We Millennials Don’t Want Jobs, We Want Lives

Me looking up.

We’re in the year 2018, and the topic on ‘Millennials are hard to manage’ is still getting thrown around. As a Millennial myself, I’m often hearing complaints from business owners and executives about our work ethic, such as we’re hard to manage, we’ve got no commitment and no drive whatsoever. Furthermore, there are many articles out there saying that Millennials just won’t work, we’re lazy, and think we’re entitled to a job.

We get it. Back in those days where employers had the “take it or leave it” attitude and employees had the “deal with it” attitude with just about every job, people were happy to have a job and they did whatever they had to do to keep it. That’s an understandable view, however, it’s also largely incorrect – time is changing.


Millennials Want Lives

Like it or not, Millennials are needed for the success and sustainability of your business. If you want to attract and retain the right talent, you need to start thinking fundamentally different and face a new reality. Don’t solve the issue by offering more interesting jobs. Millennials don’t want jobs. They want lives.

According to Jamie Gutfreund (Chief Strategy Officer) of the Intelligence Group, Millennials will represent 40% of the total workforce by 2020. Let this sink in for a moment.

Additional important findings on Millennials are:

  • 64% say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place.
  • 72% want to be their own boss, but if they do have to work for a boss, 79% want their boss to be more as a coach or mentor to them.
  • 88% prefer a collective work-culture instead of a competitive one.
  • 74% want flexible work schedules.
  • And 88% want work-life integration where work and life are blended together, which isn’t the same as work-life balance.

Millennials are strategically searching for opportunities to invest in an organisation where they can make a positive difference, preferably one that itself makes a positive difference. This is a certain lifestyle centred around freedom in making choices for themselves and showing a sense of independence.

With the technology nowadays, anyone can do anything with the right tools and aspirations. It has never been easier to work for ourselves or any other organisation, no matter where we live.


Redefining Work

Instead of focusing on squeezing whatever you can out of the Millennial workforce before they move on in two to three years, you need to stop and listen. We’re not shy about telling you what we want. Our way of looking at the world and life is often misunderstood by older generation managers.

We aren’t entitled – we are empowered. We want more out of life, and we will get a lot of what we are seeking. This doesn’t make us better or worse, it just means that life is different now. We are growing and evolving. We don’t buy into the concept of sitting at an empty promise desk for eight to ten hour a day trying to look busy for a boss. We see a bigger picture, leveraged by technology. This means the ability to add meaningful value from anywhere at any time.

Regardless of what you think you can get out of Millennials in the short run, it is outdone by the benefits of a long-term relationship filled with ambition, creativity, collaboratives, passion, tech-savviness, and cultural awareness.

So, here are four ways to attract and retain the best of Millennials for your organisation.


1. Creating An Entrepreneurial Culture

72% of Millennials want to be their own boss. This means working when, where and how you like as long as results are delivered. At the same time, it offers flexibility and freedom, and removes discussions around the dead concept of work-life balance. With technology nowadays, work and life look the same. Being your own boss not a job, it is a lifestyle.

If you embrace the Millennial entrepreneurial spirit and build an internal culture to support, rather than step all over it, they don’t feel the need to leave your organisation to fulfil this desire. Anyhow, results are all that really matters at the end. By giving them the flexibility and freedom, where possible, to be their own boss with a focus fully on results. In long-term, this produces greater employee engagement, loyalty and ultimately better business results.


2. Having A One-Team Mentality

88% of Millennials prefer to collaborate instead of competing with others. There are still many organisations whose employees spend more time competing internally against themselves instead of their external competition. Millennials don’t want to work in such an environment, but they’re interested in working together to make the world a better place. An organisation that truly embraces and lives a “one-team” mentality will attract and retain the best of Millennials.


3. Caring For People’s Success

A step towards attracting and retaining the best of the Millennial workforce and organisational improvement is the recognition that people’s lives matter. Organisations are not special, but how they care about the success and health of their people is. It’s important for organisations to understand that creating a successful life for its people can maximize their engagement and business results. This ultimately leads to their ability to change the world.

Supporting the life success of your employees requires leaders and managers who take on the role of strong coaches and mentors. They should focus on both short- and long-term career and personal development. 79% of Millennials say this is important to them.


4. Communicating Higher Reasons

It’s key that both the Millennials and you know how the required work is having a positive impact on the world. This thoughtful consideration is what will excite them and the next-generation workforce and where true value adds up when it comes to engaging people, fulfilling purposes, and driving business results.

Most businesses are not established with the purpose to make money. They started for a higher reason. Know your industry and organisation’s purpose. Know how you make the world a better place. If you can’t connect the dots, Millennials will look elsewhere. 64% of Millennials say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place.


We Are Who We Are

If leaders and managers effectively communicate and align both organisational and employee purposes, organisations will experience greater employee and customer engagement, and greater business success.

We Millennials are interested in work; we are not lazy; we don’t think the world owes us a living; we want more out of life and we want to leave the world a better place because we live.

Originally published at

  • What is your opinion on Millennials?
  • What is your opinion on organisations nowadays?
  • How is your experience with Millennials/organisations?

Have your say in the comment section 🙂

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Life work


yechen1989 View All →

Freelancer // Blogger // Life & Change Enthusiast.

19 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I was the boss of a company for 12 years and I would say, to all millennials with this attitude, no-one in an organisation is indispensable, not even the man/woman at the top so, before you dictate what you want from a job, prove your worth to the person paying you.
    Being your own boss is not a ‘lifestyle’; you will have less free time and much more stress as the boss than you ever will working for someone else.
    Most businesses are started to make money; to say otherwise is disingenuous. You have to believe in what you do and have a passion for it to make a success of a business but no-one would take on the kind of responsibility and commitment that’s required for no return.
    Every generation thinks that they will change the World, yours, your parents, your grand-parents and, over time, we realise that we are nowhere near as significant as we think and the World will not collapse if we are not in it.
    I don’t wish to be unkind by saying any of this and I am sure that you have the very best of intentions but this post came across as arrogant and entitled. I was the same at your age but the attitude did not serve me well – life became much more rewarding when I learned a little humility.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi there, thanks for sharing your view on this 🙂 I can agree with a lot with what you just mentioned. However, time is changing and it’s changing fast. The resources we didn’t have or couldn’t obtain back then, it’s now al within the palm of our hands. Yes, it’s still hard work and I hope we’re aware of that.
      Of course, there are a lot of amazing companies out there who cares for their people, who I believe we would love to work for. But at the same time, there are really disgusting ones that don’t even bother. This depends on the context of each situation thought. This post is meant to spark these conversations 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes definitely things are changing but things are always changing, they never stop and things are no different for your generation than any generation before you.
        Yes, again I agree, there are some awful employers out there and more often than not they go out of business because their staff are not motivated to provide a good service but it’s always been like that.
        I actually think you were pretty brave to speak out the way you did but, until you’ve been a boss, you’re not really in a position to talk about being a boss. Added to that, it’s never a good idea to demand something from someone until you’ve proved your worth. You can ask politely while presenting your reasons for wanting something but demanding is unlikely to get you very far 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Change is constant indeed. I’m not sure what you mean with things are no different for my generation than any generations before me. I think things are very different now, compared to previous generations. Just look at current characteristics, thought processes, expectations, and preferences due to change in parenting and involvement of technology. It’s a long topic haha.
          Yes, true that. Rather go for a win-win with a mutual understanding 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • What i meant is that all generations experience change. For example women of my grandmother’s generation didn’t work yet for my generation it was the norm. Your generation is experiencing things that the generation before you have not necessarily experienced but that is the nature of life and has been since time immemorial. What I am trying to say, with no wish to cause offense, is that there’s nothing special about your generation. You have the same zeal and desire for change that we all have when we’re young 😊

            Liked by 1 person

  2. This resounds alot with me as a millenial myself but as someone has already commented, it is also important to prove one’s worth before he or she run after entitlement to flexible work hours, being one’s own boss and etc.

    Great post btw! Do you mind if I create an infographic out of this?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an excellent and validating post! As a millennial who is trying to navigate her way through the workforce (and was lucky enough to stumble upon a company with a wonderful culture that *actually* cares), it is nice to read that I’m not the only one with these feelings. Sometimes I get swept up in the Gen-X vortex of “you work until you keel over, you don’t have to care about or be happy in your job, you go home” rinse and repeat until you die. Sometimes doing something that makes me feel happy and fulfilled seems too much to ask!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great blog post. I’m a millennial myself and I work in finance, a world where “it’s done this way because it’s done this way” is all too common. I’ve watched as so many people work hard instead of working smart. I don’t have fantastic programming skills however any task I can automate, I will. However I’ve learnt that when you take tasks and reduce them to “click this button, wait for the program to run, check the numbers reconcile” so many people are quick to criticise, as if merit should be given based on how hard you work rather than on the output you create.
    With the substantial improvement in computing over the past decade, is amazing that so many processes stay inefficient simply because “that’s the way it’s always been” and my biggest worry is that this increase in efficiency will lead to increased profits for business owners rather than a better life for workers.

    Reading some of the comments above, I agree that no one is indispensable, however I’ve learnt through experience that if your current employer doesn’t value you enough to give you that raise our the flexibility you are after, then find another employer because if you’re talented there are plenty out there

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there 🙂

      Thanks for you comment. I’m not familiar with how the organisational culture is like within your company, but it sounds like the employees are not being heard. If I may ask, what is the reason for you to stay there?


      • I’ve actually recently left that company. You’re completely right that the employees aren’t being heard, many are leaving as a result, but the ones who stay are just having to work longer and longer hours as people aren’t being replaced

        Liked by 1 person

        • In that case, I’m glad you did. I hate to say this but it’s a matter of time for the rest to have a burnout and for the company to run out of employees. Such a company won’t attract loyal employees.


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