Many of us have experienced Sunday dread. That quiet uneasiness that settles in at a weekend’s end; another work-week on the horizon when there are a thousand places we’d rather be.
Most of the time, this feeling is fleeting. We recognise that work isn’t all bad, Monday rolls round and all is okay in the world.
But for some of us (myself included) Sunday-dread can readily morph into something more sinister: Everyday-dread. The sense that what you’re doing with your life, the career path you’re on, is completely and utterly wrong.
A couple of years ago whilst working for a big media company, everyday-dread consumed me. Each night I would lie awake, contemplating my escape. Where would I go? Back to uni? Into an internship? Botswana?
I knew my existing role was never going to make me happy and worse still, I knew that all the likely trajectories for me, were a million miles from where I wanted to end up. It was an ugly time. I was miserable (and consequently so was my partner), I felt like I was flailing and failing and everything in-between.
So what to do?
Thankfully, my situation was resolved through a mix of luck and perseverance. I got a new job at a different company doing similar work. I built relationships in other parts of the business, found an informal mentor and started asking for work outside of my remit, to build out my skill-set.
My concocted game-plan led me onto a career path that made sense. I was finally content, at ease and working toward a goal that held meaning. The dread abated.
But I was one of the lucky ones.
According to new research conducted by social, job platform LinkedIn, thousands of millennials go through the same existential crisis I experienced. In a study of 1001 Australians, the leading trigger for a quarter life crisis was found to be a person’s anxiety over finding a job or career path that they felt passionate about (64%). This greatly surpassed anxiety over finding a life partner (44%), having children (38%) or getting on the property ladder (49%).
A further 51 percent of millennials reported that “too much choice” had left them frustrated, with a third (29%) feeling like they’d wasted excess time in the wrong job and over a quarter (26%) saying they didn’t know what their ‘dream job’ was.
This commonly cited sense of displacement and pressure to succeed, however, proves that millennials aren’t the unambitious lay-abouts certain politicians and media outlets would have you believe. It’s a generation feeling the heat, but the reasons why should be encouraging for employers.
“Young Australians are ambitious and driven, always on the lookout for more opportunities for growth,” Jason Laufer, Senior Director of Talent and Learning Solutions at LinkedIn Asia Pacific told Business Insider recently.
“That’s why it’s more important than ever that organisations establish a positive and progressive workplace culture that understand millennials’ anxieties.”
In my case this was true. The company I moved to had a progressive culture and was supportive of career development, allowing me to broaden my expertise and involve myself in projects that had never been offered to me before.
Employers can (and should) go even further than this to ensure younger employees feel supported and motivated. Small steps can yield big results. Make sure senior men and women in your organisation are willing to take on mentorees, allow for flexible work-schedules, and open doors wherever possible.
Millennials are willing to work stupidly hard. We just need to know you have our back.