Baby Boomers Don’t Work Harder than Millennials

An older businessman goes head-to-head with a younger businessman.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

By now you’ve probably heard, over and over and over again, that Millennials and Generation Xers are lazy. It’s a really popular “headline” found everywhere from worthless “sponsored links” trying to install spyware on your computer, to otherwise respected media outlets like the New York Times.

Sometimes these articles focus on a specific application or cultural phenomenon (Tinder is a popular one) but they all amount to an attempted moral panic about the kids these days. They all boil down to one argument: people born after 1980 are lazy and don’t want to put any effort into doing things “right.”

The thing is, those articles are wrong. All of them. A recent study by faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit looked at 77 studies on work ethic and found that there were no differences between work ethic over the Baby Boomer Generation, Generation X, or Millennial Generation. They all work equally as hard. Maybe that’s because Baby Boomers didn’t invent working hard, and certainly did not invent the “Protestant work ethic” at the core of American and European workplace culture.

So why does this matter? Because the problem is that people are constantly trying to figure out how to manage Millennials, or how to overcome these perceived failures in their work ethic. But now we know this is a complete waste of time.

Millennials are no more (or less) lazy than older generations, they just grew up with different technology and learned to adapt to it faster. They also face student loan debts that the previous generations never faced in their worst nightmares.

Millennials also live in a far more interconnected world than their parents used to. None of that means they don’t work as hard though, and spending money on finding ways to manage the “problem” of working with Millennials has turned out to be a wasted investment.

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About DevonJ140
I am currently an Accounting Director living in New York City. I love reading and learning more about business, finance, tech, and current events.

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