Opinion Editorials

Are millennials lazy or workaholics? We’re both, actually

millennial man browsing on his phone

(OPINION) While some find millennials to be lazy, studies indicate we’re workaholics – here’s how we’re simultaneously both.

Millennials anonymous

My name is Matt Salter, and I’m a lazy millennial. You’re supposed to say “Hi, Matt!” I’ll wait.

That’s better. It’s true, too. I incarnate the stereotype. I have a nearly religious aversion to neckties, early mornings, and long-term, sustainable, comfortable employment.

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Wait. No. That last thing doesn’t sound right. Not caring for silk garrotes or sleep debt is one thing, but that last one doesn’t seem like something a rational human would want to avoid.

That’s because it isn’t.

From the source

The Boston Globe brings together a body of information on workplace culture and work/life balance to address the question, more or less, of why the damn kids won’t get off our collective lawns and get a proper job anymore.

Well, your lawn, maybe. I don’t have a lawn. I rent. I also lease my car. The most valuable item I own is the one I’m using to write this right now, and the “D” key keeps coming off. At present, I have six, count ‘em, six jobs, ranging from writing trenchant editorials to delivering dogs (as in “to places,” not “from lady dogs”… long story). So maybe I’m not the most representative millennial after all.

I am.

A breakdown

Project: Time Off spoke with 4,600 people from 19 to 34 years of age about their work life. People in that age group reported they are less likely to take vacation days, more likely to identify their boss rather than a family member as the most powerful person in their lives, and more than twice as likely to use “personal” time for work, answering work emails over dinner or working during vacations.

Every word of that scans with my personal experience.

Millennials are a generation of workaholics. We have to be. We’re broke.

Millennial experience is a litany of Catch-22s that would make Yossarian flinch. We’re crippled by college debt, but finding a job without a degree is just this side of impossible.

Moving into a service economy

In real dollars, education and health care are more expensive than they have been in decades. But the “disruptive” independent contractor service model a la Uber does its disrupting because it doesn’t provide employee benefits for any of the above.

Millennials aren’t a generation of participation-trophy whiners. We’re a generation of contract laborers. Our scope and opportunity are limited by the harsh realities of America’s transition from a manufacturing to a service economy.

If you have a problem with that characterization, don’t hesitate to say so – but only after you show me a private sector job that I can work at for 40 years with no concerns about job security, then retire with full benefits. And doesn’t require a college degree. My grandfather had one of those!

I mean, by definition if the problem is “lazy millennials” rather than overpriced education, underpriced work, and a fundamental change in the nature of employment, then those jobs have to be out there, right? Find me one.

You’ll probably have to leave a voice mail, though. I’m pretty busy.

#BusyMillennial

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