Thursday, June 4, 2009

Millennials work weekends

The Millennials, aka Generation Y, is entering the workforce and being asked to work long hours if they want to move up in the world. One take on this is the Millennials are "Trophy Kids" who have been spoiled by their Baby Boomer parents and are now whining because they have entered the real world.

However, there is another possibility-maybe employers ARE asking Millennials to work too much. Maybe they're asking their employees to work more than any previous generation has had to before. While I don't have the numbers to back this up, I am sure we'll find 'hours per week' are on an incline.

At this point, I'm sure many people, especially Americans, will want to know why workaholism is a problem. "Didn't the Founders place industry on the list of virtues?" they'd ask. Yes, but virtue is the golden mean between two extremes and what we have today is no media via.

Coincidentally, the vice of workaholism breeds its counterpart, idleness:

When your mind and body are exhausted from overwork, what leisure time
there is tends to be squandered on passive entertainments: hours spent in
front of the television or sleeping weekends away. In this way the person
becomes impoverished on many levels: personal, familial and social.

This is the type of criticism Americans receive from their European counterparts: Work is for the sake of leisure, not the other way around. On this point, they're right; however, what many contemporary Europeans consider leisure is simply hedonism. What contemporary Americans and Europeans share in common is materialism, albeit of different varieties.

What do I mean by 'leisure' then? Check out Josef Pieper's Leisure: The Basis of Culture. Or if you want something shorter...

We are talking here about recreation, about doing things that that are
valuable for their own sake such as reflecting on the meaning of life, attending
cultural events or learning a new language.

In conversations I've had with family and friends what I often hear is that if you don't play the game then you'll either be permanently benched or relegated to second string. They say nothing can be done about this.

France's solution is to fix the number of hours per week by law, but I admit I don't want that for fear of corporate flight. But maybe my family and friends can change the culture once they're in control of things. What seems to be happening now is each generation asks more of the next generation. One day the Millennials will be the bosses and they will have to decide if they want to ask the up and comers if they can come into work on Saturday. My advise to them is they don't ask.

1 comment:

  1. I agree - overworking = squandering time later!
    In medicine, its actually the other way around - the new generations are looked upon with disdain/"shaking heads" by how much LESS we work than they did. A lot of people dont believe in the new residency "duty hours" which says you can't be at work for longer than 30 hours in a row, and you have to have at least 10 hours between the time you exit the hospital and the time you re-enter it again. and you have to have at least 1 day off per week ON AVERAGE. and work on average less than 80hrs/week