My sister, three years younger than I, wants to work for Apple. My heart sank. It was like being hit over the head with a fire extinguisher.
She's a relatively typical Generation Y kid. She's smart, she studies at university part-time while she works, and has a reasonable interest in technology and social media, and is career focused.
But as with many people of our age, the prospect of working for a multinational corporation, like Apple or Google, Microsoft or Facebook, is highly appealing. There is a constant brand awareness with the products we use, from hardware to software, search and social networking. It is almost ingrained into us.
Yet there are factors to take into account where she could not have even begun to consider.
Her reasons, at my request, are as follows:
- They're a global organisation that looks after their employees;
- They bring out the most amazing technology that are so easy and simple to use;
- They set most of the technology trends that are out there;
- I am interested in how apple work and would love to learn more about their products;
- It would be a job that I adored and took pride in due to my personal interest in the company.
"Sent from my iPad" was the last thing I saw on the email. I did laugh.
I took an objective step back and emotionally detached myself from this one. She wants to work there because "they're awesome", as she told me when I called her back. But in reading over the reasons she gave, I nailed down her career path to public and press relations.
It might be seen as ironic that two people bound together by status could be working in respective careers at polar ends of the spectrum.
But I made it clear I was hesitant towards Apple.
Why Apple? She's an Apple user, admirer and consumer. But why not a smaller PR company with clearer and defined goals and objectives? Will she be lost in the corporate machine, or am I stifling her dreams because I want to protect her from the harsh realities of the working world?
It is absolutely without a shadow of a doubt not because "It's Apple, and I hate Apple", because I don't. All of the aforementioned companies would be a great place to work for in mind of future aspirations.
But starting off in a smaller company where she might learn more and gain better experience might be more beneficial for her, as well as the vast majority of the Generation Y.
The press and technology industry has this perspective of Apple as being 'hard to get', with many struggling to engage with its press relations department in a meaningful, professional relationship.
But while large companies, in particular Apple and Facebook, focus their products to younger consumers, major organisations still struggle to engage with the Generation Y on a corporate level. The "old boys network" still exists thus making the workplace for younger women especially more difficult to attain to the higher ranks.
And the "Us versus them" attitude towards younger prospective employees from the older generation makes it less appealing overall. There is still a naive element for younger graduates, unaware of the stigma faced towards them by existing and comfortably placed employees, seeing the young as a threat to their job security.
The temptation to work in places where we feel a strong resonance towards through brand association needs to be quelled and objective perspectives should to be considered.
We can't all work for these high-octane corporations, no matter how appealing they may be, nor should we necessarily want to. Apple keeps their press relations department in-house, whereas many others outsource to more diversified, smaller organisations who also work on projects outside of the realms of technology.
The lesson here is to aim big. Though the Generation Y tend to focus less on life-long careers and more on the job for now and for the years to come, having aspirations combined with real-world experience and qualifications can make for a higher entry point to a company like Apple after a few years.