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A New Generation of Workaholics

As baby boomers wind down their careers, many would like to “phase out” of their jobs, working fewer hours each week; perhaps fewer still each year. But is this a practical solution for private employers? Maybe. When you consider a recent study on millennial worker habits, it may be surprising to find they could pick up the slack in shared workweeks.

When they were in junior high and high school, millennials gained the reputation of being entitled and enabled. But vast numbers went to college and came out burdened with student loan debt and poor job prospects. Graduating college around the time of the recession has helped many millennials become more appreciative when job opportunities become available. They’re willing to learn and to work hard if they see commensurate rewards at the end of the tunnel. In short, millennials could offer an ideal complement for baby boomers phasing into retirement.

A 2016 U.S. workplace study found that many millennials are workaholics. They’re more likely to remain available during non-work hours via email and cellphone, and they’re more likely to work while on vacation.

For some, these may come as surprising insights about our younger generation. The fact is, many entered the workforce when jobs were scarce, so they fell a bit behind the earning curve relative to previous generations. Perhaps that makes them more focused, more determined and more willing to work long and hard to cover lost ground. So, for an older baby boomer looking to phase out of the workforce gradually, he or she could do worse than to pair job sharing responsibilities with a millennial co-worker.

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