The Baby Boomers had fun at work and prospered.

The Baby Boomers had fun at work and prospered.
Millennials struggle to find fun at work and are under pressure.

Something has gone wrong and we need to reverse the trend.

Simon Sinek is a well known and popular speaker. He has attracted much commentary over his comments over why the Millennials are struggling. He certainly highlights the differences between the generations and if we want to ensure that the next generations are being nurtured through, then it is worth working on how we can work to change some of the issues.

Sinek cites four reasons why he believes so many millennials are unhappy at work:

  • Parenting
  • Technology
  • Impatience
  • Environment

The arguments on parenting and technology will go on for some time. Maybe the two areas of reflection are on the last two.

Impatience

Simon cites the concept of ‘instant gratification’ and suggests that millennials have grown up in a world whereby they can have whatever they want whenever they want it. The result is impatience in waiting for success in their careers.

He may be right but we have arguing that this is linked more to the educational structure that teaches that results/good work = reward, success and promotion.

Young people have been impatient since the beginning of time. The big difference is that the young are under pressure as they are carrying debt form the first step on the career ladder and just maybe we have created a landscape where the young need to strive for success that much harder than the baby boomers and simply can not afford to fail. Of course the result will be that they can not enjoy work as much.

The irony is that one could argue that the workplace and employers are far more patient and forgiving than in the 70s and 80s which was in many ways a harsher time and yet more fun. Somehow the sense of fun needs to be found once again.

It is potentially a sadder problem as Sinek argues:
“Worst case scenario is we’re seeing an increase in suicide rates. The best-case scenario is you have an entire population growing up and going through life and just never really in finding joy, they’ll never really find deep, deep fulfillment in work or in life.”

One has to ask how we have reached this stage? Life has never been better and yet many feel the above. 

Environment

“We’re taking this amazing group of young fantastic kids who would have just been dealt a bad hand it’s no fault of their own and we put them in corporate environments that care more about the numbers and they do about the kids. They care more about the short-term gains than the long term life of this young human being we care more about the year than the lifetime right and so we are putting them in corporate environments that aren’t helping them build their confidence that aren’t helping them learn the skills of cooperation.”

Again has life changed so much or maybe leaders, as we are arguing for at this time, need to get back to leading from the front?

This is not a new problem it is just getting rapidly worse. CEOs are under pressure from their board and stakeholders for ever increasing profits. They are less visible and yet the British need to their leaders – they need to have an emotional connection with the captain of the sports team or the CEO of the company. It is not all about numbers and work.

Corporates are developing a bad image at the moment and yet, strangely, they are delivering great innovation and are world class businesses.

Just maybe they need to review how they communicate and connected with the Human asset better?
Whatever the truth is, there is a need to ensure that the young do not feel as pressured in life. They do need nurturing and the onus will lie with companies to find new solutions.

For more information on the campaign: Ben.Butler@epmagazine.co.uk

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