While reading Sarah Idzik’s article, “Unprepared: From Elite College to the Job Market,” I found myself thinking how great her post-graduation life turned out in comparison to stories I’ve heard and read. I do understand the worries she describes such as wondering how her education would translate into a job and once in that job, feeling as if she “wasn’t even really doing any consequence at all.” The entire university bubble fills students’ minds with high hopes of a great career where they will change the world and achieve great things, so when they are plunked into a repetitive 9-to-5 jobs, how could they not be depressed?
Idizik’s decision to uproot her life and move somewhere new in hopes of a better life to me seems unwise. She may be unhappy in her job, but so are millions of Americans. Maybe I’m horribly pessimistic, but I often have a difficult time understanding some of my peers’ belief that if they don’t love their job, they should quit. Employers pay their employees for a reason: the work usually isn’t enjoyable. Trying to fine complete fulfillment in one’s job seems like an unrealistic goal.
Myers and Sadaghiani’s article, “Millennials in the Workplace” review specific traits which popular literature suggests characterize our generation, dividing them into five general categories. Within these categories, they present specific behaviors and beliefs reported by Millennials. I personally found many of these traits to be fairly accurate, recognizing them in both my peers and myself. One that I could most relate to was the desire for a “flexible career path because their priority is work-life balance.” I have a very strong desire to keep my work life and home life separate and prevent one from bleeding into the other. Specifically, I have told my boss that I cannot work on weekends because it is the only time I get to spend with my husband. The authors suggest this desire for work-life balance stems from our beliefs that our work “is a less significant part of [our] personal identities” and more of a means to an end.
One of the traits I don’t necessarily agree with is our supposed preference to work in teams as opposed to solitary work. I speculate that this is projected onto us. Professors and teachers I have had (all from previous generational cohorts) seem to LOVE to assign group tasks (I have at least one every semester, and often at least one for each class), but the announcement is usually met with lots of eye-rolling and groaning. I can’t recall a single person ever telling me they enjoy group projects. I generally don’t mind them provided everyone in my team pulls their weight, but given a choice, I would choose to work alone the majority of the time.
A lot of the stereotypes presented in these articles made me realize that they don’t communicate the whole picture. Two Millennials may have the same beliefs and exhibit similar traits, but do so in completely different ways. There are obnoxious people and decent people in every generation. Maybe I’ve internalized a lot of messages from older individuals, because I often tend to see things from the perspective of someone of an earlier generation. One statement that always sticks in my mind while applying for jobs is a part of Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture” where he advises students that no job is “below” them. I’ve filled out job applications to be a housekeeper at a motel over the summer. I think that speaks for itself.