Millennials and Their Jobs

What Drives the MillennialsMy generation has been classified as Generation Y, the Millennials, the Net Generation and the Echo Boomers. What does that mean? nobody knows what to call us. Maybe we should be part of the the Lost generation.

Yesterday I watched a special on 60 minutes about the Millennials and our tendencies towards putting ourselves first. I was at first appalled by this, but I felt much better after they classified it as:

Putting ourselves first over our jobs

The overall attitude of the show was that this is a bad thing. It seemed they thought we should, especially in our early 20’s put our jobs and careers over ourselves and grow up earlier. To that I say screw you CBS I think we got it right!

It’s not that we made a realization one day that we’re better than our jobs. We just made the realization that our jobs could be better. The fact of the matter is that there is always something better out there. Today’s society just makes it much easier for us to find it than previous generations. If you look at the job marketplace today its filled with networking sites like LinkedIn, Career centered sites like CareerBuilder and general job search sites such as Monster. None of these sort of resources existed for the previous generations. We don’t rely on the newspaper and word of mouth, and the sort of resources we do depend on spread information about jobs much farther and faster.

One of the most important things they said on 60 minutes was that our generation has realized that there are many more jobs out there than there are people to fill them. This puts the power in the workers hands and makes the employers pony up. It forces them to recognize that they need to create attractive jobs that our generation get excited about.

My generation doesn’t like to hold jobs. Well, that sounds bad and it’s not true. We like to switch jobs. No, that’s not true either. We like to have the best job possible. There we go. Doesn’t it make sense though? Why stick around just for that tenure when there’s a better opportunity right around the corner (and there always is)?

There is nothing wrong with sticking it out. Maybe you get lucky like I did, and you land a really sweet job right out of school that you love. Maybe it gives you all the freedom you’re looking for and you feel you really can last it out. That’s great! Our generation doesn’t have a problem with that either. I know that in my circle of friends there are a few on both sides. There are those that have switched numerous times (and I’ve only been out of collage for 2 1/2 years) and those that have remained loyal and show no signs of changing.

During the show they also claimed that once we got into the real world we’d have a different experience. They seemed to think that once we were asked to stay late or (gasp) work a weekend that we’d be appalled and would immediately jump ship for the next best opportunity (the loyalty thing again). I don’t know about jumping ship that quickly, but I do know that I wouldn’t tolerate a regular schedule that included nights and weekends. My job does not define me it is merely something I do. In fact, I define my job. I am not opposed to occasionally working a night or weekend when necessary. However; I lived through my father being on call one week out of every month for his whole career and I will not allow myself to do that. ever.

The job skipping will slow down for our generation once enough of us get into the careers and jobs we like. 60 minutes got it all wrong though. It’s not that we like the job skipping, it’s that its a necessity. Unless you get really lucky with your first job, it’s worth the skipping around to find that one job that you just love. After all, you spend close to 1/3 of your (working) life at your Job, you better like it.

As a side note, you spend 1/3 of your life sleeping, another 1/3 at your job… doesn’t leave time for much else does it?

3 thoughts on “Millennials and Their Jobs

  1. Agreed. You should note, however, that even working a 40 hour week you’re at work less than 24% of your life. Sleeping’s the real hog. 60 Minutes should do a piece about that!

    It should also be noted that our generation is one of the first to have luxury time (for the masses) in such abundance. Maybe the old timers are just jealous? I think it’s more likely that they’ve just been through harder times than we have, and as such have a better appreciation for a more prudent lifestyle. I’m a gen-y’er, and I can tell ya that if the s4!t hits the fan and the economy tanks, I’m screwed. I don’t think that’s an uncommon situation these days, as not many of us save for a rainy day.


  2. Hah good points.

    Regarding the wasted time… I should have spoken in percentages.

    Sleep – 33% (assuming 8 hrs of sleep)
    Work – 24% (estimating a 8hrs a day 5 day work week)
    Freetime – 43%

    It just drives home the fact that you need to enjoy what you do. Work time needs to be used to maximize your freetime.


  3. Nice post and interesting read. I find myself thinking quite about these things lately. I guess approaching 30 will do that to ya. If you look at the breakdown of the numbers, that is also why I spend very little time watching TV. IMO I see so many people waste hours of their life watching TV. Now nothing hurt a little Family Guy and Discovery Channel every once in awhile, but no 8 hours of football on Sunday for me.


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