How the Workplace Has Changed Since Your Parents Gave You Career Advice

October 20, 2021

How the Workplace Has Changed Since Your Parents Gave You Career Advice

When you landed your first job, it’s likely that you got your offer, in part, because someone in your corner was offering you the best career advice they knew to give. Your green self, hungry for success, eagerly ingested this guidance, clinging to it as if it was the holy grail of corporate success. To a degree, it worked. We all made it somewhere, am I right?

Thankfully though, things have changed in the corporate world since the days of Motorola StarTACs, blockbuster video, and matching neon tracksuits. To help solve the intergenerational debate, we’re here to fill you in on what your parents had right and the advice we can gracefully decline in the 2021 market.

They said: Your success is only dependent on your company loyalty.

2021 Says: There will always be unprecedented and extraordinary value in your loyalty to a company. Show respect for the company that has hired you and respect yourself enough to take pride in the work and time you have devoted to them. HOWEVER; the truth is, company loyalty and employment longevity aren’t as paramount as they once were. Generations before us paved the way for a job market that commanded from the workforce a certain measure of definitive success-promotion. Hiring managers understand that talented, driven and achievement-oriented employees sometimes have to opt for transition in lieu of company loyalty to attain their career goals.

As long as these job moves are honestly and logically justified your interviewer is unlikely to blink an eye. Be ready to speak to what you learned from those opportunities and how they have been transformative to your career, but don’t feel like you need to sacrifice your growth for loyalty.

They said: Perfect your resume and use it for every application.

2021 Says: Unfortunately for job seekers, this sort of generalization fails to impress these days. Absolutely, perfect your resume (see our “Resumes That Leave Impressions”) but you’re going to have to go the extra mile….every time. The expectation is that as the candidate, you have put in the occasionally tedious effort to customize your resume for the company that you, in best practice, have spent the time getting to know to better understand how to cater and present to.

One of the nuances of accessible technology is that they know you CAN step up your game-so do it.

They Said: If you want a job, take your resume to the office and let them know you want it.

2021 Says: On behalf of every hiring manager out there, this is entirely unnecessary in a market run by automated, electronic applicant systems. The company HR, hiring managers, and recruiters have spent years building a process that works well for their business. Not to mention, you want the ball in your court if you’re job hunting. Don’t show all your cards up front and risk appearing desperate. This kind of bold action is less likely to leave a positive impression in 2021 than it was in the days before automated and technology-driven recruitment searches.

In defense of those who once offered this advice: The sentiment is great. The world would certainly be a better place if we all believed in ourselves so fiercely that we were able to make this a signature power move.

They Said: Work through the burnout. It comes with the corporate territory.

2021 Says: We wonder if this sentiment is an effort to conceal a devotion to self-preservation or if people actually believe this is how loyalty works in a fundamentally transactional economic relationship. Yeah, you have to be willing to start somewhere other than the top, but staying late isn’t the only way to the C-suite these days. Instead, opt for a commitment to offering refreshing ideas, be flexible to adapt to changing office dynamics and needs, and be consistent in your delivery of high-quality work. There will be days, don’t get us wrong. In fact, arguably a good employee should be willing to go the extra mile to reach their goals. However, burnout has reached pandemic proportions, and the self-imposed expectation to be delivering high-quality work 75 hours a week isn’t our suggested way to meet your career goals. You’ll find your balance, just know that it doesn’t HAVE to include accepting less than you deserve or risk the hazards of burnout.

To give credit where it’s due, our entire system is in some way credited to the people who have forged their own way before us. If we heed the advice and harness the tools we’re given by our predecessors we can wisely build on those principles through our own experiences and evolutionary practice.

Well-tested insight and wisdom are timeless, and we’d be fools to ignore them.



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