Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review: Millennials Are Work Martyrs

Millennials are more likely to forfeit vacation days than other generations, even though they earn the least amount of time off.  Sarah Green Carmichael looks into the idea that Millennials may actually be workaholics:

Millennials don’t have a reputation as a hard-working generation. The caricature of the Millennial worker is more or less a cartoon of an entitled recipient of hundreds of plastic participation trophies who cares less about paying his dues at work and more about perks like flex-time, beer carts, and nap rooms. Or perhaps I should say that “we” have that reputation, since I’m technically a Millennial — most demographers put the start-date for this generation at 1981.

But according to a new survey by Project:Time Off and GfK, Millennials are actually more likely to see themselves — proudly — as “work martyrs” than older workers, and less likely to use all their vacation time. The researchers surveyed roughly 5,000 full-time employees who receive paid time off as a benefit, and found that Millennials were much more likely to agree with four statements they used to assess work martyrdom:

“No one else at my company can do the work while I’m away.”
“I want to show complete dedication to my company and job.”
“I don’t want others to think I am replaceable.”
“I feel guilty for using my paid time off.”

43% of work martyrs were Millennials, compared with just 29% of overall survey respondents. Millennials were also more likely to want to be seen as work martyrs than older workers; specifically, 48% of Millennials wanted their bosses to see them that way, while only 39% of Gen X did and 32% of Boomers did. 35% of Millennials thought it was good to be seen as a work martyr by colleagues, while only 26% and 20% of X’s and Boomers agreed, respectively.

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