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Businesses Are Dealing with Millennial Burnout

It was a typical Monday morning at a cloud services company in Denver, except for a weeping 29-year-old project manager crouched in the emergency stairwell. Kieran Tie felt like “absolute trash” that day. He could no longer bring himself to sit through pointless management meetings and pretend to (care) about on-demand enterprise data storage.

In the preceding months, he’d found it increasingly difficult to complete the simplest of tasks. Plagued with insomnia and regularly forgetting meals, he’d developed a remarkably short temper. He had stormed out of meetings when he disagreed with higher-ups, something he’d never done before in a professional setting.

Tie said, “I felt like a failure because I didn’t know what to do.” The predicament confounded him because he had a great job at a growing company with talented colleagues. The hours, like the compensation (low six-figures, plus bonus) were “very fair,” and he could ride his bike to the office, 10 minutes from his house. And yet, as he rocked weeping in the fetal position in a stairwell underneath a fire extinguisher for the better part of an hour, it was clear something needed to change.

Across the country, more and more people are succumbing to emotional collapse at work. The World Health Organization included the colloquial term “burnout” in the International Classification of Diseases, listed as an “occupational phenomenon” with three symptoms:

1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

2. Increased mental distance from one’s job or feeling negative toward one’s career

3. Reduced professional productivity

Not surprisingly, 94 percent of American workers say they’re stressed at work, 75 percent of Millennials believe they’re more stressed than their parents. and 80 percent say they’re in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. So, in the next five to ten years, we will see burnout increase and a lot more mental health problems begin to emerge as a consequence.

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