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The Millennial Maze

3 Millennial Fears Trapping Them in Careers They Don’t Want

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Perhaps the most powerful discovery in popular psychology in the last 100 years is that we become what we think about. This is just as true about our social life and relationships as it is of our careers. Now that millennials make up the largest generation in the workforce, we have ample data to explore how their fears may be impacting their careers.

Research has shown that the greatest fear millennial have is that they will become stuck in a job without an opportunity to develop and grow. If this is what they think about, that’s where they’re most likely to find themselves. So, it stands to reason that if nearly 40% of young people in the workforce fear an absence of upward mobility, there won’t be a path for them. On the other hand, if they focus instead on what they do want and where they would like to be, this fear can be averted.

Another major fear millennials have is that they will remain in a job which doesn’t match their personality. Many times, this occurs because they have been far too affected by outside forces influencing their thinking and narrowing their options. This, in turn, dictates the programming of their subconscious mind as it relates to which jobs and professions would be best. Without thinking seriously about what the individual truly wants, it is highly unlikely that a good fit will be manifested.

In order to create a healthy and rewarding match between personality and work, a person must have an excellent sense of who they really are. The process of understanding ourselves requires time, introspection and honesty. It’s much easier to simply go with the flow than to work through this difficult and sometimes painful process. Unfortunately, by the time one gets out into the work force, it may feel like it’s too late to change directions. But, rest assured, it’s never too late to change. If you can change your mind, you can change your life.

Another study showed that the third most common millennial fear is working too hard and a striking a disproportionate work-life balance. Although infamous for wanting more free time to socialize, travel, exercise, etc., this group has also been linked to a desire for material objects and living the good life. After school ends and the “real world” hits, it becomes painfully obvious that free time and fine things don’t come cheap. It has been said that a Spanish distiller once stated, “The good life is expensive. There’s another way to live that doesn’t cost as much – but it isn’t any good.” Whether you agree with that or not, the fundamental tenant is true: material possessions and experiences cost money.

Even if, for example, all you bring to Bali is a pair of flip-flops and a swimsuit, your travel, lodgings and meals are going to require some significant dollars despite what the many travel sites may have you believe. Millennials are finding that, like the generations before them, they are spending more time working than they had ever planned on to scrape together enough for the material possessions and experiences they want.

To help manage all of this, I think the best thing a person can do is to be dogmatic about setting very specific goals. For example, make a list of places you’d like to go and when. Be very specific. How are you going to get there? Where will you stay, and for how long? Who will you travel with? How much will it cost? How long will it take you to save up for such an adventure? Do the math. Crunch the numbers. If you don’t like what you see, then it’s probably time to change. Do you need a new job or profession? Will a raise at work do the trick or is an advanced degree going to be required? Will you need to switch companies or create a company of your own? These are the kinds of questions many millennials are beginning to face and answer.

The bottom line is that if you wish to change your circumstances you will need to change yourself. That process begins with personal development. Take the time to look inward. Listen to your inner voice. Who would you really like to be? The answers are all inside of you. Be courageous and be honest with yourself. Make the changes necessary to live this life on your own terms. Once you understand how your thinking predicates your results, the process of managing and overcoming your fears is actually quite simple. It may not be easy to implementat first, but conceptually speaking the mechanism is simple.

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