Common Millennial Career Stresses and How to Deal
Millennials are new enough to the professional career pack that they experience many differences in their employment than previous generations. Knowing the right people, searching for benefits, having a positive company culture, saving for retirement, and feeling safe at work are all aspects of millennial careers that commonly cause stress. Not that these things didn’t cause stress in previous generations, but for millennials relatively new to the professional working world, these things are new for them and done differently than they were before. Work stress is an inevitability, so it’s important to learn how to deal with them.
The job search for millennials has many different sides to it. Instead of finding a job in the classifieds and presenting your skills to an employer, it’s all about who you know and what your LinkedIn profile looks like. It’s about somehow juggling landing a position that requires work experience, but not being able to find a job that will hire you to give you any experience. Some fields are oversaturated and extremely competitive.
A college degree is necessary for many professional positions, but for the oversaturated positions, college graduates are stuck with thousands of dollars in debt without a salary to pay it down. One way to sidestep the job search issue is to start your own business, which some young professionals are doing, but without tips to increase cash flow and keep the business profitable, it’s potentially another way to accrue more debt.
Dealing with the difficult job search as a millennial means working to make yourself even more profitable as an employee. Spending unemployment volunteering, being a part of young professional organizations, or taking side classes in your field are all ways to strengthen your resume and make yourself stand out. With the job search being what it is, it’s best to make yourself notable and to be flexible.
Finding a job with benefits is a stressful aspect of careers for millennials. Health insurance, disability, life insurance, retirement, and paid time off are all common benefits that some employers offer in addition to salary. These benefits are becoming increasingly more important, especially with the debt that many millennials find themselves in thanks to their student loans. With the state of health care right now, benefits are a necessity for many professional millennials.
Women’s health is extremely important, and it’s experiencing a potential loss in protection with policy changes in our current administration, so millennial women are more reliant on a career with benefits than they were previously. The reform of the Affordable Care Act has also played a role in the importance of a benefits package. Paired with employment, it can be a big cause of career stress for millennials to find a career that will offer health insurance with their salary.
Dealing with the stress caused by benefits in association with a career can be difficult to manage, but luckily many answers can be found in your company’s HR department. They can help you understand the benefits offered to you and the best way to utilize them. If your employer doesn’t provide benefits like health insurance, they should still be able to point you in the right direction to get them outside of your company.
Millennials not only drew the short end of the stick in terms of funding a college education and the requirements needed to find a career (with the ability to pay for that college education), but millennials will also face issues in retirement. With baby boomers already feeling the pressures associated with retirement and social security, it’s not a far stretch to imagine the lack of funds for the millennial generation. It’s hard for young people to prioritize saving for their retirement when their finances are as stretched as they are to begin with. With health care issues, low wages, and astronomical student loans, it’s no wonder retirement isn’t a savings priority.
Dealing with the stress associated with worrying about retirement involves doing something about saving for retirement. For those fortunate enough to contribute to a 401(k), it’s important to be responsible about that money and not borrow from it. Saving right now is vital, even if it’s a small amount. Add a retirement plan into your budget and discuss the options with your company’s HR department.
Finding a job, finding a job with benefits, and saving money for retirement are all stressful aspects of any career, but just as important is the need for a healthy company culture. Companies with negative company culture create disengaged employees which end up causing a slew of negative consequences for employees and company alike. Culture affects productivity, creativity, profitability, communication, collaboration, and happiness.
Millennials enjoy feeling like they are making a difference and doing well in their careers and being involved in a culture that doesn’t encourage growth or reward exemplary work will demotivate employees. Millennials work hard for companies that work hard for them, so working for a company that follows up to date safety trends, gets involved with the community, and provides a collaborative atmosphere will get the best from them.
Working for a company that promotes micromanaging tactics, doesn’t provide employee recognition, lacks in flexibility, or doesn’t encourage discussion among employees is stressful and difficult to work for. Dealing with a company with poor corporate culture is a tough one because companies with bad culture tend not to listen to the complaints of their employees. Fortunately, you can still gain valuable skills from a terrible work environment. When the stress becomes too much, you’ll at least be able to apply with their competitors with the skills you learned within their walls. Realistically, businesses with disengaged employees don’t keep them long.
Careers can be a stressful aspect of life for people of any age or in various stages of their career. For millennials, they have to juggle the basic stresses of employment with the stresses involved with being a millennial: a saturated job market, the need for benefits, a lack of retirement, and the need to work somewhere that values them. The answer to dealing with these stresses aren’t black and white, but it’s a matter of adaptability. Millennials can work harder to compete within the job market, search for benefits related or unrelated to their employer, create their own retirement savings, and learn what they can from companies with poor culture. If only it was easier to deal with student loan debt . . .