In the olden days Boomers vowed to do anything for money, believing a raise or bonus would vault their careers to higher levels and show their value to the organization. Millennials demanded money, expected money, but it wasn’t a prime motivator. We see Boomers and Millennials trading scripts.
My Boomer clients are all about doing less for more. They have no interest in clicking on an extra cylinder, going the extra mile, or acting out any other cliché they used to repeat. Some aren’t even doing the work assigned. Enter the Millennials, whose life experience to date seemed to validate indifference to money. As many of them reach 29, apparently a magical number, they are looking around and finding lifestyle a major factor in career choice. Do what you love is good advice only if what you love pays well. Their younger colleagues, 22-28, are still doing whatever they want, regardless of compensation. Perhaps 28 is the true magic number.
It is impossible to make solid career decisions if you don’t know, or refuse to face, your attitudes toward money. Boomers are still kidding themselves about what they will do for money. Why should people half their age be more self-aware? Regardless of age, here are the true choices.
1. Someone will pay you more to do your current job if you are more productive and productivity can be measured. You play a role that makes money for the organization. In not-for-profits, development people will be better compensated than public relations folk.
2. Rich organizations pay better than poor ones.
3. You are prepared to fight for money every year and change jobs if you don’t get more. Boomers always thought more money came with appreciation. It did not.
4. You have serious spending/saving goals — not “someday” dreams as in, “Someday I want to go to Asia,” versus “I will leave for Thailand next April 30.”
5. You have decided, for whatever reason, that happiness comes from what money buys, not job satisfaction. You have emotional capital in hobbies, relationships, or a compelling interest and need money to support them.
6. No one you know, however casually, has any doubt that money motivates you to the exclusion of everything else.
How many people really put money first? Maybe five to 10 percent and they have “back” stories the world hasn’t heard. For example, one client knew that, because he grew up in a household with multiple repossessions of everything, only money gave him any security.
Finally, how about deciding what you will do for money before your next job hunt? Think of the persuasive power and focus you could project. What we know: You will not do anything for money.
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