In reviewing some recent and depressing occupational health stats, I recalled the inspiration I felt after a particular discussion forum I did with Beijing Olympic Gold medalist Ben Rutledge. A few years back Ben and I spoke to a group of young university alumni regarding goal setting and career choice. I recall coming away pumped and thinking that Millennials are an incredible force of good in the world of work.
Millennials are actively changing the way work is done…and it’s about time. They are the perfect counterpoint to the dominant pattern of how business usually gets done. It is clear that they want both the time and energy for a life beyond the professional sphere, and this can only be a good thing.
With unacceptably high rates of stress and burnout in the workplace, Millennial’s strong desire not to work long hours and on weekends is movement in the right direction. Young workers high priority for friends and family just also happens to coincide favourably with occupational studies. An ever increasing tide of research shows the immense benefits social relations brings to one’s health and quality of life.
Unwilling to accept yesterday’s dogma, these young men and women are looking for a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in their work. They want to feel engaged and connected to what they do. How can this be a bad thing when we see so many of their parents generation tired, depleted, and disconnected from their work?
I recall them firmly connecting to the idea that lasting happiness comes when goals are aligned with what really matters most and that what you do for work should reflect this. The primacy of this concept is demonstrated by the fact that it is this very thing that many of my other clients, Gen Xer’s and especially the boomers, are looking for. Everyone seems to be saying enough is enough.
These young troupers are clear that they want an active and full life beyond the professional sphere. They don’t want to be consumed by work or be in environments run purely by numbers. This message is more important now than ever if we are going to reverse the trend of negative health outcomes. So bring it on Millennials. Keep on shaking things up.