Millennials aren’t entitled. We are just burnt out. Period.

You’ve seen it. You’ve heard it. You’re probably it.

Millennials are arguably one of the most infamous generations of all time. We’re the ‘Me Me Me Generation’, the tactless and self-centred narcissists, and the dreamers who demand success to be delivered on a silver platter.

On the surface, you can find merit in these claims.

To quote Huffpost Highline writer Michael Hobbes: “There's really very little evidence that millennials are any more spoiled or any more entitled than any generation of young people that came before. But there is a mountain of evidence that things are objectively harder for us (Millennials).”

Day in and day out, everyone is talking (perhaps even debating) how Millennials should do things differently in order to survive the career jungle gym. Unfortunately, we don’t talk enough about how certain paradigm shifts have led to Millennials’ financial challenges.

Given that 22% of the current workforce consists of millennials — and a further massive 30% of the resident population in Singapore accounts for Gen Z Snowflakes — it’s time prospective employers start ditching negative attributes and start embracing the Millennial’s assets at work.

Reality Check

Take general expenses for example. Transportation, food, education, entertainment are significantly more expensive than they were for the Baby Boomers. Wages have increased across the board but definitely not enough to sustain the high cost of living in Singapore, prep for retirement and save up for a rainy day Europe trip.

When it comes to world wide comparisons, a 2016 survey by Manpower Group — a multinational human resource consultancy listed on the New York stock exchange — also found that Singapore Millennials work more hours in a week than even the Japanese.

Fast forward two years, according to government statistics published in 2018 by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), people in Singapore worked about 44.9 paid hours a week in 2018 compared to 48 hours in 2016. Sure enough, it’s a decreasing trend for the number of hours worked but a good percentage of Singapore millennials still believe we would have to work until the day we die.

Source: Brandwatch

Furthermore, research done by Brandwatch, a social intelligence company headquartered in England, showed that Millennials are a lot more active after work hours.

It’s no secret Millennials tend to go to bed much later than others. This unusual pattern is largely due to sleep being structured and centred around work rather than the other way around.

But that’s not stopping us from moving up the career ladder. We job-hop to our own benefit, strategically searching for opportunities that will propel us forward in our career. Unfortunately, many prospective employers never recognise this as a good work ethic, especially if you spent less than a year at your last job.

Do you now see why we constantly work our butts off at work? Do you now know why we frequently “job-hop” despite being well aware of the stigma that comes with it? Do you finally understand why we are the Burnt Out Generation?

Diamond in the Rough

The clock striking midnight on New Year’s Eve marks a fresh start for most of us and signals the time for a change that we’ll make in the coming year ahead. We all know Millennials aren’t afraid to change jobs.

Source: Brandwatch

Further analysis from Brandwatch showed that more conversations on jobs are mentioned and discussed during the early start of the year. It is safe to say that Millennials are concerned about job-related matters and perhaps due to the start of a new year, they are evaluating and planning for their career ahead.

Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of millennials aren’t as bad as we seem to be. Every stereotype of each generation (i.e. Baby Boomers, Gen Z Snowflakes) applies to only the tiniest sliver of people. We might be digital natives but not all of us are naive, entitled and only know how to take selfies.

TBH, we are just burnt out

The truth is, I don’t feel like I am allowed to be tired. Because of all these “claims”, I feel the need to constantly push myself over the edge and straight out of my comfort zone to prove a point.

It wasn’t until after I graduated University did it strike me that I still hadn’t had a clue on what the heck I wanted to do in life. All I know was that I had to get a job. ASAP. The expectations from society to clinch a first job that is not only cool morally rewarding but a career trajectory move wasn’t an easy bill to fit either.

Hence, taking a gap year is becoming a rite of passage for many young Singaporeans. Many see this as choosing to take time off to avoid adulting. TBH, it's time taken off to reconsider life choices, broaden horizons and prioritise #selflove.

When you’re born, raised and thrown into working society at one of history’s most competitive times, you just have to stand up for yourself. It’s not our fault that the era of technology was bestowed on our generation. Against the cries of naysayers, Millennials are working hard to get somewhere in life.

After all, life is a constant work-in-progress.

This collaborative article is brought to you by Brandwatch and Wantedly. Brandwatch is the world’s pioneering digital consumer intelligence suite, helping over 2,000 of the planet’s most admired brands and agencies including Unilever, Walmart and Dell to make insightful, data-driven business decisions.

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