Why Are We Where We Are?

Whenever people talk about millennials it’s always in terms of our generation, or of us as a group. I’m doing it right now. But if anything, we are the generation that most celebrates individuality and being just plain different. So if that’s the case, how divergent (*cough *Hunger Games ripoff *cough) are we really from one another?

I was interested in exploring these differences, so I collected a small sample of anonymous responses to four questions from millennials aged 22 to 30 in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, and San Francisco. I asked millennials “What Made you Choose Your Current Job?” “What is the End Goal for Your Career?” “What is the Best Way to get to the Top?” and “Are You Nervous About Your Career?”

Today I want to dive into the first question to try and understand what pulls us to our particular starting points. Everyone starts at base camp, but I would imagine that everyone chooses their own trail head for different reasons.


Not surprisingly, the number one pull for millennials in the study was the industry itself. Ergo, I went to work for this oil and gas company because I’m interested in the energy sector. Salary was another expected popular category, and together industry and salary were the number one drawing factor for over half of the people surveyed.  Work-Life balance was another big-hitter as well. The phrase has become expected in interviews and an interviewer today isn’t doing a good job in recruiting you if they don’t laud the practices of their company in providing employees with a good work-life balance. So from the stereotypes surrounding millennials, that we want to be paid a lot, to do what we want, when we want to do it, our first 75% is not that shocking.

The remaining sliver of participants requires slightly more thought. Zero participants said that a company’s location or its benefits made them choose their current job. On some level that makes sense. The average twenty-something employee probably isn’t overly concerned with retirement packages and we are probably much more likely to travel or to move when we’re young and single. Yet that still leaves nearly a fifth of participants who felt that none of the options provided were what drew them to their job.

Of course this small survey isn’t indicative of why every millennial chose to set up camp where they do. Yet it is interesting to see that while not everyone’s reasoning played into some of the perceived stereotypes about millennials, a large percentage of the participants’ did. So what does that mean exactly? Do we have too high or even unreasonable expectations for our first job? Now that we have an idea of what’s bringing us to our base camps, we need to dive a little deeper into our participant pool. In order to understand fully what we expect out of career, we need to see where millennials envision ourselves at the end of our careers.    


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