What does work-life balance mean to unwed professional millennials?
For married working professionals, work-life balance is clear. Work at work or at home, but in a way that allows the employee to be home for dinner to see his or her significant other and any children. But how does work-life balance function effectively for those of us that are unwed?
Unwed millennials are those professionals who are currently between 20 and 30 years of age and single. For the purposes of this discussion, “single” is defined as not in any kind of common law style relationship, domestic partnership, or marriage. Jamie Gutfreund, chief strategy officer for the Intelligence Group notes that a full 86 million millennials will be in the workplace by 2020—representing a full 40% of the total working population. At the younger end of the spectrum are those who are new to their career, likely in entry-level positions. These individuals are dealing with the unspoken expectations of “proving themselves and their worth”. So how do these individuals outperform expectations at work and still have a social life or pursue other activities on their own time?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Work with your supervisor to define “on” hours. While it may be necessary for you to be available outside of the traditional 8-5 workday, is it mandatory for you to be available at 2AM or on the weekends? Once you’ve set these open hours, turn off your work phone when you’re not in “open hour” range. Millennials traditionally struggle with disengaging from technology or work, so turning off your work phone or disconnecting from work email will help with this.
- Get a hobby. This one may seem obvious, but as unwed professional millennials, we don’t have as many responsibilities to significant others (and likely do not have children). Having a hobby we enjoy will get us out of the house in a fun way, forcing us to schedule “life” in our planners. For example, if your company has athletic leagues, like mine does, join in! Even if you’ve never played flag football or volleyball before, you might have the time of your life and meet some amazing new people if you’re willing to give it a try.
- Take advantage! Does your company offer flexible hours or flexible work locations? If you’re a morning person, don’t be ashamed to work 6-3 instead of 8-5 and then go and do your own thing after work. If you’re more of a night person, take advantage of that 10-7 work schedule.
Most importantly, use your vacation days: work will wear you out. Using your vacation days and genuinely disconnecting will allow you to better recharge and refuel, making you a more effective employee once you get back.
Dannie Fountain-Jagodzinski is a 20-year old entrepreneur and marketing professional. She loves tennis and photography and on the weekends you’ll find her catching up on my favorite Netflix show – Orange is the New Black.
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