Young Women Burning Bright—and Out

Posted on: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
Posted in: HR FYI, Blog | Leave a comment

It’s a woman’s world these days.  They’ve won the majority in college (if not Congress), and now hold 53% of the entry-level jobs in corporate America.  Good for them.  And good for men—who’ve ruled the roost long enough, yet have hardly pushed for a “liberation” from restrictive role-playing.

But, according to Larissa Faw, a Forbes contributor who “writes about workplace trends impacting Milennial women,” young women are paying a hefty price for their success.  They’re stressed out.  Exhausted.  And questioning what it’s all about.  In short—and a host of studies backs this up—they’re largely unhappy.

  • A story that sparks responses

Soon after the original article appeared, thousands of women in question lit up the internets with their rants and retorts; here are a choice few.  Cue up Peggy Lee’s depressing song, “Is That All There Is?”

Maybe you “Millennial Women” never did learn how to make your bed after you slept in it….”

When my male friends get home at the end of the day, they have left their work at the office. For my female friends (and myself included) we have trouble detaching from what is going on in the office even when we are not there. The stress of work often becomes all consuming.”

We want to be good workers, good daughters, girlfriends, volunteers, wives, granddaughters, friends, and be “good girls.” This is too much stress for any person to handle, and many of us are turning to anti-depressants, alcohol and shopping to forget our pain.”

We now have the ability to live many lives in our one, and maybe that causes some burnout here and there.”

Men have a better support structure. Women tend to take competition personally and oftentimes hold a grudge or seek revenge, whereas men can shrug off a competitive loss and are raised to be ‘tough’ and ‘aggressive.’”

As a male, I’ve often wondered when women might officially gain the edge—as they have in many circles—but also, what’s so appealing about all that power and responsibility?  You could fill a cemetary with the men I’ve known who died early due to hard work, neglected health, and overall imbalance.

One likes to think that women know how to juggle better—and have entered the world of success and stress more voluntarily.  But research from Captivate Network finds that men are more likely to take work-day breaks, go for a walk, and go out to lunch—and they are 35% more likely to take breaks “just to relax.”

  • Bring on golfing, fishing, and career breaks

Ironically, the career-break movement appeals to women at about a three-to-one rate, at least according to what little research is available.  Maybe they plan for burnout better?  Maybe they see a career as a prolonged journey?  Maybe they forgot to take up sanity breaks like golf, fishing, and man-cave dwelling along the way?

Sadly, job frustration everywhere seems be hitting new highs, with no relief in sight.  Retail workers are revolting about having to work bizarre hours on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.  The Occupy Movement suggests that many folks are mad as hell.  And employees fail to use vacation days by the millions.

Yet just ask anyone who can’t find a job:  Work stress beats the hell out of bankruptcy.

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