Younger Workers are the Most Unhappy Workers

Recently there has been some discussion about a report that says the average American Worker is more unhappy than in the past. Young workers seem to be the most unhappy. It is a shame that younger workers are the most unhappy because they have the longest time to work. I have come to believe that there are two basic problems adding to this unhappiness at work for so many young people. The first is a problem with the educational system and the second is a problem of their expectations of what a career/job is going to be like.

While I am not an advocate of having K-12 be a job prep program, there does need to be more connection to the world of work. In my experience, the average teacher has never worked in a non-school environment it is difficult for them to really help prepare their students for a world they have not experienced themselves. For example, high school students are taught in career classes that a job is a dead end/boring thing that you do just to earn money, but a career offers virtually unlimited potential and is truly fulfilling. This thinking sets students up for disappointment. College students need to understand that they will be in a very different environment once they leave college and enter the world of work. Bosses do not have tenure or care as much about your self esteem as most teachers do. You do not go to the office 15-20 hours a week and then study at home at your convenience. At work, you can’t drop projects like you can drop a class or choose your boss like you can choose your professor.

Expectations of younger workers are part of the problem as well. Many students have come to believe what Confucius said “if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life”. I think it is important to love what you do, but if you believe that everything at work will be loveable, you are setting yourself up for unhappiness. I love what I do – speaking to students in schools – BUT that doesn’t mean I love everything about it. I will NOT love driving in the snow today to get to the school where I am speaking. I don’t love getting up so early everyday to make it to a school for the 7:30 AM start time. I don’t like the paper work I have to complete and I don’t always like the travel I need to do. But yet I love what I do. What I try to pass on to the students that I speak to is that if you love what you do, the stuff you don’t love about what you do will not be so bad.

Building a career is a long process and with a few tweaks to education and a shift in expectations, hopefully more young workers can find satisfaction in what they do. If youth are typical Americans, they will spend a lot of time doing it.

My name is Byron and I Speak to Students.


3 Responses to “Younger Workers are the Most Unhappy Workers”

  1. MaryBeth Says:

    Very nice post and kudo to this interesting comment, i also subscribed your RSS feeds for more updates.

  2. JohnKraft Says:

    hey this nice post and also bookmarked your site to look for more updates…thanks.

  3. @abarcelos Says:

    There is so much wrong with schools and their antiquated ways of teaching. Teachers and school officials have to be aware that when these kids leave school every day they go into the real world that contains leading technologies, jobs and challenges. The basics are still necessary of course, but equally so is “life experience.”

    I hold school officials fully responsible for not updating their education systems and remaining status quo. The unfairness is that the children are the ones who lose.

    Perhaps education systems need to collaborate with businesses and create programs that help students prepare for the real world. These programs can start as early as grammar school. I’m sure there are some going on already.

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