“Why do we have to meet in an office cross-country when we can call in remotely via Skype?” asks Megan Broussard, a 25-year-old New Yorker who worked at a large PR firm for three years before quitting to become a freelance writer and career adviser. “Why wouldn’t my opinion matter as much as someone else’s who only has a few more years of experience than I do?”
These desires are not exactly radical. Who wouldn’t want flexibility, autonomy and respect?
What’s different, says Lindsey Pollak, the author of “Getting From College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World,” is how Gen Y-ers are asking for those things. Pollak, a consultant who advises companies on how to deal with Gen Y, says these workers — at least, the well-educated ones who can afford to make demands — want what everyone wants out of a job, they’re just asking for it in a more aggressive way. “And they’re the first ones to leave when they don’t get it,” Pollak says.
According to surveys, 50 percent of Gen Y-ers would rather be unemployed than stay in a job they hate. Unlike their child- and mortgage-saddled elders, many can afford to be choosy about their jobs, given their notorious reliance on their parents. After all, they can always move back in with Mom and Dad (40 percent of young people will move home at least once, per Pew research), who are likely to be giving them financial help well into their 20s (41 percent of Gen Y-ers receive financial support from their parents after college, according to research from Ameritrade).
In fact, it’s possible that a bad economy can make being choosy even easier — if more people are struggling to find work and living at home, there’s no stigma to it.
Nancy Sai, a 25-year-old who works at a nonprofit in Manhattan, spent a year living with her parents and working at a gas station while trying to snag her dream job. Her mom kept bugging her to look for something different — teaching! government! anything! — but Sai held firm. While it took her a year to find the ideal gig, she’s glad she waited. Her job is meaningful, the office environment friendly and welcoming, her bosses forthcoming with feedback. Some of her friends have not been so lucky — one quit her job in politics when her boss refused to give her any time off.