https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140630203140-58113098-why-9-5-wont-work-for-millennials?trk=tod-home-art-list-large_0&_mSplash=1 (Kern Carter, “Why 9-5 Won’t Work for Millennials”, 6/30/14)
Every generation since WWII has aspired to not work anymore. We want to retire when we are done high school.
I think that is actually a core value from the Boomers on. We all derive full identity and personal pleasure from our work, and yet hate to say it. Instead, we make commentary and strive to be identified by anything else. Your phone, your tablet, your cottage, your children, your clothes…anything else. But the reality is we are categorized by our work and continue to be owned by it. We can blame each other older and younger alike for how we perceive our attitude towards work, or the attitude of the other, but at the end of the day we all contribute to making it the centrepiece of the family dinner table.
Sorry, I still assumed you had a family dinner from time to time. My bad.
The blog rant linked above makes a solid point here. Millennials are the first generation to actually go into the workforce and live what they had been taught about it. Boomers wanted everything so they could live carefree, GenX wants to just chill and have equilibrium in the world through their chillage. Oh, and the Sleepers/Builders want their former empire to be sustained. But here is the problem:
The home empire is global, and no one can afford it.
You cannot work like a dog for all the great stuff and enjoy it in your retirement.
You will end up working for the Man, and may someday become him…if the Millennials don’t beat you to it.
Agile goals. Project mindedness. Loose allegiance. How will this profit me in the near future?
This has changed the way we are doing education, structuring the workplace, organizing our play time, and looking to the future. Now that Millennials have hit the 30’s we get to see some of the longer trajectory of the thinking we assumed and predicted would be present. Case in point, the attitude towards the workplace. It still engulfs every aspect of life, but it is by the choosing of the individual. Working at my pace, where I want, when I want, for the highest negotiated benefit possible. There is no sense that a company may have their best interest in mind in the next 10 years, never mind into retirement.
So where do we place the commentary at the end of the rant?
Funny, all the tired, old and a little burnt out statements rise to the occasion. Many of this rhetoric seems like it should be decorated on a wooden plaque between sets of antlers above a large fireplace in the den of a successful business tycoon. Claiming that this was the recipe he went by to become the man he is today, when really this was what he asked of the worker on his factory floor. “Give me your life of work and we will all benefit.” Some will just benefit a lot more than others. The commentators validate exactly what this Millennial is saying about the attitude towards work in the long run. We should all get the brass ring now because that is all there is in life.
But they also have a point.
A whole generation waited to have a parental figure tell them what they should do. And many are still waiting. Many with great careers in fruitful industries. Some of the entitlement comes from never really seeing the benefit or the wealth of fulfilling a daily mandate, and not allowing that mandate to rule all facets of your life. But also vocalizing the fact that this day to day is a blessing, not a curse. Work is a good thing with benefits far beyond monetary worth, even when we don’t see it immediately. In fact, we do not need to see immediately. To see a world that is not based on “What can I get out of this?” is a value that comes with working. Not slaving, and not hating the job. But working without the brass ring. That attitude is priceless, and it enters into all that we do.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters…” (Col. 3:23)
This can apply to all generational views. Really. And I have heard it defended so. Our social understanding of the times plays heavily into how we interpret what is the right course of action. If the tide puills one way, then we will lean that way. When it shifts the other way, well, there we go as well. Historically this is due to a corrective from one generation to the next, and it does not always work out well. With that in mind, has the so-called ‘9-5’ ever been the dream? Has it ever been the most effective or even the most God-honouring format for a fulfilling work experience?
Not really. Otherwise we would have a whole generation of retirees bucking the system and getting a job.