Why Are Millennials So Unhappy – A member of each generation – X, Millennials and Z – meets for a coffee Gen Z has already created three memes about coffee being their only happiness that day before asking for a separate cup to match their outfit for a selfie. Gen X decries a lack of appreciation that coffee is now readily available; In their day, the closest

It was 10 km from their office. The millennials sipped their drinks in silence, too afraid to cause a scene because they actually ordered an iced Americano. Even though they don’t really like lattes, they will still finish it because they got a more expensive drink despite paying less for it.

Why Are Millennials So Unhappy

Why Are Millennials So Unhappy

If we go by popular stereotypes and headlines, Gen X thinks millennials are entitled and lazy. Millennials think Gen Z is too sensitive and self-sufficient. But as millennials, it’s hard not to envy the generations that came before and after us. Life seemed easy for Gen X. Tech wasn’t dictating their every move, the planet wasn’t on fire, and you could actually get a full meal for under 100 bucks. Meanwhile, Gen Z has the confidence and self-acceptance we crave. and fake on social media.

Gen Z And Millennials Would Rather Be Unemployed Than Unhappy In A Job

When it comes to work, millennials are the odd slice of tomato in a chutney sandwich. We grow up being told we’re somehow special, filled to the brim with our parents’ ambitions, and bombarded with the success (or looks like it) of our peers on social media. We saw our parents working in the same place for 30-40 years with their heads down because it was a ‘good job’ with benefits. On the other hand, we see a younger generation wanting exactly what they want and then dropping out when they don’t get it.

On average, millennials may have lower job satisfaction levels than previous generations. A 2019 survey by The Conference Board, a business membership and research group organization, found that just over half (51%) of millennials report being satisfied with their jobs, compared to 55% of Gen Xers and 64% of baby boomers.

TimesJobs’ 2016 job satisfaction survey revealed that 60% of employees are dissatisfied with their current job, while 80% say they are looking to career-hop.

So what seems wrong? How can we be the most ambitious and educated generation yet be so unhappy at work?

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“I feel guilty complaining about work when I know so many people who have lost their jobs,” says Diksha Batra, 34, a Bengaluru-based risk analyst. His job isn’t bad, per se, but he’s still unhappy. “I’m jealous of Gen-Z; The ease and confidence with which they make decisions that we would otherwise ponder over for months. I’ve seen young entrants to the office who quit after a few months because they didn’t like the job. Here I sit, overthinking the report I shared with my superiors and wondering if the paycheck I’m paying for rent, bills and insurance is worth the hours I put in.”

Batra is not alone. And all this was pre-pandemic. After the lockdown began, 41-year-old Rupesh Tyagi* couldn’t keep his independent design firm going for long and pulled the shutters. He accepted a permanent design position in an advertising agency. “Working hours have no idea. Clients are tough and bosses don’t back you up when you need them. Without a steady paycheck, I can definitely say I’m unhappy at work.”

With the explosion of start-ups, more millennials have been CEOs than any previous generation, and the pandemic has put many small businesses at risk, having to relinquish that position of power and go back to more. Traditional frameworks, says psychotherapist Nishita Khanna. “There has also been a big change in the perception of our work. ‘Job’ is no longer a source of income but a big part of a person’s identity,” added Khanna. “We have big dreams to see others living these wonderful lives doing what we want to do. When it doesn’t meet expectations, it shakes us to the core.”

Why Are Millennials So Unhappy

Work culture has also evolved beyond the 9-to-5, in good and bad ways. First, due to increasing competition, many companies do not stick to the 9-to-5 system. Millennials crave work-life balance more than their parents, but smartphones have made it more accessible to us. “I’ve had work emails demanding immediate attention as late as midnight. When I don’t respond, or act on requests during work hours, I’m pulled up for not being a ‘team player’,” laments Suhasini Naidu*.

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Employee priorities have changed, says Raj Dua, former HR head of a leading advertising agency Growing conversations about mental health in the workplace, maternity or paternity leave, gender equality, mentorship and sponsorship, and representation in the boardroom are not reflected in how large companies run. “This is a generation where a big office Diwali party won’t make up for the lack of an Internal Grievance Committee (ICC), for example. ‘Perks’ like paying work phone bills or allowances for commuting are not job perks but something that should be given.”

When you’re asked to introduce yourself to a new group, the instinctive response is to state your name, where you’re from, and what you do. Khanna’s observation that our work is intrinsic to how we see and identify ourselves. But we are evolving beyond that. In their book Reinventing Work in Europe: Value, Generations and Labour, Dominique Maeda and Patricia Vendramin take a generational approach to understanding work engagement. At least in the European context, Meda notes that a “polycentric concept of existence” is emerging, meaning that work is no longer the central axis on which our lives revolve. At least, that’s what we want. This disconnect between dreams and reality is why millennials are unhappy in the workplace.

The adult equation of job+marriage+home+kids+riches=happiness that our parents followed has become outdated. This is neither the dream of millennials, nor their reality.

Sunny Moraine captured this millennial dilemma perfectly in a Twitter thread that quickly went viral. Moraine writes that every generation before the millennium has experienced this in some way. So will those who have to follow, no matter how cool their moniker. (I mean, Generation Alpha? Come on, that’s not right.) But we’re experiencing “radical differences from what our parents went through.”

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Well, I actually want to talk about this for a second, about millennials and how hard it is for us to convey our own age. https://t.co/1ZdWibw9w8 — Sunny Moraine (@dynamicsymmetry@wandering.shop) (@dynamicsymmetry) October 1, 2018

Millennials largely entered the workforce during the global recession of the late 2000s. We settle for unpaid internships, toxic bosses and nights at the office while every image on social media shows us our dreams are being lived by others. We have faced one disaster after another, economic collapse in the face of impending climate crisis and endless inflation. And even having a stable job with a monthly salary will ultimately not be enough for us to retire in the comfort we envision. At least not without a lot of investment and savings in this economy (slow investment is a good starting point).

Adulthood milestones have shifted, as Moraine notes. The concept of ambition is changing, and we are trying to adjust to the reality we live in a capitalist society. “It sounds very strange to my friends and family, but the moment I made time to indulge in a hobby, I never felt so unhappy at work,” says Shrestha Rupak Mali, 34, a Jaipur-based lawyer. The effort took time, but the sense of fulfillment and accomplishment from something other than work made him feel better. “I am now not just Shrestha, but a lawyer. I am a macrame artist, gardening enthusiast, yoga lover and pet parent. It took that break in macrame for me to realize there was more to life than my job.

Why Are Millennials So Unhappy

Mali says the financial security of her job has allowed her to indulge in the hobbies she wants to try, but Khanna adds that it doesn’t have to be anything expensive or dramatic. “When you find fulfillment in other aspects of your life you’re not so consumed by your work. It helps us break this inherent link between our work and identity. Then we can look at our jobs with more realistic expectations.”

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It’s easy to say quit your job if you’re unhappy at work, but that’s not something most people can do, especially in such a competitive job market. Instead, Khanna recommends identifying what aspect of your job is bringing you down. Is it the job itself, lack of recognition, promotion, or a co-worker or supervisor that is making your day difficult?

If we can identify the problem, we can start thinking about how to solve it—whether by learning, or figuring out, how to toot your own horn to stand out in the crowd.

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