How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation

Attempts to discourage working “Off the clock” misfire, as millennials read them not as permission to stop working, but a means to further distinguish themselves by being available anyway.

This is why the fundamental criticism of millennials – that we’re lazy and entitled – is so frustrating: We hustle so hard that we’ve figured out how to avoid wasting time eating meals and are called entitled for asking for fair compensation and benefits like working remotely, adequate health care, or 401(k)s.

We’re called whiny for talking frankly about just how much we do work, or how exhausted we are by it.

Millennial burnout often works differently among women, and particularly straight women with families.

Boredom with the monotony of labor is usually associated with physical and/or assembly line jobs, but it’s widespread among “Knowledge workers.” As Caroline Beaton, who has written extensively about millennials and labor, points out, the rise of the “Knowledge sector” has simply “Changed the medium of monotony from heavy machinery to digital technology. We habituate to the modern workforce’s high intensity but predictable tasks. Because the stimuli don’t change, we cease to be stimulated. The consequence is two-fold. First, like a kind of Chinese water torture, each identical thing becomes increasingly painful. In defense, we become decreasingly engaged.”

Far more likely is that they’re bad at work because of just how much work they do – especially when it’s performed against a backdrop of financial precariousness.

To describe millennial burnout accurately is to acknowledge the multiplicity of our lived reality – that we’re not just high school graduates, or parents, or knowledge workers, but all of the above – while recognizing our status quo.

This article was summarized automatically with AI / Article-Σ ™/ BuildR BOT™.

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