Monday Morning Pep Talk
Anecdotally, I have observed people are worried about careers at an earlier age. When the idea of blogging about aging in the workforce first came up; I consulted a variety of people and one consideration was should age should I target-- 40+ or 50+. Initially, I wanted to align with AARP’s age of 50. However, feedback prevailed that earlier career management gave workers more options in their 50s and 60s. The 40-year-old age also aligned with protections offered by the Age Discrimination Act. Work, Careers & Jobs@40+ was born!
Now employees in their early-40s are having the types of job issues that were once reserved for workers in their 60s. I wanted to focus on experienced workers in their 40s and older; then 37-year-olds started telling me about the problems they face with Millennials in their workplace trying to push them out. This week the I was stunned at an encounter with a very intense 14-year-old concerned about his “career.” Returning from a professional conference, I sat next to the high achiever and his parents in the airport boarding area. The young man struck up a conversation because my (free) laptop case is emblazoned with the name of the pharmaceutical company I once worked for and he may be interested in a career in drug research and discovery. Both parents were involved in healthcare and it was obvious they supported their son’s brilliance. Without my asking, they volunteered their son was assigned a gifted/talented track at a private school in third grade. He was allowed to take 3 days off school to attend the conference we attended and had assignments related to his experience. The son was trying to decide if medical school had better ROI than medical research—at 14!
Younger Americans are down on themselves, the economy and the country in general according to a study by the Institute for College Access & Success. To them, the American Dream has become more elusive and unobtainable than at any time in the past 80 years. Tax firm H&R Block surveyed American young adults and teens, and what they're worrying about financially and eight of every 10 teenagers (ages 13 to 17) are worried about finding a good job as an adult.
It is not just a U.S. problem, the career angst felt by younger workers is global. Work and career distress by young adults in the United Kingdom is well-documented. Having angst and becoming anxious won’t help, mature workers from any country will confirm. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), nine million Americans took a full week off in July 1976, with July traditionally being the most popular month for summer vacations. In July 2014, just 7 million did, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. That’s especially startling considering the fact that 60 million more Americans are employed today than in 1976. So, this week plan some time away from work for 2015 and realize the younger employees you work with are stressed out and maybe even more than those of us that have been around awhile.