned what works and what doesn’t and offers this valuable information to the company and its management.
If you accepted a job, only to realize it wasn’t the right fit or was overhyped, you’d feel stuck and obligated to stay, despite your displeasure. With this new mindset of being free to move on without condemnation, you can politely resign, cut your losses and find the right fit. To socialize this concept, HR could draw up short-term contracts. If the person and business want to continue the relationship, they could execute another agreement for a specified period of time.
Being called a job hopper and having a stigma attached to it will be over with. Instead, the person would be perceived as forward-looking, assertive, a risk-taker who is excited to learn, contribute, move onto a new challenge and share what they’ve learned. This may particularly help older workers that have been at the same place for decades and are unaware of some of the new developments, technologies, apps and platforms that are used by their competitors.
When people leave, rather than grilling them on what went wrong, HR could thank them for their service, wish them well and cement a long-term relationship by asking the departing employee to keep in touch. Down the road, information can be shared and joint ventures and collaborations could develop in the future. Also, it opens the door for boomerang employees to one day return to the company for another stint.
Sports Stars Happily Switch Teams For Better Offers
“The time has come, we believe, for a new employer-employee compact. You can’t have an agile company if you give employees lifetime contracts—and the best people don’t want one employer for life anyway,” wrote LinkedIn founder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman, along with Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh, in the Harvard Business Review.
They added, “The employer-employee relationship has already taken new forms. The new compact acknowledges the probable impermanence of the relationship yet seeks to build trust and investment anyway. Instead of entering into strict bonds of loyalty, both sides seek the mutual benefits of alliance.”
It’s similar to professional sports. Star athletes are loyal to their team and play their hardest to win. Remaining on one team for an entire career is a relic of a bygone era. If there is a better offer on the table, they’ll gladly accept it and work equally hard on the new team. They’ll likely have several moves and some will even return to join former teammates.