“Why can’t I get this mundane stuff done? Because I’m burned out. Why am I burned out? Because I’ve internalized the idea that I should be working all the time. Why have I internalized that idea? Because everything and everyone in my life has reinforced it – explicitly and implicitly since I was young. Life has always been hard, but many Millennials are unequipped to deal with the particular ways in which it’s become hard for us.”
-Anne Helen Petersen from Buzzfeed News.
The Burnout Generation?
People are calling Millennials the burnout generation. 84% of Millennials have experienced burnout in their current job and nearly half of Millennials say they have left a job specifically because they felt burned out. Millennials experience burnout at higher rates compared to other generations because work hours are longer, wages are stagnant, and debt is increasing. So, are millennials lazy or just tired?
Yes, some Millennials are traditionally lazy and don’t want to put the work in. However, other Millennials are “lazy” in the sense that they create and discover new ways to do something with half the leg work. Despite potentially being regarded as lazy, some argue that they are the most successful generation. More than half of the generation owns or intends to own a business.
My Life, My Rules
Clearly, Millennials want to live by and make their own rules. Millennials are fearless and unwilling to conform, unlike the Baby Boomers or Generation X-ers. They have mastered the art of doing what they love and making money at it or at least taking a leap into doing what they love because working for a corporate company for 30 plus years is not going to cut it—especially if Millennials experience burnout so early in their careers on top of stagnant wages and the cost of living increasing. Putting the generalizations aside, many Millennials work very hard and make sacrifices daily. The problem may not be with the Millennial generation but rather how they are managed.
Work Hard, Play Hard?
Perhaps Millennials are just tired rather than lazy. This generation has endured two financial crises, the great recession in 2008 and now the global coronavirus pandemic. Not to mention how their relationship with ever-advancing technology has intensified the burnout problem. Phones are getting smarter and Wi-Fi-equipped laptops enable work to be done virtually anywhere. It becomes so much harder to maintain and adhere to any sort of boundary.
Additionally, Millennials have been taught that hard work will get them ahead and have adopted the “hustle culture.” The hustle culture is overworking to the point where it becomes a lifestyle. This lifestyle teaches people that overworking and overextending oneself is the only way to earn respect. In this hustle culture, it is a badge of honor to take on excessive amounts of work by enduring 14-hour days for 5 days a week for who knows how long. The pandemic exacerbated this problem, with many Millennial workers logging on early in the morning and staying online until late at night. This has become some Millennials’ reality over these last two years.
What’s a Millennial to Do?
Be aware of the signs of burnout. Some of the signs include exhaustion, isolation, frequent illnesses, irritability, lack of motivation, and mental health problems. Try self-care techniques such as:
These self-care techniques can help combat burnout or help recover from feeling burned out. And last, but not least, set boundaries and stick to them!
About the Author
Hey Queens! This is Beryl. Yes, the name rhymes with girl; get into it. ;) I was born overseas but raised in a small town in southern Illinois. I got outside of my comfort zone when I relocated to Los Angeles in 2017 because I needed a drastic change of vibe and scenery. Moving to Los Angeles has been one of the best things I have ever done. Los Angeles has a lot to offer in terms of culture, food, entertainment, and activities. In my free time, I am usually at home big chilling or eating out with friends. I am eager to share my thoughts and feelings about hair, music, and fitness.