The holiday guilt of millennials

Working late at the office more often than not
By Generation Y'er, Alex Burden, Student Blog

9 July 2018

Research shows that Generation Y (also known as millennials) are less likely to take their full holiday entitlements than other generations. But it turns out that taking a holiday is actually good for your career...

A 2012 survey by Generation Opportunity of 1,000 Generation Y individuals in America found that economic situations led 43% of respondents to reduce food costs, and 40% skipped holidays. This also extends to 38% delaying purchasing a home and 31% who postponed starting a family.

24% of millennials did not take their full holiday entitlements compared to 19% of Generation X.

A survey by Project: Time Off and GfK identified that Generation Y is less likely to take holidays – 24% of millennials did not take their full holiday entitlements compared to 19% of Generation X and 17% of Baby Boomers. They were also more likely than other generations to agree with the following statements:

  • “No one else at my company can do the work while I’m away.”
  • “I want to show complete dedication to my company and job.”
  • “I don’t want others to think I am replaceable.”
  • “I feel guilty for using my paid time off.”

Does this sound like you? In contrast, the generalised view across popular culture is one of virtual zombies; only content to spend their working hours on Facebook when, in fact, over one in four Generation Y individuals are in management positions, and spend considerable amounts of time at their job.

Sarah Green Carmichael wrote on the issue in an article entitled 'Millennials Are Actually Workaholics, According to Research' for Harvard Business Review, and highlighted that the findings were shocking: “We may be setting a new workplace norm, one where time off truly isn’t valued… about half of Millennial managers said that company pressure kept them from approving employee’s requests for time off, compared with only a third of older managers.”

A tale as old as time

Katie Denis, Senior Project Director of Project: Time Off attributed technology as one of the reasons for spending so much time at work, or working: “This is the first totally connected generation,” said Katie. “From the day they came into the workforce they’ve had email. They’ve never really left a physical place and said, ‘OK I’m done for the day.'”

We know our CA Students are some of the most hardworking individuals out there; juggling a job, a training position, and studying.

The knock-on effect of declining budgets has helped to spur overtime hours due to the fear that individuals could lose their job, which is understandable given that this generation has suffered the effects of recessions in the early 80s, early 90s and of course, the Great Recession in 2008.

What is known, however, is that productivity can begin to suffer if an individual does not take enough breaks or rest periods – and they need to do this with the support of older generations.

The Undercover Recruiter reported that without taking holidays, "it's likely that you will start to build negative feelings towards work or your employer, and it could also take its toll on your health. In order to be happy at work and maintain the drive to work at the best of your ability, it’s important for you to be able to balance work and your personal life, so that you are not deprived of doing things you enjoy outside of work and are living a healthy lifestyle."

We know our CA Students are some of the most hardworking individuals out there; juggling a job, a training position, and studying: we know that you’re giving 110%, 25 hours a day – just remember to take a break now and again like everyone else!

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  • CA Student blog

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