Millennials More Likely to Lie to Take a Day Off, Survey Says
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Millennials More Likely to Lie to Take a Day Off, Survey Says

May 7, 2014


Millennials are taking a page out of Ferris Bueller's book. More than 60% of Americans aged 18 to 34 have made an excuse to take an impromptu vacation day, according to the 2014 annual travel survey by SpringHill Suites. That could be attributed in part to a shifting concept of work-life values. However, younger employees are hardly alone in taking time off. More than half of all survey respondents admitted to telling a white lie to get out of work for the day, but the numbers dropped steadily in older age groups. Only 18% of employed people aged 65 or older reported doing so, and stats hovered around 50% in other age brackets. The survey has been conducted since 2010, but this is the first time it has looked at unplanned vacation days. While Baby Boomers and Gen Xers may put their jobs ahead of other areas of their lives in a push to get to the top, Millennials may place more importance on having work-life balance. This isn't to say they don't value their work, but that they could instead have different priorities than those that came before them. "Millennials have a different purpose with respect to work, " Joyce E.A. Russell, vice dean of the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and an industrial-organizational psychologist, told Mashable. "[They] have higher expectations for not making work their central part of life. There is no definitive reason for this shift, especially because there are still plenty of Millennials who don't play hooky and will work until they drop, but Jason Dorsey, CEO of the Center of Generational Kinetics and a Millennial himself, believes it can be traced in part to the idea of life experience. While older age groups may focus on money or titles as signs of success, Millennials can view achievement more in terms of what they do day-to-day in addition to having a meaningful career. If, for example, an employee's favorite band is in town, they might consider their chances of seeing the group again in the near future, and decide that they shouldn't give up the opportunity. The same goes for things such as old friends visiting from far-off locales, or simply taking the time to enjoy a beautiful day and mentally regroup. Still, as Millennials get older and take on more responsibilities such as getting married and having kids, their priorities could change, Dorsey said. "If you don't define yourself by your job title then it's a lot easier to say, 'Man, it's a gorgeous day, I want to go sit by the lake,'" Dorsey said. 
"We are very driven by experience and in particular unique and different experiences — those experiences involve us physically being there."
"We are very driven by experience and in particular unique and different experiences — those experiences involve us physically being there."   Expectations may also play a role, according to Russell. New employees are offered an average of 11 vacation days for one year of work, according to a November 2013 survey done by theSociety of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the U.S. Travel Association. Millennials often value vacation time as an important aspect of a job and assume they will be able to take more days off than they are actually allotted, a belief which could lead to excuses as a way of getting out of the office. However, if company policies on vacation time are clearly written and consistently enforced, employees may have a better idea of how much flexibility there really is from the time they interview for a job, Russell said. Young employees who frequently take spontaneous time off can create friction with their older bosses and even fellow staff members who may grow resentful. The habit can make it difficult for work to get done, especially if those escaping office life are an integral part of a team. Of course, Millennials who buck the trend may hold an advantage over those that don't in an 80% of life is showing up kind of way. "If bosses are Millennials they might get it — if not, they might make the assumption that [the employee is] not reliable," Russell said. One big question that remains is whether this trend is temporary, or a sign of an upcoming change to corporate structure. Some tech companies, often started by young entrepreneurs à la Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have already begun taking an unorthodox view when it comes to time off. Netflix offers employees an unlimited vacation policy as do Foursquare and Evernote, among others. On the other hand, more than half of employees who receive paid vacation days don't actually choose to use them, according to a 2014 Glassdoor survey. There is some disparity about whether this habit is cause for concern. Dorsey believes that "any trend that affects productivity and teamwork is something that employers must pay attention to," but the solution could be organization specific — as simple as speaking with employees and providing more options for recognition and opportunities for engagement.  
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