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Gen Y at Work

The Mysterious Case of the Gen-Y Burnout

Remember on this season's Project Runway when 22-year-old Maya Luz announced her surprise departure, packed her bags, and hit the road faster than Heidi could say "auf wiedersehen"? The talented designer wasn't asked to leave, she auffed herself as the show's pressures mounted and the reality of actually showing at Fashion Week began to set in. Luz was decidedly moving against the career path the show was laying out for her. While the move was criticized and likely misunderstood by many, it turns out the midlife career burnout isn't all that uncommon for the driven Gen-Y worker.

Once more commonly associated with the over-40 crowd, dissatisfaction in the workplace is becoming a distinct problem of a younger generation: "A recent survey by The Conference Board found that 64 percent of workers under 25 were unsatisfied with their jobs, versus just 44 percent in 1987 (and still higher than any other demographic in the workforce)." And, when the going gets tough, these tough get going, literally. When dissatisfaction sets in, these Gen-Yers get out, seeking an alternative in a job that allows more creative freedom, and possibly their own business. So, what's the driving force behind it all? As a Gen-Yer do you credit this kind of work dissatisfaction with a fierce sense of individualism that's more characteristic of this generation? Or is it as some suspect, that we feel entitled to a certain job experience and the demands of the corporate world just don't suit? What's your take on the Gen-Y burnout?

Join The Conversation
cheekyredhead cheekyredhead 7 years
Michelle...I do not see a comment from anyone named "Diamond" but from your response it appears that person touched a nerve. I agree with your comments. There is a lot of fear in the job market. From my observations I would say we are in the midst of a paradigm shift. There are expectations on all fronts and reality falls short of all of them. Employment in general for all age groups has had a "regrouping" of ideals. Many adults who assumed their career would take them into retirement are finding themselves back in school. Those youngsters who have shiny new degrees are discovering that it does not replace experience. Change is apparent on all levels and while change is often uncomfortable it tends to leave us all better off in the end. I was one of those adults returning to college once my career came to an abrupt halt. Yes---I stomped, pouted, and was bitter for a while I did find my way out of my fog and into the light. Learning---change---is part of life. It is not always comfortable. Ironically that change has brought me some tremendous insight. I have learned that change can be a fantastic catalyst.
verily verily 7 years
I suspect it's because many of Gen Y have this fantastic sense of entitlement born out of being the products of increased marketing aimed at youth, the 'everybody gets a trophy' concept in youth leagues, and the growing phenomenon of helicopter parents. They want everything now and they want everything easy.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 7 years
I'm Gen X, and I firmly believe that they wouldn't call it work if it were fun.
heatherhas heatherhas 7 years
Hard to say. I have a feeling the dissatisfaction is different for every person. I am dissatisfied because I am stuck in a lower paying job that is in my field and I am overqualified for because of the job market. I was up for a promotion after 3 months in the position but less than a week before the interview, the base was put on a hiring freeze. And the organization I work for does nothing for employee retention. I will be out of here as soon as I land a new job and perhaps a career field change. I am extremely frustrated since I am only 26!
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