For those of us born between 1982 and 2004 – the tech savvy, innovative, change enforcing generation known as Millennials – working 12+ hours a day is normal. Many 20-somethings have a full time job, a side hustle like freelancing, waiting tables, or bar tending, and then we have the hobby we love and are trying desperately to get someone to pay us for it. The last time someone from Generation Y worked an 8-hour day was…well, never. The long hours, multiple jobs, and determination to be good at many things is a product of a changing work market, a desire to be our own boss, and lots of student debt. You can no longer depend on a 9-to-5 to provide financial stability.
The time it takes to develop a skill set cannot compete with the ever-evolving capabilities of technology. The skills that were once in high demand from top employers are now being completed by machines. A fast paced employment market forces Millennials to learn beneficial skills outside of a classroom. From YouTube to internships, 20-somethings are spending hours when not at work, learning how to work in a different field or at a higher level.
Employers not only demand an eclectic range of abilities from employees, they also look to go outside of the office to find someone to do the work. Forbes reports by 2020, 50% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers. That’s not to say they’ll all be full-time freelances, but rather, one in every two workers will freelance in some way.
Burden Of Student Debt
It has never costs more than it does in 2017 for a piece of paper that declares your competence. Americans owe over $1.45 trillion in student loan debt – dispersed among roughly 44 million borrowers. That dwarfs the U.S. credit card debt by some $620 billion. The average college grad from the Class of 2016 has $37,172 to pay back in student loans – an increase of 6% from 2015. It’s the dark cloud of debt that lingers in a Millennial’s mind, reminding us that one income source simply isn’t enough to cover monthly expenses, retirement savings, and debt repayment.
We Live In The “Now”
God bless our parents. Baby Boomers were hard working, company loyalists who kept grinding until they saw the light at the end of the tunnel – a pension and a pat on the back at age 62. It’s no wonder Millennials are viewed as irresponsible when we jump from one job to the next in search of something that actually feels right. Boomers didn’t consider how a job made them feel – it put food on the table, money in the bank, and a gold watch in hand after 40 years. What is there to feel?
Millennials want to work for a company that meshes with their life views and values. Oh, and we want way more than a gold watch (with nothing but respect for the previous generation). We want memories, moments, world experiences – none of which are too cheap. Financial firm UBS reports that 73% of Millennials focus on short-term needs and goals – like a house or travel – and believe that retirement is too far away to worry about. Nearly 30% have traveled the world for a month or more. Pensions are nearly extinct and if you’re fortunate, you can always inherit a gold watch, but a once in a lifetime experience – we’ll work 12 hours days for that.
The goal is to find a job, a side hustle, or a freelance gig you love. Don’t expand your day for something you dread. Working hard never seems so bad when you get to spend the other hours playing with just as much dedication.