You Are Just A Lazy Millennial (Ya, Right)

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Many people believe that younger people are just different from past generations.

This article linked above mentions that millennials quit because they aren’t happy with a “boss” and they want a more egalitarian work environment where everyone is on a team.

I think this completely misses the point.

Here is the secret on why people quit their job so often to work somewhere else.

Think of your grandparents.

Many people from two generations ago had 3-5 children and most of the time, one of the parents didn’t work (generally the mother).

The families could have 3-5 kids, a stay at home parent, and a stable base of savings. But what’s it like now? Most people don’t get married until their late twenty’s (or later) have 1-2 kids or none and have minimal savings.

But what’s it like now? Most people don’t get married until their late twenty’s (or later) have 1-2 kids or none and have minimal savings.

Most people don’t get married until their late twenty’s (or later) have 1-2 kids or none and have minimal savings and a lot of debt.

In fact, only 40% of Americans have more than $500 in savings.

Think about that for a minute and get depressed…

62% of American are unfortunately living paycheck to paycheck.

People don’t switch jobs because they’re lazy, it’s because things have changed.

The deals aren’t always as good as they used to be.

For example, when I was a sophomore in University, I was told in a large public accounting firm, you generally get promoted to partner in 12 years.

While that was true for the partners I met, anyone trying to become partner had been trying for at least 15-17 years or more!

You are doing similar work, for not always the same reward.

Here’s another painful example…

In 1947 (our grandparents hayday) the average non-farm payroll worker in the United States earned $50/week. Nowadays that same worker earns approximately $800/week. Big improvement right?


I need to geek out for a second to fully explain this so bare with me.

In 1947, our currency was backed by gold which was backed by gold and an ounce of gold was $35.

Now gold is approximately $1,150. Basically what that means is you have substantially reduced your purchasing power for the same amount of work. Oh, did I mention that most of our grandparents didn’t have $30-50K in debt from University?

In summary:

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That’s right, adjusted to our grandparents time, we are paid 51% less on average

So why are people switching jobs every 2-5 years, and less likely to put up with their “boss”?


They are not rewarded in the same way they used to be. You can’t stay at the same company for 30 years and collect your pension, it isn’t even offered in most companies anymore.’

Most professionals, especially in my Millennial generation are leaving their jobs because employees who stay longer than a few years are receiving 50% less in income.

You have to switch jobs every few years to try and make things a little better.

Millennials are no different than the people that came before us. If we were paid more, we’d probably be happier to put up with a bad boss or unsatisfying work.

But we’re not.

So when the next person tries to make you feel bad by saying millennials are just lazy, don’t feel guilty.

You’re probably doing what’s right for you based on your economic circumstances.

If you need to switch jobs every few years to get the pay and lifestyle you want, do it.

You don’t owe your boss unquestioning loyalty. You should work hard enough to impress him/her to keep you hired and they should provide pay, benefits, and experiences that are good enough for you to stay.

As Richard Branson says:

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t”

– Richard Branson

  • Lifestyle Accountant

    I had no idea that our generation paid less on average, but that’s interesting when you compare the cost of gold to weekly earnings. 51% is shocking and depressing!

    It hasn’t clicked for me until recently that EACH generation is kind of the same in that they find the next generation lazy and whiny. Just like the iGeneration after us is going to face their own unique challenges that will seem irritating to older generations, the fact is they are just growing up in the world that everyone else has created for them.

    Most millennials I know, want to do meaningful and fulfilling work and earn a decent wage. Baby Boomers can think that all they want about our lack of loyalty and work ethic but I’ve received my biggest raises by simply hopping jobs, so yeah, it’s hard for me to have much loyalty to an employer. But I always strived to do the best work possible and impress my bosses along the way. There’s not a lot of loyalty on the employer’s end so why should there be on the employee’s? Forget loyalty, it’s just business.

    The only thing constant is change but I think the underlying thing that stays same is that the majority of people in each generation actually WANT to be hardworking contributing members of society.

    Overall, I think the biggest thing different generations can practice is patience and understanding with one another and stop complaining about how much easier the next group has it. Each generation is just growing up dealing with our own set of circumstances, it’s not necessarily their fault for the way they are.

    I like that Branson quote, wish there were more business leaders like him.
    Great article Andrew.