I was driving to work last evening and thinking about something I recently read – I can’t quote it but it was the words of a “millennial” who said that they don’t feel the need to ~ and again, I’m paraphrasing ~ get out of school, get a job, work hard, etc. They don’t ‘settle’ for something they don’t like. In other words, the older generations claim that the millennials ‘feel entitled’, they have no work ethic and the younger generation defends their position/attitude by stating, correctly, that they are benefiting from the advantages brought about by previous generations.
My point ~ after all that, and I wish I could remember better what was said ~ is that I’m driving to work (night shift, ugh), a job I almost hate, and thinking these ‘kids’ have a point: why should we, anyone, continue to do anything that doesn’t bring some joy, happiness, reward, satisfaction, etc. How many of us – older – people have and still do work at jobs that are not only unsatisfactory but abusive, hostile, and toxic? In short, bad for our health. Many of us ‘grew up’ with the admonitions that you have to get a job, work hard, nothing comes easy, get your priorities straight, hang in there, focus on the long-range goal, etc. And we are sick: cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, depression, suicide, drug addiction, alcoholism,…rage.
While I’m thinking that ‘they have it right’ and how can I adapt/evolve/reinvent myself to better benefit from the ‘wisdom’ of youth, I realized that the ‘corporate’ world already has done so ~ evolved. We all recognize that we are just ‘numbers’ to our employers; there is no individual respect, loyalty, support, or recognition anymore. We have found ourselves being phased out of jobs for younger and lower waged employees and the ability to find employment elsewhere (at our ages) is nearly impossible. There is no conscience in the job market – it’s about the company priorities; the ‘bottom line’. So, why should I feel any obligation to my work place?
I know this sounds naive but I think I need to learn to adapt to the new global consciousness regarding individual freedom to chose and be happy. If there is no longer any appreciation from owners/managers of businesses toward it’s employees then we should not feel that, once we have a job for six months or a year (or more), we need to stay if the said job isn’t fulfilling. Move along, try something new. Trust that the universe will provide. The millenials don’t concern themselves with what others think, they don’t care for labels, and they don’t believe they need to toil at anything if it isn’t bringing them some satisfaction/reward/joy; it’s a waste of their valuable time and life is short.
Youth may think they are invincible but we always think we will have ‘tomorrow’ for our ‘golden years’, retirement, finally some time to ease up on work once the kids are grown. We still haven’t grasped that so many of us are too unhealthy to enjoy life once we retire, if we don’t die first ~ and that’s more common than people think. We are all working our assess off to pay the bills and – maybe – put some money away and we have no idea what’s lurking just beyound our sight…maybe another recession or increased taxes or social security or medicare will be ‘taken away’. Who knows. We are so concerned with keeping our jobs because we need them that we haven’t concerned ourselves with the possibility that despite being pragmatic/responsible/”an adult” and thinking intelligently that we might really lose it all anyway.
WE need to stop being so damn responsible and holding up the whole financial world on our old, thin shoulders while others rake in the billions in cash and we’re left needing to return to work for another 15 -25 years just to break even. I’m going to start thinking about how I can ‘think like a millennial’. I’ve been phased out of a job I’ve had for twenty years and now it’s time for me to start a new phase of my life, one where I start doing what I want to do and enjoy my life and stop doing what isn’t working for me -like being responsible.