Pulse September 2020 - Page 25

CONVERSATION WITH SMILEY POSWOLSKY Pulse: How did you come to be an expert on leading the next generation of workers and finding meaning in the workplace? SMILEY POSWOLSKY: In 2012, I was stuck in a job that on paper was perfect— I had an important job in the U.S. government; a great salary, healthcare and job security. But the truth is I was deeply unhappy and unfulfilled. This led to a very brutal quarter-life crisis where I compared myself to my friends on Facebook and worried that I’d forever be stuck in a career that wasn’t the right fit. I started writing about my quarter-life crisis and interviewing other millennials going through the exact same thing I was facing. My self-published book about millennials searching for meaningful work sold nearly 10,000 copies and led to a book deal with Penguin Random House. Turns out: I wasn’t alone, and a whole generation was seeking answers for how to find meaningful work in an era of rapid change. How do you energize the next generation of workers in the current spa climate? Just ask Adam “Smiley” Poswolsky. Poswolsky is an expert on millennials in the workplace and the author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, a book all about how to seek out meaningful work and flourish. Pulse spoke with Poswolsky to learn more about him and what he thinks about the future of the spa workforce in advance of his session at the 2021 ISPA Conference & Expo. P: That book is called The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, and in it you discuss how millennials aren’t the “me” generation. In your mind, what defines them? S: Millennials currently make up more than half of the workforce and in the next 10 years, millennials will make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce. Based on my research, stereotypes about entitled, lazy and selfish millennials couldn’t be farther from the truth. Millennials want to work—and despite being shackled by debt, a recession and the jobs crisis, they aren’t motivated by money. Rather they’re motivated by meaning—they’re driven to make the world more compassionate, innovative and sustainable. We aren’t the “me, me, me” generation. We are the purpose generation. Fifty percent of millennials would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values, [and] 90 percent want to use their skills for good. According to Deloitte’s millennial survey, 75 percent of millennials say the business world is getting it wrong—that businesses are too focused on their own agendas, rather than on improving society. P: What do you mean when you write that a career is made of “lily pads,” rather than being a traditional “career ladder.” S: The average millennial will have at least 15-20 different jobs in their lifetime. The traditional career ladder, where someone spends decades in the same job, is no longer available for most workers. The average job tenure for a 20-24 year-old is just over one year; for 25-35 year-olds, [it] is 2-3 years, and the average job tenure for all workers is just over four years. In other words, we need to think of our careers like a pond of lily pads, spread out in all directions, and each lily pad is an opportunity to live your purpose and gain experience, opportunity, skills and connections that will help you grow in your career. SEPTEMBER 2020 ■ PULSE 21