When it comes to attitudes about work, we’re not in Kansas anymore! In 2020, millennials will account for 35% of the world’s workforce. You are shaping the future of employment. And your perspectives and preferences are driving it.



The traditional career path meant you land a decent job, work your way up, and get salary increases as you’re promoted. Then you retire, and armed with a pension and fat 401(k), not to mention monthly Social Security checks, you take that European cruise. Well, not anymore! Most millennials reject the concept of staying with a company for decades just to pay the bills and build some savings. You seek a job that’s meaningful, one that has a purpose you care about. In a recent survey by Deloitte, 60% of the respondents chose “a sense of purpose” as the main reason why they accept a job with a particular company. They ranked “being in a role I’m passionate about” above salary and other benefits.


If Gen Y has a single mantra, it would be “I don’t live to work. I work to live.” Rather than accumulating things, you value experiences, such as frequent socializing with friends, dinners out, some travel. You crave the flexibility to enjoy a robust lifestyle. You’re ready to forego retirement, and work virtually forever, in order to have the freedom to enjoy your life along the way. You’re also willing to switch jobs frequently, and to take on side hustles. Some studies show that on average, you will have four different jobs by the time you’re 32.


Yes, switching jobs is prevalent among millennials (21% of you switched jobs last year – three times more than other generations of workers.)  But the fact is, young people from every generation tend to leave jobs in search of new opportunities. And it can actually be a good thing, if you bear a few things in mind:

  • Know when to go: you don’t have to love your job, but you shouldn’t hate it. If you really dread going to work, or if you feel you’re not being treated fairly, or the corporate culture just isn’t right for you, it’s time to leave.
  • Have a plan: don’t wait until you quit in frustration. Start looking early, and snag the next job before you leave this one. It looks better on your resume. And it’s a lot easier on your budget.
  • Exit professionally: be sure to give your boss enough time (at least 2 weeks) to find a replacement, and if possible, offer to train the new hire. Consider writing a letter of resignation – it helps HR plan for your departure, it’s your chance to formally thank everyone, and it’s classy.
  • Take away as much as you give: every job is a chance to gain experience, and to showcase your skills and willingness to learn.  Always bring your “A” game. And always leave having made a contribution.
  • Networking works: bosses and coworkers are potential future associates. They recommend, they remember, and are usually happy to help people who impress them with their hard work and great attitude. Try to get along with everybody.


When it comes to making career choices, work/life balance is your preferred rule of measurement. Of course, salary is also critical (remember those crushing college loans.) So are flexibility, teamwork, opportunities for learning and growth, as well as jobs that add to the greater good.

So using that criteria, where does the job search take you? SmartAsset, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statstics, compiled this list of 2018’s most millennial-dominated occupations:

  1. Statistician – has the highest rate of millennials. Of 74,000 in the US, 33,000 (44%) are between age 25 and 34.
  2. Bartender – though not very high-paying, it offers ample opportunity for side hustles and gigging.
  3. Financial analyst – faster-than-average growth rate is expected in coming years for this career.
  4. Advertising/promotion manager – about 40% of these positions are held by millennials, who most likely brought years of experience to the job.
  5. Paramedic/EMT – the physically strenuous and stressful nature of this work could make it better suited to younger people.
  6. Physician assistant – healthcare is one of the fastest growing fields. Millennials hold 38% of PA positions, which require at least a masters degree.
  7. Web developer – Nearly 38% are between 25 and 34, which is not at all surprising for a generation that never knew life without the internet.
  8. Marketing/market research – usually clustered in NY, LA and other large cities.
  9. TV, movie and video camera operators and editors – HBO, Netflix, and other online resources are creating increased demand.
  10. Firefighter – Once again, dangerous and physically demanding work, with millenials filling 90,000 or the country’s 252,000 positions.

Other popular occupations that offer a positive work-life balance include dental hygienist, mechanical engineer, interpreter/translator, insurance sales, and massage therapist.


With flexibility and freedom such priorities, it’s no wonder there’s a movement among millennials to strike out on their own. Being your own boss certainly gives you the chance to create your own schedule, and to work around kids’ games, social occasions, and me-time. In a recent MetLife poll, 74% of millennial respondents said they are interested in freelancing vs. working full-time; far more than Gen X (57%) and Boomers (43%).

But there may be a price to pay for that freedom: you will have to forego the security of a regular salary and paid vacation time. Medical coverage is entirely on you.  No more company benefits. In short, you’ll be giving up your safety net. Perhaps that’s why most of the workforce that makes the leap into freelance are those in their 20s and early 30s, who usually have fewer responsibilities and financial obligations.


Short of rent money? Saving up for a large purchase? Want extra disposable income for fun stuff?  Over half of all millennials are turning to side hustles, according to a new Bankrate study.  It’s a great way to make money on your own terms. And for many, it can be a way to pursue your bliss. And the trend is growing, as the economy becomes more entrepreneurial, and the demand for freelancers and outsourced help blossoms.  Side hustlers can average about $580 month, and 15% raking in $1000 or more.

Probably the most lucrative side hustle is renting your place on Air B & B. But even if you don’t have a spare bedroom (or if you live in Mom’s basement), there’s still money to be made. According to Bankrate, the most popular side hustles are landscaping/home repair, followed by babysitting, then reselling on Amazon and eBay.

Here are some other popular gigs:

  • Consultant/tutor/part time teacher
  • Online web design
  • Freelance graphic designer/copywriter/photographer/videographer
  • Uber/Lyft driver
  • Craft
  • Odd jobs via the Task Rabbit app


Learn more at and

Whatever gig gets you going, be sure it doesn’t interfere with your full-time job. Stick to evenings and weekends. And build some personal time into your schedule, so you get a chance to enjoy the fruits of your extra labor.