Over the years the workplace has experienced slow and drastic changes. I am fascinated by how these changes have occurred and what causes the shift in company culture, employee motivation, tenure, and general attitude towards ‘the man’. Less than 20 years ago (no research was put into this number except my own observations) employees stayed with an employer for 15-20 years. Possibly for their entire career. Today, most people that I interview, hire, or see a resume for have an average tenure of about 5 years. Of course there will always be exceptions but in general people move around. And in fact I would encourage you to look for new opportunities. Typically, you receive a higher increase in salary (than during a yearly salary review) when you take a new position. You have more bargaining power at a new company and the company might have different pay structures. By taking new positions you diversify your skill set and expand your professional network.
There will be times when moving positions does not make sense. If you are extremely passionate about what you do, highly specialized, or in a niche industry you will probably not have many employers in your lifetime. (For example, if you are a professionally trained chef turned t.v. star where people make up recipes for you to claim as your own while you travel around the world obtaining new ‘inspiration’ for food, I recommend that you keep your job). Otherwise, there is a trend towards multiple employers.
The recognition of flexible work schedules and work-life balance has already created a major change in company structure and function. Many companies boast working from home or an increase in video conferencing. However, I believe that with the next generation of workers the demand is only going to increase and possibly force a drastic overhaul in how organizations are structured. The next generation has already created new roles that are more entrepreneurial with less focus on office time. Groupon and Facebook come to mind as companies created by young professionals that chose not to conform to the existing mold. Others are taking hobbies and passions such as blogging or photography and making a living even if they aren’t professionally trained.
I believe that job seekers (highly skilled, hobbyists, intellects, talented, inventors, laborers) are going to continue searching for flexibility at work. They may be fine with making less money (or maybe not) but they are searching for a different work model than before.
How important is time and flexibility to you? Would you like to have enough time out of the year to visit your friends and family in other geographies without using all of your vacation? When you save for a Europe vacation over a 5 year period would you like to take more than 7 days? When your kids are on summer break do you imagine having the flexibility to sit at home in the kiddie pool for a couple of hours out of the day? What is important to you as you look to the future?