One of the most difficult decisions young adults will make, whether they are just entering college or starting off in their professional lives, is how to decide which field to go into.

Something about your twenties that can be very difficult to navigate is how to weigh your “success” or know how to make the “right” decisions when it comes to your career since there are so many different routes to choose from.

With so many options it is important for all age groups to understand the true desires and aspirations of Millennials and Gen Z, as they are the newest and largest generations  in the workforce. From what types of work experience young adults look for, to what prompts them to select a certain employer, there is so much to unpack whether you are on the job hunt or an experienced employee.

Work Life Balance: Career and life satisfaction is a fancier way to emphasize the increasing need for work life balance. Though that does not mean this younger generation is not willing to put in hard work, it more so highlights the need for contentment. In an age where wellness and health is heavily emphasized,  this younger generation is thinking about their use of “time” more critically.

With the constant use of smartphones and modern tech tools, Millennials and Gen Z are used to being “on” at all times of the day. Because of this their jobs do not stop when they exit the office since they are used to being in an environment where they are always connected. This is an essential part of how work integrates into their private spaces. Because one can work from many different locations, this type of work life balance can be found very easily; for example, skyping into a meeting or working from home a few days a week. This proves that just because work culture is changing doesn’t mean people are working less but actually more frequently. The difference is that people are becoming more flexible and comfortable integrating work into their private lives.

Purpose: The younger generation wants to feel like they are making an impact at work. Young adults look for companies where they feel will they learn, grow, and be heard. When one feels fulfilled in the workplace, it organically makes one feel that their job fits into their internal needs and aspirations. Therefore, they will more likely have loyalty to that company and not feel burnt out. A great way for bosses to help a new young team feel engaged and motivated is show them how their work is having an effect and making a change within the company. 

Money: Millennials and Gen Z have seen a lot in their lifetime. In part due to modern technology, much more content, news and shared experiences are visible, which has had a profound impact. They may be motivated by financial stability, having grown up in the Great Recession and watching their parents, loved ones and peers be faced with job loss and instability. Because of their awareness, Millennials and Gen Zers have a better understanding of what it means to be financially secure.

Because of this, there is a new movement to have many career paths over a lifetime and multiple income streams satisfying multiple interests and passions. Call it entrepreneurialism or just a side hustle, but these young employees believe they have the power to create the career and environment they want. Because finding purpose drives Millennials and Gen Z, many become small business owners or start their own startups. They feel that if a problem can be solved and they are not getting enough responsibility at work, they can have projects of their own that combine business with endeavors they are passionate about.

So…all this to say, keep an open mind! Career does not look the same as it used to and decisions are being made on all kinds of criteria. Know your own values, not what is important to the next person…and follow your own north star.