I was on the verge of becoming outdated overnight. I still knew a lot about Facebook; but it suddenly felt like any kid with a smartphone now had a better idea than I did about the future of social media.
After a few months of pretending snapchat isn’t happening, and a few months of asking myself what have I done with my time on Earth, I realized I’m having a quarter-life crisis.
I was ready to put my old life behind me and start a new chapter.
I was 24.
I guess for us millennials, time moves a bit differently. You see, I had about 10 jobs in the last 13 years. - And I’m not alone. According to recent data, most millennials tend to switch jobs every 18 months or so.
What I find interesting is that when I had the chance to interview Millennial job applicants for various positions - I don’t remember any of them saying “I’m going to start looking for a job again a minute after I start ” or “If I were you, I wouldn’t count on me for more than a year”.
Are millennials lying about their intentions in job interviews? I don’t think so. Looking back, they actually give quite a few hints. For example, When I asked “Why did you leave your last job?”
They would reply with answers like: “I felt like I was done growing” or “I felt like I wasn’t learning anything new”. If you’ve recently interviewed someone in the last few years, or interviewed to a job yourself, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Listen to the words we use: it suggests that the real reason for millennial job hopping is not “a sense of entitlement” or disloyalty, but a true search for learning more. For growing. Millennials don’t job hop because they don’t have enough beer or pool tables; they leave because they’re done with what they came to do: learning.
It’s as if we’re seeing workplaces as Schools. Global data widely supports this: a recent global survey by PwC shows that TWO THIRDS (⅔) of millennials ranked Personal Development Opportunities as their key factor in choosing their current jobs; way above the paycheck.
A lot has been said about our generation already, but this is pretty big: For this generation, personal growth is more important than monetary compensation.
If the old employment deal was “pay me and I will work for you.”
A new employment deal now emerges - teach me and I will work for you for as long as I learn.If you think of it, it’s the most natural evolution of work: things are moving so fast, if you want to stay relevant - you just have to keep learning. It’s now pretty obvious: If you stop learning new things - you take a HUGE risk of becoming irrelevant overnight.
Understanding these core motivations, we’ve started asking our team members what they’d like to do one day when they move on to their next career chapters. For example, we’ve asked one of our key engineers “what do you want to do after Jolt”.
He said “I want to lead my own company”. At this point, we were probably supposed to distract him from his dream with more money or perks. My instinct, as an employer, was actually to suppress his dream to make sure he stays longer.
Instead, we asked “What will you need to learn in order to achieve that?” Turns out he didn’t feel outspoken and confident enough.
We asked more and more people and got the same questions: turns out the things people are most eager to learn are those the hardest to acquire - it isn’t just Photoshop or WIX. It’s things like:
The fun part of this challenge was that we were just in the beginning of building the ultimate learning experience - and we now had the first clue of what we should actually teach.
Charles Darwin took long walks around London. Kurt Vonnegut made listening to jazz a daily priority. Fiona Apple disappeared for 6 years after the release of her third album.
I ask because I can often be found agonising over the "more". If only I posted on Instagram more, I'll think in the bath. I'd have more followers if I pitched to more publications. I need to post 2 more times a week, minimum. I could go on...
Between you and me, I've got frustrated with myself for browsing Facebook or watching too much TV more times than I can remember.
And I'm not alone. So many of us are terrified of taking a break, creatively speaking. We won't let a moment pass without listening to a podcast, consuming an article or sharing something.
The cognitive load is real, y'all.
But like Vitamin D, sleep and good food, it's not only ok to take a break, it's essential.
Living a successful life is also about knowing when not to work. For your best output, you need to focus on your input, too.
The world won't end if you disappear from the internet for a week or so. Your creativity won't suddenly stop. Your time is now, but your time was also then and it will be again.
Many of us confuse being "busy" with being constructive. But you can only do your best work by taking breaks.
And science backs it up, too. The brain requires substantial downtime to do its most innovative thinking. The ideas you have while driving or in the shower aren't coincidental. They're a result of you taking a step back, whether you're aware of it or not.
Let yourself take a wonderful and indulgent break. Several breaks. Hell, get downright bored.
Put airplane mode on for a while. Sit down. Lie down. Be still. Do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it.
Wallow in it. Don't be afraid of it. Push it as far as you can.
When you leave your laptop behind, something always happens. A new idea or a fresh perspective appears.
Take proper breaks, often. Completely clear your mind. Your next best idea depends on it.