How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation

Anne Helen Petersen

If you’re a millennial (or a friend of parent of one), you will probably feel a sting of recognition while reading Anne Helen Petersen’s description of “errand fatigue”, a seemingly intractable condition that prevents millennials from accomplishing the most basic “high-effort, low-reward tasks” such as taking back library books or buying stamps.

Why are these tasks so hard? Because millennials have been conditioned to believe that their energies should be focused solely on high-effort, high-reward tasks. "[O]ur generation has been trained, tailored, primed, and optimized for the workplace — first in school, then through secondary education — starting as very young children."

Petersen’s article sheds light on the various areas where a narrative of ceaseless optimization has been reinforced for millennials, including parental pressure, the 2008 financial crisis, a comparison-driven social media landscape, and phones that tether millennials to work. You don’t have to agree with Petersen’s solutions to recognize the power of her analysis. Read "How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation" at BuzzFeed News.

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