The On-Demand Generation

by Jobbatical January 26, 2015

The other day I was chatting with an entrepreneur and a CEO about the future of work. He told me with concern that ten years ago hiring was much easier: when a bright person came to an interview then you could say, “Join us! Today you will start from this junior position, but in five years — just stay with us, and you’ll be promoted to a much higher position.” Then you could see the sparkle in the eyes of that person, and an excited blush as they envision the possibilities ahead.

Today when a bright person comes to an interview, and you dare to mention any five-year career possibilities, you only see horror in that person’s eyes reflecting the obvious question: why should I still be working in your company in five years? Probably those eyes filled with fright will soon start glancing towards the door, and you will never hear from that candidate again. It’s a problem he told me.

It’s an opportunity I told him.

You can either declare that my generation (or the Millennials) are doomed, or you can dig deeper and see how they perceive work. Why for them is the thought of working in the same company for five years so horrifying?

The Millennials are the “on-demand generation”, and this is a good thing.

In many ways our generation has got to where the generations before us have aspired. We are result driven and want to work on things that actually make a difference. We do not want to waste time on nonsense and sit around. If we see nonsense happening then we either want to disrupt it or if it is not possible then just leave — even if it means risking a short term financial uncertainty tomorrow. Nothing is worse than working on nonsense. “The Big Wide World” does not scare us as we have friends all over the globe and they do not differ from us that much. Meaning, if they can do it, we can do it — anywhere. Nationalities are not limiting factors, but perks to enrich our circles and make us wiser.

“These differences of perspective generate insights that can’t be taught. When you bring them together in a work environment, they integrate to create a broader perspective that is priceless.” Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg in “How Google Works”

We have a pretty good idea about how we can affect the world around us. And we are not afraid to experiment and even to fail in order to test it out. We would choose chasing our dreams over buying a house any time. That is why we are eager to learn, work with great companies and teams, help great leaders to succeed. Work for us is not a cozy place to spend time in until we get old. It is a list of experiences and tasks we want to complete on our journey to our own next big thing. We want to be on the move, in the process of learning to get there. In short that means that we are an entrepreneurial generation.

Inside that journey we, the Millennials, could be your greatest hires or worst failures. Whether we flourish, or crash and burn depends largely on the framework that you set up — will you let us work as entrepreneurs, and give us the freedom to make a difference, or do you push them us into the corner with an order to follow the rules?

“Great talent often doesn’t look and act like you. When you go into that interview, check your biases at the door and focus whether or not the person has the passion, the intellect and character to succeed and excel.” Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg in “How Google Works”

With Jobbatical we want to give organisations across the globe a possibility to bring in ideas and passion from across borders. Skills are becoming global and the time is perfect for more collaborative teams, where a different nationality enriches the culture. We believe that when you encourage smart people with different backgrounds to interact, great things will happen. Great talent is just a flight away. They are ready to help your team make a difference. You just have to inspire them to join in.

“Our wealth, after all, is determined not only by our own skills and talents, but by our ability to access the ideas of those around us; there’s a lot to be gained by increasing the odds that smart people might bump against each other.” Derek Thompson and Jordan Weissmann, “The Atlantic”


“The Cheapest Generation”, Derek Johnson and Jordan Weissmann

“How Google Works”, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

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