Millennials urged to stay at jobs for new challenges
Pittsburgh — Millennials typically are restless workers, generally only content to stick with an employer for about two years before moving on, studies show.
One recent survey found that about a quarter of millennials (workers in their 20s to early 30s) think they should only be expected to stay in a job for a year or less.
Tell that to Darah Kirstein, 29, who’s spent the last seven years — her entire working career — with Bank of New York Mellon, in downtown Pittsburgh, most recently as head of digital workplace employee engagement.
Her advice for millennials itching to switch jobs is to fully explore opportunities with a current employer before jumping ship.
“If you are truly feeling you aren’t learning from a position or maybe getting bored in a position, communicate that,” she said.
All it may take is a new challenge to feel satisfied.
“Things are constantly changing for me. That was enough, so I didn’t need to hop around,” she said.
It also helps to have great co-workers and an employer that understands the challenges faced by working moms.
BNY Mellon “has been so flexible with my desire to achieve a work-life balance,” said Kirstein, who is married to her high school sweetheart and has two young daughters. “I’ve asked, and they delivered.”
When she was hired in 2007, BNY Mellon’s information technology leadership development program helped her discover what type of work she was best suited for by enabling her to rotate through four different departments, with each assignment lasting four months.
That opportunity to test-drive a variety of positions convinced her to accept a job offer from the bank during a campus recruiting visit in the fall of her senior year at Penn State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in information sciences and technology.
“The most valuable part of the program is not only figuring out what type of work you enjoy doing, but also what you don’t enjoy doing,” she said.
Her first permanent position was in the bank’s strategic technology group, where she researched and prototyped technology.
In March, Kirstein assumed her current position in charge of finding out how well technology is serving the bank’s employees.
“We make sure our employees have every possible tool that is simple to use and makes them more productive,” she said. “I lead the engagement piece of this, reaching the desks of each of our 50,000 employees across the world and letting them know the digital program is there for you.”
Tasks that may sound simple, like making sure it’s easy for employees to connect to the internal Wi-Fi network, can be more complicated in a highly regulated industry such as banking.
Her team also conducts monthly webinars for employees, and staffs a live chat function online so that workers can get instant help with technology-related problems, such as email or printing issues.
Kirstein also has the unusual role of serving as reverse mentor/adviser to BNY Mellon’s chairman and CEO, Gerald Hassell.
The two talk roughly every six weeks, either in person at his New York City offices or via video chats, to keep him updated on the latest technology that employees need for their jobs, Ms. Kirstein said.
“I can’t prepare for our sessions. I have no idea what he is going to ask me that day,” she said. “We kind of roll with it.”
Most recently, they discussed “My Source Social,” a recently launched internal networking site for BNY Mellon employees similar to the business-oriented social networking service, LinkedIn.
“He wants to understand that better,” Kirstein said.
“I’m truly flabbergasted by his engagement and his interest and enthusiasm.”