Neha is up at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night. She is researching through the known and the obscure spaces of the internet to produce her best work that has to go up the next morning. She puts up a Facebook status saying, “My work takes me places on the internet, in the middle of the night.” She quietly wishes that her co-workers will see how much work she puts into everything she does. Relentlessly. Silently.
She yearns for personalised appreciation from her seniors. Her ambition is to create a valuable employee out of herself and acquire the kind of skills that will take her close to becoming a success story.
Neha isn’t the only one, though. This is a common affiliation amongst the millennials — people who reached young adulthood around the year 2000.
Welcome to the era of work martyrdom: where we are prioritising work above family and our own happiness.
We, the millennials, are working harder than any other generation. We are always-on, 24/7 because we are afraid to unplug, for we may be misjudged for being less dedicated. On one hand where we are condemned of being lazy, entitled narcissists, we’d like to differ.
- We refrain from taking days off
- We avoid taking vacations
- We work extra hours without a complaint
- We take up unpaid internships
- We, sometimes, show up at work even when we are sick
This isn’t merely because the workspaces are creating conditions for the rise of work martyrs but also, because we want to get to the top as soon as we can.
This is the norm. We are so accustomed to gruelling conditions and a 14-hour-work-day that if it is any other way, we start feeling like we aren’t doing enough and are probably lagging behind in this imaginary race where no one gets the first place anyway.
We are also the unhappiest generation of all times. Remember the Gen Y article? Why is that? Have thoughts? We crave for experiences, belonging and love but are so huddled up with our work lives that taking a weekend off can turn out to be one of the most difficult decisions.
A recent research by Science Daily attributed employee burnout to “a mismatch between a person's unconscious needs and the opportunities and demands at the workplace.” Feeling burnt out in the initial few years of your career is the obvious unstated consequence of :
- Our hunger to climb the ladder of success as fast as possible
- To be the youngest to have a highly funded startup of all time
- To be famous
- To make a difference
- To know your real purpose in life as fast as possible
- To be the top employee of your company
We have no patience with this. We merely have endless desires and ambitions that we are running after at Godspeed.
We can’t entirely blame this on our desires, though. The millennials entered the workforce at the worst time possible — a major economic recession — and getting hired — even with an advanced degree — sounded more or less like inheriting an unknown rich relative's belongings. There was humongous competition and a dearth of full-time jobs with benefits.
Having said that, it is important that we all take a break and go easier on ourselves. Most of the times the pressure that we feel is internal and we need to change our attitude towards it. Work is not equal to life but merely a part of it. This is not a healthy way to live.
We have a new challenge of making time to take time out.
According to the study, taking time off results in higher productivity, stronger workplace morale, greater employee retention, and significant health benefits.
Also, it is absolutely ridiculous for an organization to expect employees to keep producing without consuming enough. Breaks are imperative for an individual to work on their craft; develop and improve it.
It is important that one puts serious thought into whether their future goals are inclined with the organization they are working for and if the amount of work they are putting in is worth sacrificing their personal lives for.
All this, my dear friends, can only happen when you take enough breaks. And, I am not talking about quitting your job, travelling around the world and thinking about life. These breaks are about creating a balance between your work and personal lives.
- Visit your family if you don't live with them
- Take a day off to read a good book
- Attend a workshop over the weekend
- Go on a lunch date with your friends
Don't wait for a long weekend and rely on travel for new experiences. Take time out for yourself today!
Feature Image Source: Professional Beauty
Masthead Source: Broadsoft