Why your Gen Y employees are quitting

why gen y employees quit

“Keeping Gen Y employees is like trying to nail jelly to the wall.”

Well, you’re wrong. Very wrong.

So why do your Gen Y employees keep leaving?

We don’t put up with being in crappy jobs. 

Gen Xers and Boomers have more of the mentality that even though the job sucks, you work through it. You keep at the grind and deal with it. Gen Y says, why on earth would you put up with this? It’s just a job, right? It’s not supposed to be fulfilling, good or enjoyable. It’s work.

You spend over a third of your life working. Why would you put up with a bad job, bad bosses that make your life miserable, and life-sucking work where you leave the office feeling drained, stressed, frustrated and not happy?

The other third of your life is sleeping. And the last third is for regular “life stuff.” If you’re being that drained from work, how can you fully enjoy that time? If you had a parent, friend or loved one that hated their job (or maybe), you know that it bleeds into their home life. It doesn’t just stay at the office.

I’ve had several friends and heard tons of stories of Gen Ys who were in life-sucking jobs. Or had awful bosses where their behavior and dictatorship was cousin to Kim Jong-Un. Or they belittled them, or demonstrated poor or no leadership, and weren’t lead in support and guidance, or challenged in anyway. And/or felt that were just part of a meat grinder — no reward in what they did, no idea what the real purpose of their work is, and didn’t get simple things like feedback or praise for doing good work. Never being recognized. And that doesn’t feel good.

Life is not meant to be lived the majority of our life working this way.

Why should anyone put up with that?

Well, Gen Y doesn’t.

You can call us “spoiled” or whatever you want to call it, but honestly I think it’s admirable. It’s brave. It’s bold. And it makes a statement.

Would you want your kid to deal with that day in and day out? Life is not meant to be lived the majority of our life working this way.

I’ve had friends that couldn’t take it anymore and quit with out having a back up plan or job lined up. And they didn’t regret it. In fact, it was liberating.

The uncertainty and stress of not having JOB was BETTER than working at their company.

If your Gen Y employees are turning over at high rates, chances are the problem is in your company, not in them.

We’re pushing forward better expectations in the work place. So Boomers and Gen Xers can keep yelling at us to get off their lawn, but in reality we’re making it greener for everyone.

…sorry we’re not sorry.

Photo cred: lkaestner (Flickr)

Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.


  1. Nathan Hanak says:

    It’s a clash of expectations versus reality. The millennial generation was raised by their parents with the hopes that their offspring would have it better than they did, which is normal for any parent. It gave them the expectation and attitude of fighting for something better and if it doesn’t look like it will get better, then you have to change it. However the millennials were being parented in the 90’s during “boom” times and it seemed that all would go according to that plan. Now the economy is not so great and opportunities are much less abundant than the millennials were told they would be. 9-5 is now 8-6, full-time is now independent contractor without benefits, etc.

    • Nate — I completely agree! Really great points on this. I also do think there is a lot of psychology behind the Gen Y generation in the workplace. Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

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