Monday, June 29, 2015

Being a Corporate Millennial

This week marks an important point for me: three years ago I started my placement at IBM. This is of course punctuated by returning to university, graduating, travelling and then returning to IBM.


I can honestly say that choosing to do a placement was one the better choices I made as a student. Also, turning down a placement offer at another company in the hopes of working for IBM when I was only at their application stage was a risk that paid off. Now 10 months back into IBM as a graduate, I stumbled across an article the other day titled ‘How a corporate cult captures and destroys our best graduates’. A quick synopsis of the article – The corporate machine will take graduates who said they were going to change the world and turn them into some sort of suited and booted, 9-5 terminator.


This article hit a couple of nerves with me for a few reasons. Firstly, great entrepreneurs and innovators who have changed the world have done so in their own, unique way and those committed to it will continue to regardless of whether they started or joined a ‘corporate’ organisation early on in their careers.


Secondly, and maybe most important, the word ‘corporate’ doesn’t mean what it once did (for me at least).


As a millennial, and as those who know me well are aware, I hate being called ‘corporate’. Not because I dislike working for a corporation, but because of the outdated, negative connotations that come with it. When people ask me about where I work they assume I sit in a 4×4 cubicle selling commoditized products over the phone with my Britney Spears-style headset whilst I play buzzword bingo.


Questions I frequently get asked are, ‘Do you ever feel like your voice is heard?’ or ‘Are you just a cog in a big machine?’ Admittedly, working in a 400,000 people strong company can be daunting, but do I feel like I am a voiceless robot while the highest echelons in the hierarchy, the illuminati of Big Blue, dictate every aspect of my life? No. In fact it can be quite the opposite: just the other week a 26-year-old IBM employee successfully petitioned to overturn a company ban on the car service Uber using the internal social networking platform IBM Connections.


An article from the U.S. Chairman of PWC Bob Moritz highlights how millennials want to feel connected to the vision and purpose of a company to remain engaged. While I believe the word ‘corporate’ is changing, companies must also change their goals and strategies to align and attract talented millennials.


For me, working at a company that acts behind the scenes to keep some of our most frequently used services running so we can carry on doing things such as access our favourite websites or use our credit cards to make purchases is pretty cool.


Watching Wimbledon or the 6 Nations and seeing 1 point/Try come to life and being able to say ‘We do that’ is also cool.



However working for a company that’s using cognitive technology to help fight against cancer ... that’s pretty amazing.



If anyone reading this is considering a placement scheme, Do it. If you’re considering IBM, Definitely do it. In fact feel free to get in contact with me if you would like advice!


To learn more about how IBM are changing the way companies becoming more social and pioneering a new way to work, click here.


To read the PWC Article, click here.



from Social Business Insights Blog

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