View Full Version : Millennials Not As Dedicated To Job

11-29-11, 8:37pm
A study came out in the paper that says Millennials (those born in the 80s/90s) who have come of age around 2000, are not as dedicated to their jobs.

They say there is an attitude friction between Millennials and their co-workers. Older generations are used to putting in their time, and moving slowly but surely up the corporate ladder.

But, Millennials do not see their job as their life.

Where millennials have the advantage, is their knowledge of technology.

I think corporate america cannot expect people to have their job be their life when, no longer are companies committed to their workers. No more pensions, no more job security, layoffs quick and swiftly (and even when the economy IS doing good....they will ship jobs overseas), etc.

11-29-11, 8:41pm
Is this new? I'm a young generation Xer. I've NEVER believed in job security, maybe since I lost my first job in the LAST recession. Have held 4 professional jobs already (and I'm a person who stays at a place for awhile ... many don't). Of course if younger people are completely unserious about their jobs, well there is a 9% unemployment rate :laff:

I'm tired of the argument that many trends are new, when these are trends that most of at least the younger generation Xers lived through all along (granted many things are even worse now).

11-30-11, 7:30am
I'm a late Boomer (1960) and there's never been job security for me. I work in software development, which most people think of as a "good" (read: stable) job. I work hard, but I'm always cognizant of the line where my personal life is being inpinged upon, and I don't like it one bit. In the "old days", working hard, sacrificing your family time would pay off in promotions, raises and future opportunities. No longer. In my last job, I got a stellar review by a boss who really valued my contributions. I worked about 60 hours a week, nights and weekends. Only the Board of Directors needed a scapegoat for a late project, and it was him. The new person brought along all her own people, and I was out. It doesn't take many of these types of incidents to make one a little hesitant to swallow the company lines of "work hard, get ahead".

11-30-11, 7:59am
They said the same thing about GenXers in the 90s. I remember both because I am one, and because I remember thinking, why SHOULD they be dedicated to a job, when companies are doing everything possible to move jobs to China, eliminate pensions, etc? The perks that went along with being a lifetime company person went away at least 20 years ago.

11-30-11, 9:10am
Gee, what goes around comes around. Why should the Millennials be faithful to one company in this age of downsizing and companies quick to fire, outsource, or hire consultants rather than having employees with benefits? It seems the days of 30 year employment with the gold watch at the end are over...me, for one, don't blame Millennials--or anyone else--for self-protection and going for a better opportunity.

11-30-11, 10:07am
I'm an older Gen X and am dedicated to a lot of things, but a job is not one of them. A job is just a way to make money to pay the bills, but otherwise a waste of precious time that could be applied to something more important and meaningful. Since I work in an "at will" job environment where a company can drop me at any time for any reason, well the feeling is pretty mutual. I would have no emotional qualms dropping any company should something better for me come along. They look after themselves and I look after mine. If it's mutual to work together for a given time period, then fine. Otherwise, bye, and I am sure there would be no sadness on either end when it comes time to cut the chains on the handcuffs. What really baffles me is how offended these companies get about the lack of dedication in employees as if people are supposed to work like abused dogs for them for less and less in return. Companies will get what they put in. I'm just not into drinking corporate kool-aid.

Nevertheless, I don't see any friction between the older and younger people on the job. It only takes a few weeks at most for any new person of any age to get as jaded and cynical about things as anyone else.

11-30-11, 10:19am
Large corporations that want to attract and retain talent are already well aware of this fact and are making changes to be better able to attract and retain talent. The large international corporation that I work at did a fairly drastic revamp of their benefits program this year. Among the changes are the elimination of a vesting period for the 401k match and pension. Another major change was a switch to a PTO system for time off. Now instead of 2 weeks vaca, 2 discretionary days and 6 sick days for new hires, everyone with less then 5 years service gets 24 PTO days per year, starting the day they get hired. A third major change was to add a high deductible health insurance option, including $1,000/year that the company will put into the employee's HSA. For healthy young employees this is a great opportunity to start building an HSA while keeping their share of the premium cost low. All of these things are likely to be very appealing to workers who are dedicated to their career but not to their specific employer by making it less of a hardship if they switch employers to come to us.

11-30-11, 11:22am
You know what has always gotten to me.....I work in a very high turnover business - hospitality. I have learned when starting a new job if someone takes me aside and says this is a good company to work for - watch my back. My experience has been that this is the hallmark of a nasty employer - someone taking you aside and saying that awful few words.....This is a good company to work for. Hearing that makes me want to run.

It is par for the course in my line of work to bond with your coworkers over how horrible working conditions are, how bad and clueless the management are, how awful the guests are, etc. This is how many survive this line of work emotionally. The managers mostly do it too. So the stage is pretty much set for no loyalty whatsoever in what I do.....Amazing to me how more and more other lines of work are becoming to resemble working in a restaurant as far was how you are treated, working conditions, the customer is ALWAYS right, total and complete lack of loyalty and no bond with your employer whatsoever....

.It has been my experience in my many years of working - I am now 45 - that few and far between are the employers who deserve any loyalty whatsoever. Something else that has always bothered me is that an employer can sack you at any time for any reason in Arizona and that's ok BUT you are expected to give a two week's notice - maybe not in hospitality so much but in most jobs - I can see giving the notice so that your co-workers are not hustling more to cover for you out of nowhere BUT on the other hand, I still have some issues with this.

I totally agree with what Bekkilyn above has posted - that a job is just a way to pay bills but is otherwise a waste of precious time that could be applied to something more meaningful and important. Good to see others feel this way, too! Rob

11-30-11, 3:48pm
Another X-er here. I have a great employer now, well, at least compared to my previous employer where the management was totally dysfunctional (I think the top guy may actually be a sociopath...). I put a lot into my work, and it is a non-profit where I believe in the mission so that helps. But at the end of the day it is just a job, and although I have a very specialized skill set that they would have a hard time replicating there are other people who could do my job so I don't take it for granted or assume it is always going to be there. One thing I learned in the previous place was that you have to defend yourself. Don't be a martyr. The real hourly wage for martyrs is incredibly low! Do your job, do your best, and don't sacrifice the other things that are important to you for the sake of your employer because in the end they will probably stab you in the back and cut you loose.

Man, that sounds cynical, doesn't it? Yeah, Xer. But I saw my dad go through a lot of ups and downs at his lifelong job at Boeing, including some really dark days when he was severely depressed. Things turned around at work and he was pretty happy and aiming for retirement at 55. Instead he died of a severe heart attack at 52. Over 25 years at the company and he didn't get a penny of his pension. Thank god he had a good life insurance policy or my mom would have been in a really hard place.


11-30-11, 4:48pm
I read an article recently reporting that Millennials are increasingly rejecting corporate life and embracing entrepreneurship. Good for them; hope they can make it work.

11-30-11, 7:28pm
The newly-entrepreneurial Millennials are a lot of fun to work with -- in my business I'm tossed in there with a lot of them, and have to work hard to keep up with them (keeps me young). Many in my circle also have a strong focus on life balance, and have very little of the dark "it's just a job" vibe, both of which are refreshing. They're the ones who embraced Daniel Pink's Free Agent Nation early, and who are finding security in multiple streams of income, multiple careers. Good for them.

11-30-11, 7:36pm
I read an article recently reporting that Millennials are increasingly rejecting corporate life and embracing entrepreneurship. Good for them; hope they can make it work.Interesting that you should mention entrepreneurship - today in the Arizona Republic there was an article about a 12 credit program at one of the local community colleges teaching entrepreurship.....Very interesting. Rob

11-30-11, 8:03pm
Whether I am Gen X or Millenial depends on the various start dates given to each, I've seen dates that would put me in either, but I'm in the borderlands. DH is younger than me and is pretty firmly a millenial. I've noticed the entrepreneurial trend in my circle. I think it's great.

Zoe Girl
12-1-11, 10:09am
First of all thank you all! I have seen so many bash the generation conversations around that I was hesistant to read this. And then add my personal baggage of being an Xer and hearing constantly about what slackers we were when I always worked 1-2 jobs, went to school, etc.

I am a solid Xer who feels odd because I have that work ethic of the boomers with the cynicism of the Xers and the energy many days of the younger people. I did some reading to help a staff conflict situation and found I identified more with younger workers. Then we had a meeting to clear up issues and I was realy proud of my younger staff, they spoke up and don't have a lot of heirarchy thinking but were very respectful and we solved some things.

I really agree that our loyalty is slim to none. I have seen my former part time employer really change in the last 5 years (I quit a month ago) and it makes me so sad. Now working on Thanksgiving, being very hard on my friend in her work when she has serious family and medical needs, and btw my 401K stock is still going down. I think store by store you can affect the culture but it is right now pretty toxic.

I am thinking entrepren*&$* (cant spell today) and wondering about how to cluster my skills in training, education, and basically just talking to angry people and making them less angry?

12-1-11, 11:51am
As a boomer I don't blame them - their employers (all the big ones, and many(most?) of the smaller ones) are out to get as much as they can while giving as little as possible. I don't see any reason why the millennials (or anyone else) should give that dedication when they are not going to be properly compensated for it.

You get what you pay for.

12-1-11, 12:58pm
I am thinking entrepren*&$* (cant spell today) and wondering about how to cluster my skills in training, education, and basically just talking to angry people and making them less angry?

Zoe Girl, maybe you can find a niche where you could be a coach? There are lots of coaches out there, but the ones that identify a niche they really care about, and really get good at, are doing well. I personally think you'd make a great coach.

steve s
12-1-11, 3:16pm
There's an old Soviet adage that often rings true here in America

"You pretend to pay us, we pretend to work"

12-1-11, 4:54pm
me, for one, don't blame Millennials--or anyone else--for self-protection and going for a better opportunity.

One has to be very careful that that better opportunity actually is one though. Salary and benefits you should know up front, but oh so much else is unknowable (what the real hourly expectations are - ie is this a company expecting a lot of unpaid overtime? Do you have x weeks vacation but it's frowned upon using it? There there are manager's temperments (mean managers, micro-managers etc. etc.), corporate culture, coworkers attitudes, etc.). A bad situation is clear to call when one is in it, but knowing what is better is major lack of information. Also better make sure that new job isn't in a company that is going under real soon.

12-2-11, 12:13am
I'm an older X-er (42). What I've mostly seen in the under-30 group on the job is a rather lackluster work ethic. It's always "me-me" and no idea of being a team player. They generally will not pitch in voluntarily and have to be dragged into it kicking and screaming (I've been a witness to such hissy fits). I've seen this age group pitch hissy fits that you wouldn't believe if they have to stay late *occasionally* (say, an extra hour several times a month). Timeliness is a real issue - or rather, a lack of timeliness. Not just arriving on time in the morning, but also coming back from lunch on time. And don't get me started on the lack of cluelessness on the part of a good many I've seen on how to dress appropriately for work (business casual). The young women (and men) have to be told explicitly what they can and cannot wear to the office. It's not just too much cleavage on top, but on the bottom, too! The fact that you shouldn't go to work with your underwear showing seems to be a major newsflash for some of the 20-somethings I've worked with.

Yeah, my experiences with this age group in the workplace have not been particularly positive.

12-2-11, 12:19am
I have two points.

First, I agree with the idea about the old soviet saying. LOL It is so true. And, I have to agree with the "whys" for why it happens. Without the real benefits coming from the work, it is really hard to dedicate yourself to it. Also, if you aren't 100% sold on and passionate about it, then it's even harder. There really is *no* incentive.

The only thing that people seem to function from, though, is fear. ApatheticNoMore mentions the "unknowns" about switching to a company with better pay/benefits -- and that is true. It could be worse. It could also be better.

But here's how the game works. Friend of ours worked at the same company as DH. He got a different job at another company, earning 5% more, plus a better title, plus better benefits. He worked there for two years (he said it was terrible), and then applied for another open position at the company where DH worked.

Because he'd been paid X +5% plus his COL raise after year one (+3%), he was able to ask for ((x+5%)+3%) + 5%. And, he was able to negotiate his bennies, and he was able to get a higher position in Dh's company -- a job he wouldn't have been considered for before.

After moving into this area of work, he then -- two years later -- learned that a person was moving on from her job, and he asked HR for her position -- which was a promotion. He went through the channels and got the promotion.

In under 5 years, he went from being an entry-level guy to a company VP. Because he moved to another company that put him in management, then moved back to the original company to middle-management, and then was able to move from middle to upper management in two years after re-joining the company. He's been VP there now for about 5 years, and has no interest in going higher, but works very well with the company because he likes the income that he earns at that level.

So, it can work to your advantage. But, he's pretty much a company man.

Second, it's about entrepreneurial-ship. This is hard core my camp. :D

I find that -- regardless of generation -- there is a certain mindset that goes along with entrepreneurial people. It's a sort of spirit.

First, you have to be willing to take risks. Also, i find that most people with this personality type do NOT work well working for someone else. They chafe under the 'ruling' of another, and want to be masters of their own destiny. With this, the most successful ones have way too much pride to take a hand out (go on welfare, etc) unless absolutely, positively, 1000% necessary.

So, to an extent, it's "work or starve."

I explain this to a lot of people when I do business coaching. I remind them that they need to figure out HOW they want their yoga business to work. Having a part-time, break-even yoga business is fine, but it means you need a day job to support yourself, a trust fund, or wealth significant other (who has a job or a trust fund). If you don't have that, and you don't want to work a day job, then you have to *gulp* -- work your ass off.

running a business is fabulous. It is fun. It's truly glorious in 10,000,000, 000 ways. I love it. I love everything about it. And, we have a diversified economy too (with DH also doing some work on the side, contract style). we are lucky that we live in a country with socialized health care, because that allows us to afford to do this (and since GST and ACC levy covers these costs, we do pay for it, btw).

Regardless of age, this optimistic, hard-working spirit is what creates successful businesses. It's a total "can-do" attitude!

And i like that. :)

12-2-11, 12:46pm
"We are lucky that we live in a country with socialized health care..."

This is the key, I think. A safety net gives people the confidence to try their wings, knowing that one illness or a business failure cannot ruin them.

12-2-11, 1:04pm
Quite frankly, I am not surprised that they don't have any loyalty to the company. In their lifetime, they have been handed every luxury, have seen their parents let go from good jobs, the apathy of the country as the old war between Repubs and Dems is staged, and most of them wonder what the point is of it all.
I whole heartedly agree with Zoebird...either you have the fire inside or you do not....it is that simple! I worked for corporate for 10 years, you could never pay me enough to go back into that culture. OTOH, I have worked my a## off to have my business where it is today and I can enjoy a "semi" retired life now.

12-2-11, 6:12pm


i tell people all the time that the reason we moved to NZ is because the opportunity was here. We needed less money to invest, and we needed less money to support ourselves for the first two years because we didn't have to worry about paying for the schooling we wanted for DS (private in the us, $3,500 per annum for a 2 yr old) and we didn't have to worry about health care.

it makes a HUGE difference for us.