Johnny and I have noticed a growing trend with our generation in the workforce — we’re kind of nomadic. It used to be that you’d get a job fresh out of college, stay there for 4o years, and retire with a sweet pension plan. And if you chose instead to switch jobs often, you were seen as irresponsible or unreliable. But now it seems the times have changed.
When we started averaging a move every year or so for Johnny’s career, I thought it was just because that’s how things rolled in the advertising world. Employees hopped from one agency to the next every couple of years in order to move up the ladder and get a raise. And if they stuck it out at one agency for a long period of time, a substantial raise was harder to come by. But it seems the advertising industry isn’t the only one that works this way. Unbeknownst to us, most of our peers frequently switch jobs, too. And I think it’s for the same reason — because new companies are more willing to show you the money.
Johnny and I recently read a Forbes article that gave some pretty compelling data for switching jobs more often. It stated that if you stay at a company for more than two years on average, you’ll make 50% less over the course of your life. If that’s really the case, should we all just buy RVs and embrace this transient work culture? Sounds kind of crazy, right? But if you take Johnny and me, for example, the data rings pretty true. I worked at the same job for 4.5 years. The pay wasn’t great, but since I was able to work from home, I stuck to it. I was always a reliable employee, and my managers always gave me positive feedback on my work. Despite that, I only averaged a 3-4% annual raise.
While I was being a the most loyal employee you ever did see, Johnny was hopping from agency to agency. And each time he accepted a new position at a different company, he received a significant raise — much more than my annual 3-4%. From our perspective, even though Johnny’s decision to switch jobs regularly was more risky and less stable, it was a better financial move. Despite our personal experience, switching jobs isn’t really something we’d like to do for the next 30 years. We’d like some stability — hopefully sooner than later.
So we’re curious. Does this ring true to you? What do you think has caused our generation to switch jobs more often? Part of me wonders if employers are less willing to make it worth an employee’s time to stick around. To us, the workforce seems more transient. Does it seem that way to you, too? As someone who dreams of the day when we can put down roots and live in one place for years and years, I’m not sure how I feel about this new, nomadic workforce. Is the dream of raising our kids in one town for their whole lives a thing of the past? Whuddya say?