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Boomer explains why millennials struggle at work: 'It's a lot harder than it was'

The work system is functioning against the current workforce and hurting their well-being.

Boomer explains why millennials struggle at work: 'It's a lot harder than it was'
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Mizuno K

Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 28, 2023. It has since been updated.

"OK, Boomer," may be the ultimate catchphrase among Gen Z and millennials, but boomers have their own grievances against these younger generations. Although young workers might lack the experience of their older colleagues, they are experiencing burnout at levels similar to boomers. The phrase "Nobody wants to work anymore" gained traction during the "Great Resignation" of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many workers quit or were laid off. Now, boomers are noticing how much harder it is for younger generations to find jobs compared to the 80s or 90s. In a Facebook post, Mike Kelley, a retiring boomer, highlighted the numerous challenges younger workers face in today's workforce.

Image Source: Pexels / Karolina Grabowska
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Karolina Grabowska

The post reads, "It is a lot harder than it was when I was a young man. You cannot just trot around dropping off resumes. No one will talk to you." Kelley added, "Filling out applications online is far worse than filling them out in person. They want a resume and a cover letter, and then you fill out the same information in their application." Kelley also shed light on how hiring managers do not reach out and avoid having lines of communication or follow-up questions from potential employees. "You will never, and I mean never, hear from the employer again unless you are hired." He even contrasted this with how the hiring process was in the 1980s.

"When I applied for work in the 1980s, I would get polite form letters rejecting me if they did not want me. Now, I just get ghosted," Kelley wrote. "We live in a litigious world where almost every excuse can call for a lawsuit, and companies know that all too well. So instead of mailing you a rejection letter or giving you a call, the employer might adopt a 'silence is golden' rule when dealing with those not hired." Kelley also pointed out that the salaries these days are awful, as are the benefits. "As a pro-union person, I blame it on a dearth of unions. Regardless, it is awful." Despite the generational gap between Boomers and Millennials, money is a big motivator for both generations, with 84% of Millennials and 75% of Boomers saying they would leave their current jobs for a higher salary elsewhere, according to a survey by Olivet Nazarene University.

Kelley noted, "To my friends of a similar age: your millennial kids and acquaintances are not making it up." He added, "Businesses are awful because they can be. I'm not sure of the solution, but it appears it will get worse before it gets better. And the more everyone buys into the 'people just do not want to work these days' narrative, the more power you give these naughty corporations." His post went viral, with more than 8,200 shares and 700 comments. It resonated with many and some even thanked him for putting these thoughts out there. Christy Cheyenne Prince commented, "Thank you. Thank you so much for understanding. Thank you so much for not playing us off as 'whiny babies.' " Ana Abigail said, "You seem like a very gracious and reflective man. The world would be a much better place if there were more people like you. Carry on, good sir!"


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