I write posts about how to quit because so many people ask me for advice, but I marvel that this is such a big issue.
I have no memory of any of my Gen-X peers having this problem. Maybe because when we were in our twenties there were not jobs to consider quitting. But I think the real issue is that Gen Y is one of the most loyal generations to come along in a while.
Just because young people job hop constantly doesn’t mean they are not loyal. In fact, the reason they job hop is undying loyalty to the values their parents raised them with: Value your time (remember those overscheduled after-school superstars?) and always learn new things (Gen Y is the most educated generation, ever).
So Generation Y leaves a job when there is not great personal growth. But in each job they have, they are great at asking people to help them, so they generally feel guilt when they leave one of those people for a new job offer — because Gen Y feels loyal to people who help them.
And, one more guilt factor: Gen Y are great team players. Team players in a way that Gen X and the Baby Boomers can’t touch. So quitting a job to Gen Y is jilting the team, and they feel bad.
Mangers need to understand these issues when a young person is quitting. That young person probably has a lot of guilt, and you could make their life better by congratulating them on their new move and thanking them for their work and assuring them things will be fine when they leave.
If you are a young person worrying about quitting, though, here’s a reality check. The company is going to be fine when you leave. There’s no need for guilt. And here’s why:
1. Money talks.
And at the entry level it says: “Easily replaced.” If you are paid a low salary then the office is not going to be disabled if you leave. If you are so important and so difficult to replace then they can pay more and hire someone quickly. That’s why essential people are highly paid.
2. If you have a good boss, your boss knew you were looking.
Most people under 30 are job hunting – at least passively – all the time. It should not be news to your boss that you are in an entry level job and would quit if someone offered you a better job. And if you are entry level then most jobs are better than what you have, so the odds of you leaving at any moment are huge, no matter how nice your boss is to you.
3. Your company has little loyalty to you.
If your company laid you off, they’d give you two weeks’ notice. That’s how the work world works. Play by the rules. Give two weeks notice. If your boss is so desperate without you she can double your salary to keep you there, right? And she probably won’t do that. The two weeks’ rule is there because once people know about an upcoming separation, the workplace dynamic changes, and the less time you have to deal with this dynamic the more productive everyone will be.
4. Good mentors care about you and want to see you grow.
If someone has been a good mentor to you then you owe it to them not to screw them. This means, don’t let them go to bat for you to — like, get you a raise — if you’re quitting the next day. But if someone has been a good mentor and you have been a good mentee, then you don’t owe the person more than telling him or her when you have a new job. Two weeks is fine.
5. A don’t-ask-don’t-tell approach works.
Do not tell your boss you are looking for a new job when you do not have a new job. There is nothing she can do in response to that. She can’t hire someone new yet, because you’re not gone and you have no idea when you’ll actually get another job. So telling her doesn’t help anyone, it just adds tension at work.