I hear a lot of joking (and I confess, I’ve made a few cracks myself) about what’s been called a, shall we say, relaxed, work ethic among Gen Y/Millennials.
The preceding generations of workers hit the ground running in the workplace, boastfully tossing around terms like “facetime,” “paying dues” and “working my way up from the ground floor.” Gen Y, on the other hand, kind of sauntered into the workforce, focused more on downtime than facetime and stating emphatically that they intended to have more work-life balance than their boomer parents.
Older workers (and coincidentally, Millennials’ managers) have chafed under this attitude, often taking it for slacking or an air of entitlement. However, aren’t Gen Yers just laying the foundation for a lifetime of work-life balance that their older counterparts are just now realizing may be the ideal?
That’s the question that was posed in an e-mail I received from Working Mother, which referenced a recent Pew Research Center survey that showed that Millennials, when asked to define their generation, ranked “work ethic” strikingly low. Rather, 24% said "technology use," 11% reported "music/pop culture," 7% chose "liberal/tolerant" and 6% said "smarter." Only 5% noted their generation's "work ethic" — the same portion as who chose "clothes."
WM quoted Nicole Furst, senior executive at Accenture, who believes “younger workers' emphasis on a better balance among work, family and friends even at the start of a career is admirable.”
Is it admirable to you? Are Millennials onto something good by fighting for work-life balance so early in their careers? Or, do they need to wait their turn and earn the right to be more balanced? You know what to do — hit the comments.
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