How Managers of Millennials Can Make A Big Impression

Think you can’t take a day off?

If you’re under the age of 35, you’re not alone. Millennials, the group born between 1981-1997, are the most likely generation to forfeit time off, even though they earn the least amount of vacation days.

Dan SchawbelNew York Times bestselling author, Fortune 500 consultant, career and workplace expert, and a featured speaker at this year’s Upside of Downtime Forum — knows exactly what that’s like.

“I rarely took vacation between the ages of 22 and 28 years old because I was working over one hundred hours a week building two companies, writing two books, managing two blogs and a magazine, writing a few thousand articles, speaking over a hundred times and conducting three dozen research studies,” Schawbel admits.

Over time, Schawbel realized that, like many of his peers, he was helping propagate a major Millennial myth: a prevalence of work martyrdom — or as he calls it, “a weakness disguised as a strength."

“There is more pressure on Millennials to compete for the best jobs, and then do it again and again, so it's hard for them to take vacation days,” Schawbel explains. The data proves Schawbel’s point. The 35 percent of Millennials who strive to be a work martyr most acutely feel the same pressures to prioritize working hours. In fact, our Work Martyr’s Cautionary Tale report concluded that twice as many Millennials (16%) say they feel disapproval from management about taking vacation than Baby Boomer colleagues (8%).

“It may appear that an employee is doing the best work they can, but it actually inhibits their ability to deliver results,” Schawbel says, adding that while personal responsibility is important in fixing this breach in work-life balance, it’s the role of leaders like him to set the right example.

“Companies should have a role in pushing Millennials who appear burned out to take some time off and to create a culture that allows for flexible vacations,” he notes, adding that managers who ignore the problem are likely to experience a significant cost to talent recruitment and retainment.

“It's less on the employees and more on the company leaders to mandate vacation time and have managers encourage it,” Schawbel says.

How’s that work out? Just ask Schawbel.

Over the past several years, I've prioritized vacation,” he says. “I actually put in fewer hours now and have learned to integrate work and play wherever I go because it feels like the natural solution to my busy life.”

Want to hear more from Dan? He’ll be joining several experts in speaking at this year’s Upside of Downtime Forum on October 5 in Washington, D.C. Register today!


September 28, 2016