Thinking like a millennial

I’m jealous of the millennial generation.

I’m not jealous of their thirst for technology, freedom, or age. Oh it would be fun to be 21, 25 or 30 for a day, to take another spin or two around the clock, but I’m comfortable in my own skin, approaching middle age.


With more than 92 million of them, millennials rank as the largest in U.S. history and have come of age during a time of extreme global, technological, and economic change. Thanks to that change, they have a unique set of experiences and expectations different than any other generation.

No, I’m jealous of their focus on work-life balance and specifically their ability to separate work from home. Since I was a young man, I’ve associated a large amount of my own self-esteem and identity from my work. Oh, I know that’s a self-destructive way to thinking, but it still doesn’t stop me.

One day I make a major contribution help my team reach a project milestone and I’m flying high as a kite. The next day we all run into issues and I trudge home playing and replaying conversations and challenges in my head.


Keeping all the balls in the air 

I’m stereotyping to a large extent, but I’ve come across a number of millennials over the past several years with this balance. The research backs it up. They place a greater emphasis on work-life balance and social consciousness and seem to do a better job keeping work and home separate

A LinkedIn report this weeks stated that millennials in 2016 were 50% more likely to re-locate and 16% more likely to look for opportunities in new industries than non-millennials. The data shows that “millennials value different things in a career opportunity than non-millennials. Millennials are significantly more likely to cite a strong career path and strong employee development opportunities as qualities they care about in a job, and the most frequently cited reason by millennials for leaving a job is a lack of opportunities for career advancement.”


Improvement without the middle-life crisis

Those things matter to me and other generations too, but I definitely fail to compartmentalize work and home like they do. I have to manually force myself. I mentally tick off my to-do list in my car on my way home from work, so that I can relax and feel prepared to tackle the next day. I have to remind myself that there are things that I can control and things that I can’t.

In the end, I’m tempted to quit my job, buy a new convertible, and go full-mid-life crisis, but I suspect it won’t get me any closer to the right balance. In the end, I think it comes back to working hard, doing the best I can and then giving myself a break.

I could be wrong, but I’ve always thought that was pretty much the solution to everything.


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