There are many thing Millennial are criticized for but when you start to analyze what I being said about them, often, the criticism can be translated into, “These people are neither compliant or docile (like we are). They won’t fit in.”
While they may over estimate their ability to perform, they do have one big thing right—they want to do meaningful work.”
I don’t know anyone who was a little boy or girl who said to their parents, teachers or friends, “ I want to grow up and do really mind numbing dreary work,” yet many of us settle for this kind of a job, sacrificing brain cell and self-worth for dollars.
Part of the reason we do this is that we were conditioned from the time we were little and going to school until now to:
“Don’t rock the boat>”
“Do what you’re told.”
You won’t get good grades, get into a good college, get a good job or, as an adult, we’ll get fired.”
Millennials were conditioned differently by being encouraged, rather than threatened and, as a result, are mocked by their older colleagues for receiving “participation medals” and treating them as badges of honor.
So, if you are very willing to continue trading dollars for brain cells or dollars for self-worth, this article will not be for you. I have written many wonder books and articles, created videos and podcasts that you can use to find your next job and choose the one that is best for you (HINT: It’s the one that pays the most money and doesn’t completely suck the life out of you).
But if you want to try something different, though, in an effort to recapture some of the spirit of your life, I want to help you and folks like you ask a few different questions.
“What is the firm’s mission?”
“How does this department or group serve that mission?”
“How will what I do complement that effort?”
Managers may struggle with answering those simple questions. After all, they are the cogs in the command and control industrial culture that made the 20th century successful. Yet in this new networked age we live in, we all seem to be drawn to tribes of people and want to feel a part of something significant, rather than simply human widgets.
What makes a great and compelling mission statement?
A vision of how the world will be different if we do our work magnificently
An action or actions we can take to make it possible.
It is unfortunate that firms now treat their mission statements like nice little anachronisms.
Here are a few samples of corporate mission statements. Which could you rally behind? (I have edited the beginning of each to remove a corporate identifier)
“give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
“a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities and investment management services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals.”
“a global and innovative network of people
Who use their knowledge in the field of electrical engineering and electronics and electrical engineering to benefit customers throughout the world
Who learn continually
Who work together closely
Who have the courage to make quick decisions
Who are proud of their efforts to contribute to the company’s success”
“Day after day, we are committed to sourcing the very best ingredients we can find and preparing them by hand, to vegetables grown in healthy soil, and pork from pigs allowed to freely root and roam outdoors or in deeply bedded barns. We are committed because we understand the connection between how food is raised and prepared and how it tastes. We do it for farmers, animals, the environment, dentists, crane operators, ribbon dancers, magicians, cartographers and you.”
These statements came from the firm’s website.
The first was from Facebook. Their vision of the world is to make it more open and connected. How? By giving people the power to share.
Are they acting on that mission?
Could you rally behind it?
I suspect you could.
Let’s look at the second one.
I don’t see a vision of the world that will occur if they perform their actions daily at peak. I just see a corporate description being passed off as a vision.
By the way, that is the mission statement of Goldman Sachs.
The third is interesting but doesn’t qualify as a mission but is inspiring nonetheless. This firm, Siemens, starts with its people in its first statement.
Allow me to simplify.
We are people with particular skills and traits.
What is the action they will take?
“Benefit our customers.”
Everything else is a fluffy distraction to make their employees think they are important.
You may recognize the last one as being a restaurant committed to sourcing food of a particular caliber (they are speaking of sustainability) because they understand there is a connection between food raised and prepared in a particular way and how it tastes to you.
I don’t see this as a mission but as a wonderfully detailed action statement without a vision of how the world will be bettered by it executing its plan well. Or you may see it as a mission because the vision is inferred (making you happy).
It’s why Chipotle’s recent failure was so galling. It failed at delivering on its pledge.
Of the four I reference, I can see and get behind Facebook’s, I am inspired by Chipotle’s and would want to help it execute better, Siemen’s is dreary and Goldman’s . . . that is not even an also ran.
At the end of the day, if we are going to do battle every day on behalf of a corporate entity and make difference in the world, I know I want to feel like I am championing something meaningful (Mission) and earning the fruits for all of my efforts (money, recognition, status, power, contributing to the greater good) for the sacrifice of time and ficus.
All of us, not just Millennials, should be proud of what we do to contribute to the success of our firms and the world at large.
And yet we don’t.
It’s time to change that from the bottom up and embrace the change and get out of the factory mindset we have been conditioned into.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2016
Do you really think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.
JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.