Human Resources

Millennials talk careers: Jacob Serpa

Jacob Serpa

Age: 25

Education: MBA, Most Outstanding MBA Student - San Jose State University

Current Role: Product Marketing Manager, Bitglass


Are the stereotypes about millennials true?

I think it depends on the stereotype. For example, millennials do tend to feel the need to be adventurous and live life one day at a time. This mindset could be due to sharing norms and expectations set by social media, cultural shifts decades in the making, or the ease with which we can acquire information and try new things. Because of this day-to-day mentality, it can look like we're careless or don't think enough, but in reality, we just prioritise things differently than our parents did. 

For the most part, millennials see opportunities and challenges through the lens of acquiring new experiences. This is a good thing when the goal is to use new experiences to learn and grow and refine oneself. However, it can also be negative when experience is idolised for its own sake and decisions are made carelessly just to prevent boredom or distract oneself from reality. 

In all, I don't think it's always a simple yes or no. Millennials' behaviours might appear consistent from time to time, but their unspoken motivations can vary quite a bit. 


What benefits most attract you to a new position?

I find a combination of flexibility and growth-related benefits to be the most attractive. In terms of flexibility, I consider a company's geographical location as well as its views on remote work, BYOD, and flexible work schedules. For growth, I typically investigate a company's current success, future prospects, culture, and desire to invest in employees. 


What would your ideal role be?

In keeping with the day-to-day mentality of my demographic, I would have to say that my current role, Product Marketing Manager at Bitglass, is my ideal. I love my job for a number of reasons. I work with great people for a great company with a great culture and a great product in a great industry. 


For me, I don't think it would make sense to idealise the future when the present is ripe with opportunity. We often miss out on things in life because we are chasing a version of the future that we see as ideal. While I am definitely a planner in just about everything, I try not to specify exactly how I want every detail in my future to unfold. I would rather live the future one moment at a time and make it as bright and beautiful as possible. 


In the long term which of the following is most important to you? (Please explain why?)

- Career development

- Work/ life balance

- Salary

For the short term and the long term, my answer would remain the same. While I want to make a reasonable salary and I am set on having a successful career, achieving a healthy work-life balance is the most important to me. I'm fond of the old adage "Work to live, don't live to work”. Career development and reasonable wages are important, but they are means to an end. They are supposed to enable a healthy lifestyle, not subsume everything about one's life. 

For that reason, easygoing cultures that allow for flexibility are very attractive to me. I'm glad I work for a company that allows me to shift my hours so that I can do things like volunteer or eat dinner with my family. Likewise, because I live about an hour away from the office, I love the fact that I am able to work from personal devices at home and even local coffee shops.


What do you think most companies are getting wrong when hiring/ retaining younger workers?

I consistently see peers change jobs when they feel there isn't room to grow. Whether it takes six months or three years to hit that wall, it's the most common reason I hear for starting a job search. However, work-life balance is often another large factor (particularly when millennials are looking for new work). So, make sure your organisation allows opportunities for career development, flexibility, and healthy work-life balance.


Looking back, is there anything you’d change about the route you took to your current career?

No there is not. The path we follow shapes everything about us, not just our current career. Successes and failures determine a lot about who we are. I am thankful for where I am in life (which includes my career), and believe that everything happens for a reason.


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