Is the boomerang generation changing the way we work?

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Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.” ― Gustave Flaubert

I, like most of my friends, live with my parents. To our parents (hi, mom and dad!), I’d like you to know there is an entire generation of kids moving back home.

We are the boomerang generation.

In 2014, 15% of Americans aged 25-34 were living at home with their parents. There are a few factors contributing to this. The first is because millennials are delaying adulthood; we are less likely to settle down, get married, have kids, and buy a house in our twenties, meaning that more people are living alone, with a roommate(s), or – the increasingly popular option – moving back in with mom and dad.

The second reason is money. There is a dangerous combination of high house prices, rent, stagnant wages, and insecure work, making it harder to rent or buy independently. Job security is becoming more precarious,* slowly eroding consistent income, employee rights and benefits, and the ability to save up money. Part-time gigs, short-term contracts, and fluctuating hours and income are now the norm for many young adults. Fewer permanent positions mean educated candidates are hustling short-term jobs for a lot longer, trapping them in an endless entry-level cycle.

Moreover, there is a higher rate of turnover because employers aren’t offering or expecting loyalty and commitment from employees.

On the flip side, employees don’t seem very interested in fixed work either. Millennials have blurred the boundaries between their personal and professional lives. We are more likely to desire constant stimulation, education, growth, and creativity at work. We want careers rather than jobs, and we’ve swapped paycheques for purpose.

Most importantly, in many cases, we feel that our work has to offer opportunities for development and advancement. In fact, 60% of millennials are open to new job opportunities if it is better for their careers, even if the pay is less. Essentially, our work has to work for us.

All of this has led me to wonder, is the shift to precarious work an invisible race to the bottom, or an opportunity to improve how and why we work? On the flip side, is the delay of independent adulthood bridging a gap of closeness amongst parents and their kids? Or are we the generation that failed to launch?

*Precarious: adjective

1 not securely held or in position; dangerously likely to fall or collapse: a precarious ladder.

2 dependent on chance; uncertain: she made a precarious living by writing.

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Jessica is an employment specialist in Toronto, Canada. She enjoys teaching, traveling and observing - especially the relationship between mind and heart. Jessica also has a passion for outdoor walks, dancing, and all things offbeat and authentic. You can contact her at hello@sofiasynergy.com.

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