Why young people hate their jobs―and what to do about it A ‘millennial therapist’ explains

November 18, 2019

I once overheard a man venting about his millennial employees.

“Their minds are always elsewhere,” he said as his wife nodded in agreement. “They’re entitled, disengaged, lazy and hard to manage.”

As a Gen X’er, I’ve heard just about every millennial stereotype imaginable. But as a therapist who has been working with them for years, I actually find them to be a highly intelligent, idealistic, diverse and ambitious bunch.

Like any other generation, millennials have a lot of issues to work through. But to an extent, most millennials do struggle at work.

Each and every one of my millennial patients have at one point said to me: “I hate my job.”

Why young people hate their jobs

“They aren’t putting energy or passion into their jobs,” according to Gallup’s researchers. “They’re indifferent about work and simply show up just to put in the hours.”

Potential reasons why millennials work engagement is low

  • Unrealistically high expectations of what their day-to-day work lives would be like
  • Impatience and frustration because they want career advancement in months vs. years
  • Social media overload, which can create a distorted reality where everyone else seems to have an amazing life
  • Employers who aren’t providing new opportunities or compelling reasons for them to stick around

Losing the ‘I hate my job’ mentality

If you’re a millennial who falls under this category, here’s my advice:

  1. Stop saying, “I hate my job”

Almost everyone I know, regardless of their generation, has worked a job they hated. It’s essentially a rite of passage into adulthood. So instead of saying, “I hate my job,” why not figure out what is within your control to change.

  1. Lower your expectations, raise your standards

The expectation is your strong belief that something will or won’t happen. Standard, on the other hand, is a level of quality that you’re willing to accept as the norm. In order to balance the two, work on holding your standards in a high place, while not expecting those standards to be met 100% of the time.

  1. Weigh your options and be patient.

Take some time to figure out what you really value and what kind of impact you want to have. Once you start to understand the things that truly matter to you, it’ll be easier to find a job that fits you best. Also, keep in mind that you’re not going to land your dream job right away.

  1. Be kind to yourself

When stressed, angry or frustrated, reach out to someone for support. I can’t stress enough the importance of cultivating and prioritizing strong and healthy relationships. Reaching out to people who genuinely care and will listen to you is one of the most effective ways to cope with stress.

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