The millennial job portfolio: More work or less?

Over the past few weeks, work has been slowly increasing. Whether that is personal or professionally, things have simply been stacking up. As we are slowly entering the second quarter of the year; what it is that we want to reach on New Years’ eve and how we want to reach it is slowly accumulating into busy schedules and the hectic organization of time, priorities and to-do lists. Every so often, we are overwhelmed, leaving us with a bitter regret of Why am I even doing this. It’s a taste that doesn’t deviate far from the lick of salt after a shot of tequila.

Taking our parents as role models, it would almost feel like they were tanks compared to us peons. They are the strong robust people who would never dare consider retreating, working hard to fight through all the challenges that come their way. In comparison, we are easily hit by exhaustion, burnout and depression, things that never seemed to faze our seniors until they compounded and hit them hard at 75. In a way, ignorance can also be some form of bliss.

However, one can argue that things aren’t the same anymore as they used to and they’re not. Connectivity allows us to reach everyone in the world at an instant. Due to the improvement of technology, we are given the ability to do multiple things at the same time. You couldn’t tell a student to read through seven books in 3 days, but you can now find summary, quick-reads and highlight prints all over the internet. We are taught to multi-task because focusing on one thing for most white-collared jobs just doesn’t seem good enough. After all, someone always does better and costs less, and why else would we be requiring two, three, maybe even four monitors on our desks?

And so, we create a routine for ourselves. A routine that is based on the needs set by the society and its economic environment we live in. A routine where we fill ourselves up with 9-to-5 office hours, working on our own businesses, self-education, personal development and still requiring to cook, clean and keeping ourselves at optimal health. Families used to allocate work and share the load, but now the cost of living appears to be slowly outgrowing anyone’s capability for self-preservation and we are forced to find ways to increase our channels of income, work on our future and work on ourselves all at the same time. To our credit, we don’t seem to be doing all too badly at it.

However, far too often, we are trying so hard to work towards our future that we tend to forget our present. We forget what it’s like to slow down and enjoy what’s going on around us. We are so busy stuffing ourselves like turkey at a Thanksgiving dinner and put ourselves through immense pressure when all we need to do is just stop and breathe from time to time. Because in the end, what is it that we actually achieve here?

Research has proven that multi-tasking may not necessarily lead to higher productivity, specialization does as knowledge and experience will teach one to work more efficient, see the bigger picture, look ahead of schedule and plan accordingly. Of course, a case can be made that this is just a matter of training and that multi-tasking can indeed lead to higher productivity and as children continue to develop at a higher pace than their predecessors, eventually we come to the stage where this becomes factual. Looking at how fast we have grown, technologically speaking, this is a growing trend. Children are introduced to smart devices at a young age, familiarizing themselves with it; something the older generation never did until their late teens, or even during their young adolescence years. Today’s kids know their smart devices just as well as the older generation knew how to fix cars. To each generation, their own strengths. The new generation is no different.

One may argue that the lack of familiarity is what may cause the inefficiency, but to what extend should we push our children towards maximizing their potential with all they have? When is it really enough? Is teaching them mathematics during kindergarten considered overkill? Where do we draw the line on setting the benchmark at 130%, rather than giving them the natural development that would’ve occurred where they learn to accept more social psychological skills rather than societal standards?

Regardless, we as human beings, need to consider that outside of the benchmark that people set for us, we need to learn of our own limitations as well and handle it with care. Doing too much, may require us to compensate for it over time and this may be at a higher cost than we would ideally be willing to give, and we should learn to juggle with energy we may not have.

When loan companies have their advertisements broadcasted, they are required to inform the person watching that lending money, costs money. So too, do we try to lend money to capitalize on time-saved to achieve our goals. However, we need to remind ourselves that as debt continues to accumulate, there will come a time where we have to pay it all back. Perhaps it’s time to do some proper personal budgeting.