Call me entitled because my parents told me I was special. Call me a unfocused because I switch jobs more often than most people switch the songs on their workout playlists. Call me Peter Pan because I still live with my parents. Call me whatever you want because I believe there is more to life than going to the same job each day from 9:00am until 5:00pm; working on the same project day in and day out; driving to the same company 250 days each year; and waiting 35 years to retire from the same company you’ve been working in since you graduated college.
I’ve mentioned before how aggravated I become at journalists for talking about how entitled millennials are and how difficult we can be to work with. The truth is that as the Baby Boomers retire, the millennials are taking over the workforce. We believe in work-life balance over the work-is-your-life mentality. We want to live our lives to the fullest.
I have been in the workforce for 5 years now and some of the processes and systems bewilders me sometimes. How is it that the Baby Boomers and Generation X were okay with these obsolete workplace practices. Well, my 75 million peers and I are here to challenge the status quo.
In my relatively short career, I could not help but ponder why some of the things occur in the workplace the way they do. Here’s my attempt at explaining my frustration with the workplace.
Why does the standard workday begin at 9:00am and end at 5:00pm?
Is there something magical that occurs between 9:00am and 5:00pm? Do businesses believe that these are the only hours suitable for working? Do people enjoy sitting in rush hour traffic for more than 2 hours each day?
Personally, I work best in the mornings. The ideal working hours for me are 7:00am and 3:00pm. In fact, my brain functions at its optimal level between 7:00am and 11:00am most mornings and sometimes, I can even work earlier than that. Telling me that I must arrive at the office at 9:00am is rather silly. You’ve just chopped off 2 hours from my “peak time.” By 2:00pm, this woman is ready to call it a day, for I have been awake since 4:00am and studying and/or preparing for my work day since about 5:30am, but according the 9:00 – 5:00 schedule, I’m still left with 3 hours of work. Ridiculous.
Why do I have to work 8 hours each day?
The human body has a natural ebb and flow about it. Some days we work wonderfully and some days we do not. Some days, I’ll arrive in the office early and stay late, knocking off all the items on my to-do-list, while other days, I barely make it into the office on time and only check off one item on my to-do-list. Some days my brain is not functioning at its peak, while other days, I feel like a genius.
I’d even say that I am probably more productive than the average American employee. Surveys suggest that the average American is productive for about 5 hours per day, 29 hours per week. That means that roughly 38% of a workday is unfruitful. What a waste of company time and resources.
If I focus my energy on completing projects instead of “putting in my hours,” I am guaranteed to not only exceed the 40 hour expectation, but also become more productive. Why can’t the 10 hours I worked on Wednesday offset the 4 hours I work on Thursday? Does it matter as long as my work is complete at the end of the week?
And who in their right mind thought they were doing us a favor by giving us 10 days of “vacation?”
Hello? Millenials want to travel the world. In two weeks of vacation, I can barely make a decent trip to visit relatives in Ghana, yet alone travel the world. For, it takes 4 days of flying to get to and from a location outside of North America. I suppose previous generations did not have the luxury of international travel like Gen Y, but still. Everyone needs a mental health day. You know, a day to kickback and watch reruns of Dawson’s Creek on Netflix.
Europe has the right idea. Spain and Germany grant their employees 31 days of vacation, while Belgium grants their employees 30 days of vacation. Now, that’s what I call a true vacation.
How do companies attract top notch employees by their less-than-mediocre recruitment processes?
Who created the standard recruitment process for companies? Who thought it’d be a great idea to hire a recruiter who knows nothing about the job, the skills it requires, and in some cases, the company itself? And if that’s not enough, who is this elusive professional with “5 to 7 years experience?” Is 5 to 7 years required to enter data into your outdated software? Oh, come on, it is not rocket science.
Next, who ever thought to ask some of these silly interview questions. How does “what animal best describes me,” tell you anything about who I am and how I will contribute to your team?
The workplace needs a major shift to accommodate my peers and me. These workplace practices just aren’t suitable for the highly ambitious, adventure seeking millennials who desire to make a sizable impact in their respective industries. We want more. Employers, take note.