Millennials Are Obsessed With Becoming “Work Martyrs”

Millennials Are Obsessed With Becoming "Work Martyrs"

For a crew who graduated high school and college during the middle of the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression, it’s no wonder that we’re a fairly cynical crew when it comes down to our professional lives.

After seeing our peers, parents, and friends laid off from stable employment as the economy began to collapse, we took in the indisputable truth that no one is ever safe. We’re constantly on the job search, always job hopping every few years to protect ourselves from what is surely eventual unemployment. While we protect ourselves first by constantly moving on, we hedge our bets at our current gig by going above and beyond the call of duty.

We show up early and stay late, we skip out on vacation days, and we check our work e-mail at all hours of the day for fear of being labelled incompetent.

The official term for this phenomenon is “work martyr,” and unsurprisingly, millennial employees are obsessed with becoming one. Thanks to data from a recent survey by Project: Time Off/GfK, we now know that almost half of us – 43% of millennial respondents – believe that they’re work martyrs, and 48% of us hope that our bosses think so too.

After all, we’re not staying all night in the office for ourselves; we’re hoping that by giving up our lives, we’ll be next in line for a promotion, or at least not next in line for the chopping block.

Our work hours aren’t the only thing being affected by our work martyr status – our well-earned vacation time is taking a hit as well. 16% of millennials feel guilty about taking vacation (whereas only 8% of baby boomers surveyed responded similarly), and an even higher percentage of us will actually give up those days so we don’t look like we’re not taking our work seriously.

While I’ve certainly been afraid that my boss wouldn’t take my dedication seriously, it’s time we all took a look at how much of ourselves we’re giving up for our jobs. Yes, we entered the workforce in one of the worst times in history, but we shouldn’t be throwing away our twenties and thirties because of an economic disaster that struck nearly a decade ago.

Take your earned vacation days while showing up on time and busting your ass during your 9-5 hours. If you’re able to focus and give your job everything you have for 40 hours a week, your boss should certainly notice, and you’ll be able to spend your week-long booze cruise guilt-free.

[via Refinery 29]

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Steph W.

Steph W. is a new Master's degree graduate with an intern's salary and six-figure taste. She realizes her expectations far exceed reality, so she spends her days pinning away Loubs she pretends are in her physical closet instead of her virtual one. Her hobbies include attempting to trapping her boyfriend into marriage before he finds out how insane she is and pretending that Black Box wine tastes as good as the kind she could afford when she was gainfully employed. Send her tips for getting out of student debt at

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