October 30, 2022

My five-year-old’s bedroom was indescribably messy.

Clothes, dolls, books, and zoo-worthy stuffed animals were spread over nearly every square inch of the floor.

It was going to be a big, long, ugly cleanup before she could sleep.

As my friend panned around the room taking a video of the unprecedented upheaval, I could hear the despairing kindergartener who was huddled in the only open corner of the room in the background.

“Can’t you handle it?” my friend replied, fighting back laughter as her daughter cried in response.

Replace the room with your workload, household chores, or various other external responsibilities. It’s a bit relevant, isn’t it?

It all became too much to process.


Over the past few weeks, from my own correspondence to conversations with others in the business world, the word kept popping into my head. If John Steinbeck created “The Winter of Our Grievances,” this feels like “The Fall of Our Vulnerabilities.”

I recently told the same thing to a business owner friend who started nodding vigorously.

“I never cried more at work,” said the person. “Especially young employees. One mistake and it will break.”

The last few years have undoubtedly been challenging in many ways. And now we have an uncertain economy, rising prices, product shortages, global instability, domestic political polarization, more sickness, and a shortage of people because we can’t find people to hire. Workplaces that are struggling, and how you are dealing with a struggling workplace. People who need to be fired, kids whose test scores have fallen, the list goes on and on.

It may come as no surprise that people are turning to things they can control and trying to make a difference.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that about 48 million people lost their jobs. This is an annual record. And the so-called big resignation may not be over yet.

Deloitte’s 2022 Gen Z and Millennials Survey Finds 4 in 10 Gen Z Members and Nearly 1 in 4 Millennials Worldwide Want to Quit Work Within Two Years I understand.

“This year’s survey found that Gen Z and millennials are deeply concerned about the state of the world, fighting to reconcile their desire for change with the demands and constraints of everyday life. , struggles with financial insecurity while trying to invest in environmentally sustainable options.

“They feel burnt out, but many are looking for more purposeful, more flexible work while working side jobs. Despite the pressure to act, businesses may still be missing an opportunity to advance deeper and broader climate action.They are taking action to address workplace mental health. We have encouraged organizations to do so, but we have not always felt comfortable talking about these issues or taking advantage of the resources available to us.”

Nearly half of Generation Z say they are stressed all the time or most of the time, according to the survey. Stress levels among millennials have been declining over the years, but nearly 4 in 10 still report high stress levels. Overall, women have higher stress levels.

“Long-term financial futures and day-to-day finances continue to be the greatest stressors for both generations,” he said.

Burnout, on the other hand, is very high for both generations, indicating a major retention problem for employers.

  • 46% of Gen Z and 45% of millennials feel burnt out due to the rigors and demands of their work environment.
  • 44% of Gen Z and 43% of millennials say work pressure has caused many people to leave their organizations recently.

Deloitte said in a report, “Employers appear to be making progress when it comes to prioritizing mental health and well-being in the workplace.” We agree that it’s become more of a focus for employers, although there are mixed reviews as to whether the improved focus is actually having a positive impact.”

One in four millennials and one in five Gen Zers don’t believe their employers take burnout seriously or are taking steps to address it. have their business

And it’s not just young workers.

A recent CNN/KFF survey found that 90% of Americans believe the country is in a mental health crisisb, and 1 in 5 have recently experienced a mental health problem. .

More than one in five adults say their mental health is fair or poor, and about the same number say they have often or always been depressed or lonely in the past year. increase.

“For more than a third of adults, the main sources of stress include personal financial situations and current and political events,” says the report. “About 1 in 4 adults perceives relationships and work as the main sources of stress, respectively.”

But I think it’s more than that.

I’m sure there are many people who don’t need a prescription or a therapist and still feel varying degrees of overwhelm. , it doesn’t seem like it will take long to push people to their limits.

So what works? What can employers do to help teams survive an even tougher season in the 2020s?

Here’s what Gen Z and Millennial survey participants said they would keep working for their employers:

I’m not sure if there’s anything particularly groundbreaking here, but it reinforces many of the themes I’ve heard locally from members of both generations.

But I would like to suggest one more thing to consider as you go through this “collapse of fragility”.

Remember that 5-year-old’s bedroom? It didn’t take long. In fact, it turns out she can “handle it.” No matter what the mess is, it’s generally better not to go it alone. Take breaks and look for someone to help you along the way. Doing so may improve your resilience.

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