Recently I’ve been working with a number of teams who complain about work-life balance. They mean that there are endless emergencies, they need to work late, they get bothered with work on the weekends, and they feel stressed and pressured.…
I’m working a lot right now with senior executives who are struggling with their millennial employees. (If you were born between 1981-1996, i.e. currently 22-37 years of age, that’s you!). Millennials were kids (5-20 yrs) when 9/11 happened and many of them started their careers in the face of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Cool data on them at Pew Research Center. Many of them seem needy and demanding. They think they should be in charge or get promoted right away, but they also want to be told exactly what to do to get that promotion.
I’m in favor of a little tough love with millennials. Give them opportunities to try and fail. They haven’t done much of that and it scares them. Give them praise not just for doing well, but for trying, failing and learning something. Ask them to give the counter argument to their proposal. Why might it not work for everyone to work from home all week? Instead of getting frustrated, tell them clearly why their behavior is bothering you. They may genuinely not know it’s not okay to send a two-page email to their boss’s boss.
Try to remember all the good ways they are changing the workforce. How they seek meaning and mission in work and want to have an impact. How they don’t want to work a 60-hour week and value their life outside work. How they don’t think it’s okay to be hit on by their boss. They are making the workplace better in many ways, though it might not seem like that every day. And if you’re the millennial? The earth revolves around the sun.
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