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A Lesson From Millennials on Purpose-Driven Work

October 22, 2018 Joe Mechlinski

 Millenials Strive For Purpose-Driven Work

When people are not engaged at work, it's because their work doesn't provide them with meaning. It used to be that you needed to work at whatever job you could get in order to pay for your basic needs. But today, with most of our basic needs for food and shelter met, we want something more fulfilling. We want purpose.

Millennials Are Leading The Way

People who were born between 1981 and 1996, the millennial generation, have a different perspective on what truly matters in life. They want to make each day count. They want their work to matter. While it's true that a good part of society is still disengaged at the office – only 30% of millennials are emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company – a much larger group is open to changing jobs for ones that offer purpose-driven work.

Today, people don't feel that they will be in the same job for the rest of their lives, as people used to in earlier generations. Today, it's not just a paycheck that counts. People want to feel connected – and younger people most of all. They want to feel that they belong, to feel that their work and their lives have value. Today’s students will have between 10 and 14 jobs by the time they’re 38 years old, according to the Department of Labor.

That means that people now feel free to change jobs more often in order to find purpose in what they do. They yearn to be engaged at work.

This trend will only grow stronger. Today's generation has found that for work to have meaning for them, it has to align with the values in their lives. They don't want to leave work at the office. They don't want to compartmentalize. They want to be fully engaged.

Making Purpose and Unity Last

Americans came together in the days, weeks, and months following the events of 9/11. Firefighters, rescue workers, and medical personnel ran toward the fire to help. Citizens joined the military and opened their wallets. This moment brought out the best in people and underscored our shared humanity. "Never forget," the country declared in one voice. The moment passed, and so did our unity.

How do we remain our best selves without tragedy? What happens when that initial burst of inspiration peters out? Without a way to stay connected to our higher purpose, we will continue to lead lives where every day is a countdown until the end of the workday. The millennial generation is showing us how through purpose-driven work.

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