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Monday, April 11, 2016

Dreamy Jobs

Two new surveys surfaced recently on what a “dream job” would look like. One of these surveys was taken among the National Society of High School Seniors (NSHSS). This is an international society recognizing “academic excellence of high school and college scholars globally.” That is worth noting in evaluating their selection and perception of best places for future employment. I’m posting a link for the full results.

More than 18,000 students participated in the survey. There were 34 questions given to a group ranging in age from 15-29. Hanover Research developed the survey and analyzed the results.

The New York Times presented a brief overview on the thinking of these millennials. Some of the results you might expect. Three of the top ten jobs were tech companies—Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Four were healthcare connected—St. Jude Children’s Hospital, “local hospital,” Healthcare Service Corp., and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Then it gets quite intesting. Two of the top ten “dream jobs” would be with the FBI and the CIA. The number two preference…was the Walt Disney Company. Dreamworks animation wasn’t far behind.

A little farther down were firms including Amazon, Sony, the New York Times, and Starbucks. The first American military branch to show up was the US Air Force at #21. Go Air Force!

Surprisingly, to me, another flying organization was at #76—in the middle of the pack: Southwest Airlines. I’ve always heard great things about them as a company. Way toward the bottom we find Express Scripts, Scottrade, and Grainger. Pity those recruiters! The list used to help the students make choices combined a couple of published rankings already in place, such as Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

Categories for ranking future employers include Employer Perception and Image, Salary and Perks, Job-Specific Opportunities, and Work Atmosphere and Environment. Top rated in each of those categories was: Treats Employees Fairly (72.3%), Flexible work hours/schedule (69.6 %), Gain skills to advance career (89.7%), and Work/life balance (68.1).

As a summary statement, Todd Corley, the Board Chair of the NSHSS Foundation said, “Employers that focus on transparency and treating employees fairly will separate themselves from the rest of the field in attracting millennials.”

The New York Times summarized the conclusions a bit differently, saying “millennials want to work for companies that place a premium on employee welfare, offer flexible scheduling and, above all, bestow a sense of purpose.” The commentary offered on these priorities of millennials is that it causes many to consider millennials “lazy, entitled job-hoppers.”

That being said, it’s still worth paying attention to these preferences. The millennial generation already “makes up more than a third of the work force. By 2020, it will make up half.”

The Times writer believes that the criteria of today’s millennials for job selection has been influenced by the culture in which they grew up. Factoring into this would be a recession, enormous student debt, and the declining credibility of many institutions. But this one observation is a big one: “Stability is an abstract concept to these young workers, so they instead tend to focus on creating a rich, textured life now, rather than planning for a future obscured by uncertainty.”

The life of King Solomon came to understand this disturbing but realistic truth. Too much work and lack of purpose can lead to a meaningless existence. And millennials increasingly want meaning to what they do.

Here’s what Solomon wrote in the introduction to Ecclesiastes in the Bible:

“What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea.

Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, ‘Here is something new!’ But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.” Ecclesiastes 1:3-11 (TLB)

Sounds pretty depressing, doesn’t it? Survival of the spiritually fittest seeks encouragement. And I intend to give it. But not now.

Next week, I’ll share the second of the two surveys on what a dream job looks like for some. And I’ll have specific ways to help you find more pleasure in your work—no matter what you do.

In the meantime, here’s some wisdom from Malcolm Forbes: “When you cease to dream, you cease to live.”

Sweet dreams. And no snoring.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app. 

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