Most Millennials Hate their Jobs. Here’s How to Fix it

On the whole, a good percentage of Americans hate their jobs.

But what about millennials? Turns out they outpace every other generation in their hate for their jobs.

In a Gallup poll,

  1. The majority of millennials (55%) are not engaged, leading all other generations in this category of worker engagement.
  2. Another 16% of millennials are actively disengaged, meaning they are more or less out to do damage to their company.

OK, so maybe “hate” is a strong word, but “not engaged” and “actively disengaged” are synonymous with “dislike” and “hate”, in my view. And that’s a total of 71% of all millennials that are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work and only 29% that are engaged.

I hate my job

If you’re among that majority, that’s a terrible spot to be in, and it’s probably leaving your wondering “What the heck do I do?”.

Well, for starters, we’ve reached a point where job loyalty is dead. In a BLS study a few years back, the government found that:

  • – For ages 18-24, 83.5% of workers were with their employer for less than 2 years, and 93% less than 5 years.
    – For ages 25-34, 69.6% of workers were with their employer for less than 2 years, and 85.4% less than 5 years.

Sadly, we wear out our jobs more often than we wear out a good pair of sneakers, it seems.

Becoming a serial job hopper is one way to handle this disengagement. At the very least, it can help give a reality check – something along the lines of “Hey, maybe it wasn’t just THAT job that sucked. Perhaps, ALL jobs suck?”. That could be refreshing or incredibly depressing, depending on your mental state.

It would be even more productive to attempt to figure out what is at the root of your dissatisfaction and actively try to change it, starting with your existing employer. Hey, if you’re going to job hop anyways, why not at least go out swinging first, right?

  • Are you underpaid? If you plan to leave, why not show the data and make a strong case for a raise?
  • Is it a lack of work/life balance? Perhaps your employer would be open to you working from home a few days a week, flexible hours, or a reduction of hours if it was the only way they could keep you.
  • Is it boredom or a lack of challenge? Switching teams at your existing employer might be incredibly refreshing. Or, maybe your boss would be open to moving you to a new project.
  • Is it overwhelming bureaucracy and soul-sucking drudgery? Sorry… I have no solution for that other than to move on.

If your employer values you (and they should, because happy workers are productive workers and turnover is extremely costly), then they should be open to working with you. If they aren’t, then maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.

And if after job hopping, you’re still having troubles, then it’s time to look a bit deeper. Maybe your line of work is at odds with your personality and/or values. In that case, a career change is probably your best bet. To help figure out if that is the case and what might be a better fit,

  • Talk to a mentor/career coach.
  • Talk to academic advisors.
  • Talk to a therapist.
  • Read books on different career options.
  • Read online job profiles.
  • Interview and job shadow people in other careers.

Also, you might just find that working for others, no matter the career, is too structured for you. A majority of Americans want to be self-employed, but few are. If you think self-employment is your path, but are risk-averse, start with some side hustles and try to build the necessary skills in your current job.

The takeaway here should be that you have options. Find the solution that works for you. The last thing you should do is accept your disengagement and stay in a bad situation. But don’t quit your job just because you don’t like it. You have to dig deeper than that and work harder than that to find a solution.

And if you’re an employer or boss – start engaging with your employees and getting creative about how to make work more meaningful for them. What worked in 1985 might not always work in 2016, unfortunately, and you need to adapt. If you want to survive, you need a productive group of millennials to help lead the way.

Are you a millennial that hates your job? What are you doing to fix it? Or maybe you’ve now seen the light? How did you get there?

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