Millennials and Non-traditional Career Paths

Feb 1, 2021

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

Passionate Millennials are grabbing the spotlight for all the right reasons, particularly for their unconventional career choices. Whether it is launching a new business, publishing a novel, or teaching yoga and meditation, Millennials are pushing the boundaries of traditional career wisdom and carving their own paths.

The Millennial generation accounts for about 50% of the U.S. workforce, and as of July 2019, overtook boomers to become the largest generation. This generation will not do just the “right things” by following a linear career trajectory that parents want them to, such as getting good grades, joining a reputed college, and taking up a traditional, steady job. With a new model and definition of success that is not driven by pay-scale or designation alone, millennials are seeking to be trendsetters by embracing creativity, innovative thinking, problem-solving, risks, and self-belief.

Non-traditional paths for Millennials

Here are some non-traditional career paths that Millennials are lapping up:

Entrepreneurship: Millennials are more likely to start a business at a younger age as compared to other generations, according to a Global Entrepreneur Report. For instance,  Baby boomers, on average, start their business at 35 years of age while Millennials become entrepreneurs by the age of 27, which indicates they are more willing to court risks. The report shows that millennials, as compared to boomers, have launched twice the number of businesses. A majority of these ‘millennipreneurs’ feel entrepreneurs are an essential economic force for driving innovation and creating jobs.

Many companies that millennipreneurs have founded have succeeded in transforming traditional industries. For instance, 32-year-old Stephanie Lampkin founded Blendoor that created software to flag recruiting bias. Millennial Richard Lavina launched Taxfyle that follows the uber-like approach to connect licensed tax professionals with users. Whitney Wolfe Herd disrupted the online dating industry with Bumble, where women initiate the conversation.

Multiple interests: While the pay is a priority, many millennials desire fulfilment and purpose – things that money cannot necessarily buy. They are seeking roles that let them make a meaningful impact on the world and themselves. They are also looking for fun and excitement along the way.

25-year-old Ohio University graduate Spinisha Symone is passionate about entertainment, music, working with children with disabilities, writing, and participating in pageants. More and more millennials are juggling two or more of their passions instead of being stuck at one boring job. Symone is a role model for those who are looking to break free from the expectations of parents, family, or peers and choose a non-traditional career pathway instead.

Freelancing – With the growing trend of remote work, the freelance sector is a sought-after one. Freelancers account for 35% of the US workforce. Many millennials are honing their skills to develop a profitable independent contractor/freelancer career. From SEO analytics, social media management, graphics design, animation to creative writing, there are a plethora of freelancing opportunities for millennials.

Career clarity coaching can help you take a step in the right direction

If you are looking to break away from the rigid definitions of traditional career paths and your parents’ expectations, take the bold step of consulting a non-traditional career coach. A creative career coach can help you gain a fresh perspective on following your dreams and pursuing your passion.

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