Why Millennials Struggle With Work.

I’m both envious of and thrilled I’m not a Millennial.

Millennials (in developed countries), have so much potential. They are the most educated, well-traveled, technologically savvy, multicultural population to ever participate in an intergenerational workspace. And yet, they struggle to find success and balance. While they know what they don’t want, many are searching for what they do want.

Workspace Balance

Finding Equilibrium

Millennial Success or Failure?

Career choices for Millennials are far greater and the job market is changing all the time. Jobs that existed yesterday don’t exist anymore – jobs that don’t exist today will tomorrow. I think that choosing a job for Millennials is like looking through a Kaleidoscope that somehow keeps adding new colours; they are paralyzed by choice.

And, Millennials are expected to eventually navigate their way through 3, 4 even 5 careers (not jobs). Exhausting!

Let’s face it, being a Boomers was easier when we were in our 20’s and 30’s. We rode the wave of almost constant economic expansion from 1982-2001, so when we did decide to go job hunting – jobs existed. Choices were also predictable; the jobs we were applying for were mostly the same type of jobs that had existed for many years. Back then, it was not uncommon to join a company and expect to work there for most if not all of your career – climbing the corporate ladder until you ambition, your family and the companies need found equilibrium.

Millennials struggle not only because the exciting, fulfilling, well-paid jobs they expected are not out there. I believe they also struggle because making the wrong choice will count as a failure. When we consider generational differences, while Boomers saw / perhaps see an unplanned or imperfect job as an opportunity to gain experience – Millennials are concerned that anything other than the perfect choice will be seen as a failure that will leave a stain on their success for years… perhaps forever. Intergenerationally, Millennials have great fear that success will leave them behind and they will not live up to their potential.

Millennial Goals

Millennial SurveyIf / when they do ‘choose’ to compromise and take a job to “pay the bills”, they fear they are turning their back on their how hard they worked for their education as well as their dreams and ambitions. A recent ‘Millennials in the Workspace’ study we conducted at BMC identified that the first professional job 69.23% of our participants accepted was NOT in their chosen profession.

For those that do choose to compromise and apply for jobs to just pay the bills, they still experience disappointment. With one of the highest youth unemployment levels on record – Millennials are still feeling rejection as they don’t get a job they feel overqualified for.

No matter what generation you are from or your generational differences, that is hard to take – again and again.


Millennials see themselves as having lots of potential and want others to see that potential. They want others to know they are legit – that they are smart and have skills.

A Millennials ultimate goal is to get paid doing something they love. That’s why making the perfect choice is important for them. Their work is a place of meaning and pride – it’s far more than a paycheck, stability and the potential for a two-car garage. In many ways they don’t even want the two-car garage. They want their job to be fulfilling and an opportunity to learn.

Yup, they want individuality, uniqueness and success. They also want collaboration and to have access to mentors to ask for advice.

Happy communicating.

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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