The more I talk to my friends about their jobs, the more I hear the exact same frustrations continuously. "Not able to get anyone "of power" to listen to my ideas." "Tired of feeling like I don't count because I'm not a high enough rank." "Why do 18 people need to approve every small decision we make?" "Why is everything SO SLOW here?"
There are many reasons for this commonality in their frustrations. It could be because many of my friends are on that cusp of being young though with enough years of experience under their belt to make bigger decisions than their titles "allow". It could be that my friends are much smarter and more worldly than their bosses. It could that they're all having a bad day - at the same time.
The real reason I think they're getting irritated is because the rules of the corporate game have changed and no one told their bosses, or their company CEOs for that matter. Seth Godin talks about industries as ecosystems, meaning they are dynamic. The rules change all the time, meaning corporate cultures need to change all the time. Adjustment, constant adjustment, is the name of the game. What worked for companies 10, 15, 20 years ago won't work today. This is a brand new world. And it requires an intense curiosity and desire for growth that will keep today's established companies relevant; without curiosity and growth they will be obsolete in the blink of an eye.
So what can big corporations do? Are they doomed? No - they just need to flatten out, especially at the top. A friend of mine recently attended a corporate training session and the trainer said that whenever they encounter a senior leader they need to look at their feet and let that leader run the whole conversation. I almost got sick. Who wants to work for an organization that not only doesn't value youth, but does its best to make its young people feel insignificant? If corporations want to hang on to young people, they better learn to how to utilize their energy and ideas, quickly. Flatten out and give everyone at every level a chance to participate!
And for my friends who are frustrated with corporate rigidity? A few suggestions: think about branching out to try a new venture, maybe not for pay, but for peace of mind - for hope of what may pan out down the line. Offer your services to a start-up, or try something new like a language class that could have professional value in the future. It's also powerful to gather the experience you can from where you are for however long you're there. We all always have something to learn from whatever situation we're in. Make sure to capture those learnings and take them with you when it's time to give yourself a fresh start.