Sundays in my house are sacrosanct. It is time to unwind and prepare for the next week. A true day of rest, if you will. I hate to admit it, but Sunday nights are my TV veg out nights, too.
With that said, I was recently watching an episode of “The Good Wife”. In this episode, an experienced lawyer offered to mentor an up-and-coming associate. The associate was excited and quite flattered.
The new attorney, however, asked, “Will this take much more time?” Dumbfounded, the experienced attorney simply did not understand the question. The young attorney wanted to know if this mentoring would add to her already 60-hour workweek.
Fast-forward in the episode and the experienced attorney concluded her new employee lacked ambition. The fact that her new employee had sacrificed her personal life for the past three years meant nothing to the senior attorney.
I nearly laughed out loud watching this episode. The challenges of attracting and retaining talent are now a part of our culture. They have even found their way into my Sunday night television viewing!
For this next generation of talent, it is important to have a complete life — not just a work life. Senior managers are too quick to conclude a lack of commitment and ambition when a newer employee expresses any interest in an outside life.
There is a tendency for us Baby Boomers to run everything through our designated filters. Wanting to have a complete and balanced life is healthy. It was our generation who created the term “work-life balance” as a way to explain our unbalanced behavior. Since we had NO balance, we created a term (along with thousands of failed suggestions) to put more balance into our already way too hectic lives.
Leaders who understand this will attract and retain the best talent. Our research shows Millennials will work 1.6 hours per day longer than any other generation. The difference? These will be nontraditional hours and not necessarily in the office where we can see them. They might open their lap top at 10:00pm (after “The Good Wife?!”) and knock out a few hours of work. Me? I go to bed.
Who, then, is really more committed and ambitious? Let’s start to realize work is not a nine to five thing and recognize that the tools now available make it possible to have a more complete life AND be committed and ambitious. It is an AND thing… not an OR thing.