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Millennials In The Workforce: Work-Life Integration

Point of View

Millennials In The Workforce: A Work-Life Integration

In the coming week Ypulse takes a closer look at how the next generation is changing the face of labor and how corporations are beginning to adapt to new models. In addition to our Essentials list, we’ve interviewed 24-year-old, David Burstein of Fast Future, and Lauren Berger of The Intern Queen will be weighing in on how the internship model is changing. Ypulse’s President, Dan Coates will opt-in with his Gen X perspective and Danielle Gizzo, a Youth Advisory Board Member will tell us about her experience as a Millennial in the workforce. 

While a new generation emerges into the workforce, it is only natural that a shift is taking place in the way companies are hiring, retaining, managing and designing internal policies and practices to appeal to the attitudes and expectations of a younger digitally native workforce. 

No more is the goal a work-life balance, but with this passionate generation, it’s all about doing what you love for a living and making it meaningful. The question: “what will I get out of bed for (in my parents’ house)?” has increased  expectations beyond any other decade. Work-life balance has transcended into work-life integration. In a world where boundaries are increasingly blurring, more specifically with technology and access anytime and anywhere, this flattened, networked model is now infiltrating into the way Millennials expect to live their everyday lives. A study reveals that Millennials are connected to an average of 16 co-workers on Facebook, which they expect to be able to check while on the clock. Because of their digital, fluid and collective mindset, Millennials and the generation proceeding them are changing the way the world will work in the future. 

Boomers are used to a clear division of labor, knowing exactly when one started and finished their work day. If you chose one job, you better have liked it because you were stuck with it for good. Putting in long years of experience was essential if you wanted to grow within the company. Work didn’t mix with personal life and day-to-day sacrifices guaranteed that the family would be taken care of. 

Gen X stepped in and redefined the work and reward model. Super confident, extroverted, competitive and obsessive about quick growth, a profitable idea was based on meritocracy and a nice wardrobe, a business card and being at the right place at the right time could help them close deals and expand their network. Business time was extended into the happy hour, mixing personal and professional lives, turning the workaholic into a sexy and admirable icon (Wall Street, Working Girl, Disclosure, and even the dark, American Psycho are just a few blockbuster hits that come to mind). 

Today, the journey is different, where the goal is the experience not necessarily the destination. A recent report states that only 28% of Millennials expect to work for fewer than three employers during their careers, futurists believe they will change careers at least ten times in their lifetime, and The New Yorker coined professional flightiness as the new aggression. Millennials are translating this vision in a time where pleasure determines professional accomplishment knowing how to link opportunities with passionate work. 

The creative economy, new profession and the collective boom are painting never-before seen scenarios. The speed of which Millennials’ connect with the world (faster than a speeding bullet) sets the pace for their work relations and projects that only make a difference in the long-term just aren’t that interesting to them, because as David Burstein stated, “we’re living in a Fast Future where the world is changing so fast that we can’t always figure out whether we are living in the future or the present because the line between the two is increasingly blurry.” Because collaboration is expected in their daily lives via peer-to-peer content and power, the traditional pyramid doesn’t really fit with this generation because exchanging knowledge no matter what age, is important. Millennials are fascinated when they get involved with “works in progress”, living in a beta world, they’re exhilarated by the challenge to participate and create collaboratively. They’re used to curating their own content– reusing, remixing, repurposing– and they’re empowered by discovering things on their own such as seeking out informal types of education. They change quickly and don’t let attachments hold them back because for them, it’s about living in the present with no illusion with what the future will hold. 

In the end, professional commitment comes from engaging with experiences, mobility, shared workspaces, home offices and the possibility to create your own hours makes work always present, anytime, anywhere. Staying in your pajamas has never been so intense. It’s no wonder fashion designers are getting inspired