Today’s Young Men Are Lazy!
I recently presented a workshop on attracting and retaining Millennial talent to a group of concrete company owners and managers. One gentleman shared his hiring frustration saying, “They’re just lazy! I can’t find any young guys who are willing to work 60 hours a week anymore!” “Wow,” I thought. Things sure have changed over the years, haven’t they?
Men at Home – By Generation
One of the huge differences with today’s young men are the roles they play at home. For past generations, the man’s role was to go to work and provide the financial support the family needed.
- For the Traditionalists, they wanted the paycheck for security, stability, and safety for their families.
- The Boomer men realized if they worked harder, they could have more. So they worked longer hours to provide a “better” life for their families. They spent their money on bigger houses, nicer cars, more holiday gifts, vacations, etc. Working overtime was worth the luxuries.
- The GenX men followed in their Boomer mentors’ footsteps and learned to stay at work until the job was done. Most began to help a bit more around the house and with the childcare tasks, as many of their wives worked as well. But this time was where the generational shift occurred. Some GenX men had a more “Boomer” experience focusing on work, while others were more like Millennials who have a different perspective.
- The role of today’s Millennial men at home is very different than that of their fathers, and especially that of their grandfathers. Our generation is one of dual-income households where many of the women make just as much as, if not more, than their husbands. And as the Millennial women were raised to be more outspoken, wives often request (or demand) more involvement from their husbands for household duties and help with childcare.
Most Millennial men I talk to today want to be more involved in their children’s lives. They may not want to change diapers, but who does? And they understand that if their wives pull their weight financially for the family, they shouldn’t be expected to pull more than a fair share of domestic duties. In many households today, it’s a near-50/50 plan.
When I ask groups of older men how many changed their own kids’ diapers, no one raises their hands! I believe that’s mostly because they really didn’t (as my father never did); but I also find some are embarrassed to admit they changed diapers among peers of their own generation, because that wasn’t a “manly” task back then. The expectations, priorities, and perspectives of young men are quite different today.
So how did I response to the frustrated hiring manager who called today’s young men “lazy”? I calmly walked down the classroom aisle to where he was seated and said, “That 60-hour workweek sounds like a 2-man job to me, sir!”
Thoughts for Leaders
We can’t expect people (men or women) to do it all! There just aren’t enough hours in the day. And we can’t keep managing people the way we’ve always managed them – especially as employee expectations are continuing to evolve. Moving forward, business owners and leaders must think differently about their employees’ needs, priorities, and schedules. It’s very possible that a business or management model from 10+ years ago will not work today, even though it’s “always worked just fine until now.” Well, “now” is different. Be creative. Consider all possibilities for how to conduct business and meet your customers’ needs. Understand that the cost of talent is rising as we continue to recover from the recession, and you cannot take your employees for granted.