I worked as a nanny, a housemate worked as an assistant, a friend resorted to selling what would later be known as subprime mortgages. Those two years as a nanny were hard — I was stultifyingly bored and commuted an hour in each direction — but it was the last time I remember not feeling burned out. I had no student debt from undergrad, and my car was paid off. I was intellectually unstimulated, but I was good at my job — caring for two infants — and had clear demarcations between when I was on and off the clock. Then those two years ended and the bulk of my friend group began the exodus to grad school.
It was because we were hungry for secure, middle-class jobs — and had been told, correctly or not, that those jobs were available only through grad school. Once we were in grad school, and the microgeneration behind us was emerging from college into the workplace, the financial crisis hit. More experienced workers and the newly laid-off filled applicant pools for lower- and entry-level jobs once largely reserved for recent graduates.
As a result, we moved back home with our parents, we got roommates, we went back to school, we tried to make it work. We were problem solvers, after all — and taught that if we just worked harder, it would work out. On the surface, it did work out. The economy recovered. We found jobs. Because education — grad school, undergrad, vocational school, online — was situated as the best and only way to survive, many of us emerged from those programs with loan payments that our postgraduation prospects failed to offset.
In the past, pursuing a PhD was a generally debt-free endeavor: Academics worked their way toward their degree while working as teaching assistants, which paid them cost of living and remitted the cost of tuition. That model began to shift in s, particularly at public universities forced to compensate for state budget cuts. Still, thousands of PhD students clung to the idea of a tenure-track professorship.
And the tighter the academic market became, the harder we worked. We tried to win it. I never thought the system was equitable. I knew it was winnable for only a small few. I just believed I could continue to optimize myself to become one of them. We liked to say we worked hard, played hard — and there were clear boundaries around each of those activities.
Grad school, then, is where I learned to work like a millennial, which is to say, all the time.
Our health insurance was solid; class sizes were manageable. I taught classes as large as 60 students on my own. Either we kept working or we failed. So we took those loans, with the assurance from the federal government that if, after graduation, we went to a public service field such as teaching at a college or university and paid a percentage of our loans on time for 10 years, the rest would be forgiven. One thing that makes that realization sting even more is watching others live their seemingly cool, passionate, worthwhile lives online. I find that millennials are far less jealous of objects or belongings on social media than the holistic experiences represented there, the sort of thing that prompts people to comment, I want your life.
That enviable mix of leisure and travel, the accumulation of pets and children, the landscapes inhabited and the food consumed seems not just desirable, but balanced, satisfied, and unafflicted by burnout. The social media feed — and Instagram in particular — is thus evidence of the fruits of hard, rewarding labor and the labor itself. The photos and videos that induce the most jealousy are those that suggest a perfect equilibrium work hard, play hard!
For many millennials, a social media presence — on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter — has also become an integral part of obtaining and maintaining a job. And as in childhood, the work of optimizing that brand blurs whatever boundaries remained between work and play. The rise of smartphones makes these behaviors frictionless and thus more pervasive, more standardized. In the early days of Facebook, you had to take pictures with your digital camera, upload them to your computer, and post them in albums.
Now, your phone is a sophisticated camera, always ready to document every component of your life — in easily manipulated photos, in short video bursts, in constant updates to Instagram Stories — and to facilitate the labor of performing the self for public consumption. But as sociologist Arne L. Kalleberg points out , that efficiency was supposed to give us more job security, more pay, perhaps even more leisure. In short, better jobs.
If anything, our commitment to work, no matter how exploitative, has simply encouraged and facilitated our exploitation. And we get a second gig. All of this optimization — as children, in college, online — culminates in the dominant millennial condition, regardless of class or race or location: burnout. Finishing the massive work project! People patching together a retail job with unpredictable scheduling while driving Uber and arranging child care have burnout.
Startup workers with fancy catered lunches, free laundry service, and minute commutes have burnout. Academics teaching four adjunct classes and surviving on food stamps while trying to publish research in one last attempt at snagging a tenure-track job have burnout. Freelance graphic artists operating on their own schedule without health care or paid time off have burnout. World-famous BBQ! Even the trends millennials have popularized — like athleisure — speak to our self-optimization.
We use Fresh Direct and Amazon because the time they save allows us to do more work. Time in therapy, after all, is time you could be working. But planning a week of healthy meals for a family of four, figuring out the grocery list, finding time to get to the grocery store, and then preparing and cleaning up after those meals, while holding down a full-time job?
Millennial burnout often works differently among women, and particularly straight women with families. A recent study found that mothers in the workplace spend just as much time taking care of their children as stay-at-home mothers did in One might think that when women work, the domestic labor decreases, or splits between both partners. Millennial parenting is, as a recent New York Times article put it, relentless.
Go to yoga! Use your meditation app! I feel so burned out. Commiseration or advice? The end result is that everything, from wedding celebrations to registering to vote, becomes tinged with resentment and anxiety and avoidance. Maybe my inability to get the knives sharpened is less about being lazy and more about being too good, for too long, at being a millennial.
There are a few ways to look at this original problem of errand paralysis. Many of the tasks millennials find paralyzing are ones that are impossible to optimize for efficiency, either because they remain stubbornly analog the post office or because companies have optimized themselves, and their labor, so as to make the experience as arduous as possible for the user anything to do with insurance, or bills, or filing a complaint.
Sometimes, the inefficiencies are part of the point: The harder it is to submit a request for a reimbursement, the less likely you are to do it. The same goes for returns. Finding a doctor — and not just any doctor, but one who will take your insurance, who is accepting new patients — might seem like an easy task in the age of Zocdoc, but the array of options can be paralyzing without the recommendations of friends and family, which are in short supply when you move to a brand-new town. Other tasks are, well, boring.
The payoff from completing them is too small. The consequence is two-fold. First, like a kind of Chinese water torture, each identical thing becomes increasingly painful. In defense, we become decreasingly engaged. To be clear, none of these explanations are, to my mind, exonerating. But dumb, illogical decisions are a symptom of burnout. We engage in self-destructive behaviors or take refuge in avoidance as a way to get off the treadmill of our to-do list. Some people who behave this way may, indeed, just not know how to put their heads down and work.
Living in poverty is akin to losing 13 IQ points. Millions of millennial Americans live in poverty; millions of others straddle the line, getting by but barely so, often working contingent jobs, with nothing left over for the sort of security blanket that could lighten that cognitive load. The steadier our lives, the more likely we are to make decisions that will make them even steadier. War with North Korea looms.
- Millennials: Finances, Investing, and Retirement.
- Red Ice for a Shroud: A Meg Harris Mystery?
- How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation?
Our primary concern with the incredibly volatile stock market is how its temperament affects our day-to-day employment. The planet is dying. Democracy is under serious threat.
Millennial Financial Planning: Are millennials financially wiser than their parents? Find out
Kasasa April 22, Share. As of , the breakdown by age looks like this: Baby Boomers : Baby boomers were born between and They're current between years old 76 million in U. Gen X : Gen X was born between - and are currently between years old 82 million people in U. Gen Y : Gen Y, or Millennials, were born between and They are currently between years old. Gen Y.
Gen Z : Gen Z is the newest generation to be named and were born between and They are currently between years old nearly 74 million in U. Why are generations named after letters? Why are generation cohort names important? What makes each generation different? Banking Habits : Prefer to go into a branch to do transactions. What's next on their financial horizon : Unexpectedly, this generation is experiencing the highest growth in student loan debt. They have a belief that you should take care of your children enough to set them on the right course but don't plan on leaving any inheritance.
However, they are also digitally savvy and spend roughly 7 hours a week on Facebook. Banking Habits : Since they are digitally savvy, Gen X will do some research and financial management online, but still prefer to do transactions in person. Believe banking is a person-to-person business and exhibit brand loyalty. Shaping Events : End of the cold war, the rise of personal computing, and feeling lost between the two huge generations. What's next on Gen X's financial horizon : Gen X is trying to raise a family, pay off student debt, and take care of aging parents.
These demands put a high strain on their resources. They are looking to reduce their debt while building a stable saving plan for the future. Cord-cutting in favor of streaming services is the popular choice. They typically have multiple social media accounts. Banking Habits : Millennials have less brand loyalty than previous generations. They prefer to shop product and features first and have little patience for inefficient or poor service. Because of this, Millennials place their trust in brands with superior product history such as Apple and Google.
They seek digital tools to help manage their debt and see their banks as transactional as opposed to relational. This is delaying major purchases like weddings and homes.
Wooing Generation Y
Because of this financial instability, Millennials prefer access over ownership which can be seen through their preference for on-demand services. They want partners that will help guide them to their big purchases. Many of them grew up playing with their parents' mobile phones or tablets. They have grown up in a hyper-connected world, and the smartphone is their preferred method of communication.
On average, they spend at least 3 hours a day on their mobile device. Banking Habits : This generation has seen the struggle of Millennials and has adopted a more fiscally conservative approach. They want to avoid debt and appreciate accounts or services that aid in that endeavor.
Debit cards top their priority list followed by mobile banking. Shaping Events : Smartphones, social media, never knowing a country not at war, and seeing the financial struggles of their parents Gen X.
Financial Planning For Millennials
What's next on Gen Z's financial horizon : Learning about personal finance. They have a strong appetite for financial education and are opening savings accounts at younger ages than prior generations.
- Search form.
- The Millennial Generation Research Review.
- How to Attract and Retain Generation Y Talent - Egon Zehnder.
- Life Transitions And The “Simple” Financial Planning Needs Of Young People;
Do Generations Bank Differently? Absolutely, and for several reasons. Each generation has been in the workforce for different lengths of time and accumulated varying degrees of wealth. Each generation is preparing and saving for different life stages; be that retirement, children's college tuition, or buying a first car.