Not Your Grandpa's Workplace
Remember the good old days of guaranteed lifetime employment? Didn't think so. Today, the average worker changes jobs five to seven times during a career. Seniority no longer equals job security.
Decades ago, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch was a young workaholic slaving away in the office on Saturdays. As he wrote in Winning, “I thought these weekend hours were a blast. The idea just didn't dawn on me that anyone would want to be anywhere but at work.” Well, they did, whether they said so or not. Today's workers are less shy about saying so.
The Baby Boom generation shook things up, shattering glass ceilings and fighting for maternity leave, civil rights, equal opportunity, and equal rights while inventing the personal computer, the Pill, the power suit, and no-fault divorce along the way.
Once women had muscled their way into the boardroom, they worked whatever punishing hours they had to in order to stay there, even if it meant postponing marriage, babies, or a personal life.
Today's younger workers are taking it to a whole new level. These are the innovators who have embraced high-tech gadgets and turned them into a lifestyle. With their BlackBerries, cell phones, laptops, Palm Pilots, and pagers, they can take their work everywhere and anywhere. In a sense, they've created their own monster. In survey after survey, the younger generation of workers ranks time off as a top priority. In one 2004 study by the Society for Human Resource Management, work/life balance was their number two concern, right after compensation.