January 16, 2014

Millennials Battling Baby Boomers: the End of 9 to 5?

Millennials (or Generation Y, born c. 1980) have been getting a lot of negative press lately.

You may or may not have seen this “Millennials in the Workplace Training” video:

Cute, but a little harsh in its representation of 20-somethings as a bunch of entitled brats who expect a lot in return for not really working, the overall implication being that millennials have no grasp on ‘real’ world business.

It makes them look lazy, uncooperative—and quite frankly, dumb.

As a cultural commentary, the video highlights a huge cultural discrepancy that could seriously affect business negatively: if boomers are really judging younger generations in this way—if they are not willing to be flexible and open to different ideas—businesses don’t stand a chance.

The standard industrial workday was originally established based on the factory model which was purposefully designed to discourage autonomy and authenticity.

Whether they acknowledge it or not, many workplaces have the capacity to create options for creating more flexible work schedules and methods that maximize employee potential.

That’s what this recent Forbes article outlines, citing ‘flexibility, purposeful labour and economic security’ as the key reasons why this generation will kill the nine-to-five.

More of us (of all ages) than ever before are craving authenticity, creativity and flexibility over just income. It’s no longer about ‘make work,’—creating work just so that people ‘have’ jobs; it’s about making work that matters.

Personally, I believe that that this old school business model is going the way of the past, and good riddance. I mean, people want to care about their work!

This is important and completely do-able, and is a need that can and should be honoured via cooperative solutions.

I’d much rather listen to people like Lourdes and watch shows like Girls (two examples of younger women who are making related statements via their own creative work) to inspire me while freelancing into creative connections than do the (meaningless) nine-to-five.

I argue that many in the millennial (ish) generations are perfectly willing to work hard and put in the hours when they truly see the value in the work.

To some extent this has to do with knowing that their supervisors have faith in their abilities, rather than assuming that they are lazy or unproductive.

If they (we) are really ‘killing’ the nine to five, bring it on.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: daily sunny at flickr commons 

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