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Few Reasons Why Millennials Find Temporary Work Satisfying


The millennial generation has been in the workforce for several years now, and baby boomers and generations X and Y are starting to understand younger people’s new mentalities about employment. At first, some members of older generations considered millennials to be lazy because they weren’t getting jobs. However, the more the economy struggled, the more it became obvious that millennials were forced into having to think about employment in a different way. They looked into temporary work to make ends meet, but soon took it on because many found it was a positive, preferable alternative. Just like that, the workforce changed.

Quick Anecdote: My Story as a Millennial Graduating College in 2010

As a millennial, I received my first job offer in June 2010 from a beautiful high school with a great reputation. They offered me a position teaching English as a Second Language, the field I was most interested in. The problem was that it was only a part-time position, and I thought I should hold off for something full-time. It was early in the year, and I expected something else to come along; I’d been on so many interviews. So, because I was 22 years old with no real life experience or concept of the current job market, I declined the offer. I still remember hearing the surprise in the department chair’s voice when I told her.

Much to my surprise, I didn’t get any more job offers. I didn’t even get any more interviews. By September, most schools had been in session for almost 2 weeks and I was still at my parents’ house, unemployed, feeling defeated. I eventually got hired as a permanent substitute in a not-so-great school district, with no benefits, and I got paid about $10 an hour. I was in over my head. Needless to say, I would have been much better off accepting the first job.

While my mom helped me make the decision to turn down the job, I can’t blame her. It wasn’t her fault: I should have educated myself on the job market. I solicited the advice of a Baby Boomer who had held a full-time job in the same school district for 20 years. She assumed I would have the same opportunities that she did in the 90s, and thus advised me accordingly. I was the one who didn’t realize that the job market for millennials was nothing like what it was for my parents’ generation. I needed to change my attitude, and fast.

A New American Dream

Millennials seem to have their act together much more than I did, and a big part is because they’re changing the way they think about employment. They’re not letting a 5.4 percent unemployment rate get them down—which is good, considering it was over 9 percent in 2010— because now, in 2016, they’ve figured it out.

Millennials are trying to make the best of a tough situation. Instead of waiting for a great opportunity to get dropped at their feet, they’re changing the way they think about employment and about job fulfillment. Most no longer graduate college with the expectation of walking into their dream career, and they don’t consider themselves failures because of it.

With the Affordable Care Act, young people no longer have to search for a full-time job in order to afford benefits. They’re also not buying homes anywhere near the rate that the baby boomer generation was, and the same can be said for buying cars. These changes bring about a new kind of flexibility in employment. And so, millennials are seeking out temporary positions.

5 Reasons Temporary Positions are Appealing to Millennials

Public opinion about temporary jobs might have previously negatively affected millennials, but today they are realizing this may actually be the key to happiness. Consider five of the top reasons that temporary positions are making millennials happy.

1. An Abundance of Employment Opportunities</div > There are plenty of opportunities to be employed in short-term positions as opposed to the very few opportunities there are for more stable, long-term jobs. This means young Americans should be able to find a way to earn income as opposed to sitting at home every day circling ads in the classifieds (does anybody do that anymore?) or scouring the internet for full-time opportunities. Supporting themselves in these positions takes planning, but it’s definitely doable as long as they mold their lifestyle to match their income. Millennials can take charge of their temporary opportunities by working with agencies, signing up for room and home rental apps, working as a driver for a ride-sharing apps, and staying active on the internet to connect with friends, family, and fast-paying jobs.

2. The Ability to Travel</div > According to a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, 75 percent of millennials are interested in traveling as much as possible. This may be why they are sometimes known as the “Wanderlust Generation.” However, picking up and traveling to a new place, whether to work and live or just to visit isn’t easy when you have a full-time a job you’re afraid to leave. Thus, a millennial may find temporary work in whichever city most appeals to them, which can satisfy both the desire to travel as well as a need for employment. It helps the worker feel free, which in turn helps make a temporary job feel more satisfying. This may improve happiness levels overall.

3. Trying on Different Hats</div > Temporary employment allows young people to discover what they truly enjoy and are passionate about. Many people in older generations entered careers in their late teens and 20s and stuck with them regardless of whether they offered personal fulfillment or happiness. They did it because they had mortgages or families to support, and it was known as “The American Dream.” The American Dream is different now. When I think about my future, I understand it might not be in the same field I’m in now. Where I go and what I do will not be determined by a fear of leaving one job to try another, temporary or not. I will try my hardest to land somewhere that makes me truly happy. In typical millennial thinking: Life’s too short not to be!

4. Changing Priorities</div > A major reason the current job market isn’t a problem for millennials is that their priorities are unlike those of the boomers. According to an article The, when asked what they look for in a first job, “younger Americans were much more likely to say that their top priority was doing something that they found enjoyable or making a difference in society,” as opposed to money as a main focus. It makes sense why millennials seem to be a happier or more lighthearted generation than those before them; they’re not in a race to spend money and keep up with the Joneses. Instead, they’ve discovered what truly matters to them and are focused on their priorities, which may not include new cars or giant houses.

5. A Better Balance Between Work and Home Life (Thanks to the Internet)</div > Job flexibility and a relaxed schedule allow for “work life integration” as opposed to “work life balance” according to a recent survey. Young Americans are looking for this flexibility in order to spend more time with their families, which is something technology currently supports. Instead of trying to cram all their work in from 9-5 like previous generations, millennials have the ability to leave work early and continue to check emails while at their kids’ sporting events, or to work from home after having a new baby, if their employers allow it. This seems to be something temporary employers are more apt to allow because short-term positions tend to not be as demanding. This also decreases stress in the life of the employee, and makes it easier for them to focus on what really matters—spending time with family.

Your Turn

I went into teaching because I thought I didn’t want to be an author, and it was too late to change my major to journalism. In school I never heard about SEO and I was never exposed to blogging, especially not as a full-time job. I left teaching to try my hand at writing, which is where my passions were all along. Fortunately, the millennial generation helped shine a light on the benefits of temporary positions, so I took a low-paying job to see what would happen, and have never looked back. For me, the millennial way of thinking changed everything, and I’m not the only one with this type of story.

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