Once exclusively reserved for therapy sessions, the term workaholic is now ubiquitous and often used as a humblebrag or point of pride among today’s young workers. Sensing a trend, Project: Time Off conducted a study on the millennial work experience, aptly titled “The Work Martyr’s Cautionary Tale.” The results are shocking: nearly 43% of the some 2000 survey respondents aged 18 to 34 could be classified as workplace martyrs, meaning they value hours spent working and an appearance of dedication over output. Compare that to just 29% of the total respondents spanning age 18 to 50+.
According to their methodology, someone could be classified as a “workplace martyr” if they don’t take vacation days, feel guilty when they do, and spend more time appearing committed at work than actually being committed—three things millennials have apparently mastered. What’s more, they don’t believe that their upper-level management encourages vacation time, despite substantial evidence to the contrary. Essentially, they measure workplace success in terms of quantity of hours spent as opposed to quality, wearing their distress as a badge of honor.
“Too many American workers have subscribed to a philosophy that prizes hours worked over true productivity and a belief that not taking a break will reap greater professional success,” reads the final report. What’s more, “millennials are the most likely to make others feel a sense of shame for taking a vacation (42% compared to 24% [of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers]).”
These findings run counter to the popular “millennials are entitled and spoiled” narrative, suggesting that this stereotype ignores the truth of the millennial work experience. At the very least, this culture of workaholism and martyrdom could serve as an explanation to why we’re having significantly less sex than previous generations.
Do you see this culture of martyrdom play out in your own professional life? Share your thoughts below and test out this time management software for a healthier work/life balance.