Archive for January, 2009

When Leapfrogs Can’t Find the Next Big Thing

leapfrogGeneration Y workers are notorious leapfrog employees. No sooner have we started one position that we’ve got our eyes open for the next big thing. There is no period that this is truer than during the first three years on the job. Entry-level positions, though not difficult to come by, don’t offer the right enticements to over-educated, over-achiever genYs. After graduating from college or grad school, we enter the work force with a voracious appetite for success. (We’re ready to conquer the world!) We feel that we’ve ‘paid our dues’ in the summers we spent as lowly interns and now, we’re ready for the real stuff: a fancy title, a corner office and a nice fat paycheck.

But, of course, that doesn’t happen. Instead, we’re hired as assistants, coordinators, or (gasp!) somewhere outside our chosen field. We make photocopies, answer phones, edit emails, maintain databases and grumble to ourselves “I spent four years in college for this!?”

Three months in we’re thirsty for encouragement, ready for review, and anticipating promotion. Six months in, we’re quicker, better, but we’ve lost the some of the excitement that made the early days fly by. By the time we reach nine months we’re daydreaming of greener pastures and when we hit a year, we’re ready for the next step. Surely a year of solid 9-5 work experience will lock us into the job we were meant for (see paragraph one). Time to update the resume, peruse job boards and see what other companies are up to.

[Insert the doom and gloom economy of ’08/’09]

Unfortunately today’s genYs (like every other age and class of job seeker) is in for a shock when they find the job market that’s waiting for them.

It’s not that no one’s hiring. Though fewer than before, there are companies that are hiring. But, what this genY is finding is that the vast majority of jobs that are open are for two classes of workers:

  1. Management. PR Directors, Public Relations VPs, Senior Communications Executives.
  2. Entry (entry) level positions. Paid internships, Office Admin/Communications Combos, Part-time PR Help.

And so, us non-entry-level, entry-level communications pros are left to fight for the scraps. Over qualified for the newbie roles, but not ready for management, we’re left to cross our fingers that we’ll be the one in ten thousand chosen for the rare level two positions (AAEs or AEs, 1-3+ years of experience, Specialists, etc).

Of course, industry savvy professionals will go the extra mile. We’ll explore agency websites (you know, the ones that say ‘we’re always hiring’), schedule networking interviews, and beef up our social media presence. We’ll be as polished and qualified as anyone in the field, but still, we’ll most likely find that it’s connections, timing, and a good deal of luck that will help us land that ‘right’ job.

And if we don’t make it that far, we may just have to keep on hopping and settle, at least for today, for the right-now job.

January 13, 2009 at 10:18 pm 4 comments

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