Seeking Work-Life Balance, Young MBAs Balk at 80-Hour Workweeks

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From Iconoculture:  WHAT’S HAPPENING

  • MBAs used to be a fast track to an 80-hour workweek, with family time treated like an optional extra. But younger employees are starting to change that equation by asking for — and sometimes getting — flexible schedules with more breathing room.
  • The vast majority (71%) of Millennials say that work interferes with their personal lives, according to data collected from PwC, which recruits hundreds of MBAs each year (Businessweek.com, 21 June 2013). 66% want to shift their hours, and 64% would prefer to occasionally work from home.
  • PwC itself is a model of flexibility. The company allows employee teams to create flextime schedules that work for them, from scheduling one day a week where everyone can leave early to allowing people to telecommute on different days.
  • Young adults are also willing to take lower paychecks for greater job satisfaction. Denver mom Elizabeth Barry, a newly minted MBA, turned down lucrative jobs for a nonprofit that offers a four-day week with school holidays off.

BalancedHealthy POV:

  • This is not a new phenomenon, and also, it’s not just MBA students who desire to have a work-life balance.  However, the strong desire fueling Millennials could be the outcome of a latch-key upbringing and wanting something different for themselves and their kids and/or the hopelessness felt after seeing their parents work rigid, long hours only to still be burned once the recession hit.  No matter how hard you work, you can’t control external factors, but you can control the amount of time and effort you put into being happy.  Enjoying life and the simple pleasures it has to offer is something that Millennials place at a premium.  Luckily, they are early in their careers and have the flexibility and freedom to demand those changes and make it happen, whereas Boomers and Gen X’ers have been set in their ways for many years.  Lucky for them, Millennials redefining work-life balance will almost definitely have a trickle up effect and will ultimately benefit them as well.  Flexibility, control, self-sufficiency, and freedom are values associated with the desire for work-life balance.
  • Turning down jobs for greater job satisfaction ties in with many lifestyle factors associated with Millennials.  They are definitely growing up on their own terms.  They don’t feel the desire to have the ‘traditional’ milestones associated with adulthood (cars, houses, etc…) and are much more willing to accept access over ownership.  The lack of these financial commitments gives them the freedom to be picky with their career choices and not settle for something until they have found the perfect balance of enjoyment and flexibility, with salary being a secondary consideration.