The Millennial Approach to the Mid-Life Crisis

By Brad Coleman | Faith

Jan 24

We had previously discussed how the "mid-life crisis" is often brought on by a feeling of hopeless and lack of fulfillment in a man's life. At a certain point, we all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to know that what we do is helping people and making the world a better place. We often compartmentalize our time into work time and personal time so these are the two categories that we use to search for that fulfillment.

This is where the concept of "work-life balance" originated, the idea of trying to find the proper balance between our obligations (work) and our personal time. But these two seem to be dividing forces. How can a person strike a balance between "work" and "life" when we have a finite number of hours in each day. How can they be blended when our attention must be focused on one, or the other?

Millennials have gotten a bad rap in the workplace for being entitled, job-hoppers, easily side-tracked by technology, and a lack of company loyalty. But what if they have figured out something that rest of us can learn from? Based on various surveys of this newest working generation of adults, it appears their priorities are different. We have to consider that each new generation that enters the workforce is much more comfortable with technology that the previous. And it appears that this latest generation of college graduates, having been one of the first to grow up with such massive communication options at their fingertips, has a difficult time understanding why they should be sitting behind a desk all day.

We are seeing a transition into a digital world that allows us to collaborate from anywhere. They often don't see the point in being in an office environment when they can be just as productive sitting in a coffee shop. We must recognize that the access that we have to technology today is opening up a new set of options for working. What they seem to have figured out, quite by accident, is that they can create a "work-life integration" by adapting their working environment to their personal life, not the other way around.

So, what do millennials have to do with the mid-life crisis?

What if we could take some cues from their unique worldview on the blending of "work" and "life" to reconsider how we balance the two? If you have employees, how can you work to empower them to be more independent? If they must come to you for every little thing, isn't that your fault for not having prepared them well enough to do their job? Shouldn't you do everything in your power to help them to be as productive as possible?

So, what do millennials have to do with the mid-life crisis?

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With the vast communication options that we now have available, would it be possible to negotiate a remote working test with your boss? Maybe one day a week for a test period? Think about how much personal time you could get back if you didn't have to drive into the office once a week? Of course if it goes well, you will use this proof of concept to negotiate for more remote working time.

Do you consider yourself an employee of your company or an independent contractor?

Millennials have been shown to have far less loyalty to their companies than generations past. This is often accredited to large scale layoffs that we have seen from corporations the last couple of years; but I think it has as much to do with the digital age. When someone has the ability to work independent of location, they will naturally see themselves as being a little disconnected from their company. And I don't think there's anything wrong with this. I would rather see a person find their identity outside of work rather than in their job. Because if your identity is tied up too much in the job or company, there is much more possibility to have all your "eggs in one basket."

So instead of bashing them, let's try to study this "connected" generation to see what we can learn from them about integrating our work into our personal lives through the technologies available to us. I recently read an article that said "Boomers are too busy trying to lead millennials with boomer solutions." One of the first keys in effective communication is the ability to empathize with the person to which you are trying to communicate. I think that technology is moving so fast right now that we can easily lose touch with the opportunities available for us to learn new things. Let's make a point to learn from their perspective so we can lead them in a way that they will be more apt to respond well.

It's Leadership's job to figure out how to make everyone more efficient, not the other way around.

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About the Author

Brad is a Christian author, blogger, and speaker. Writing about all things related to men and the suburban life from marriage and kids, to work/life balance, fitness, DIY home repair and lawn care.

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