Articles // February 16,2021

Is it possible to connect passion, education and profession at work?

By Meenakshi Girish

Read on to clear out popular misconceptions held against millennials by hearing them first-hand and arriving at constructive solutions.


It is not very rare that a millennial gets reprimanded by their superiors or parents regarding their lifestyle and profession. With a lot of millennials despising their field of education by the time they graduate and deciding to venture on an independent profession that they love, the entire business climate is facing a paradigm shift.

Millennials have the ability to balance a number of jobs at the same time. I know a girl who works as an illustrator and artist, is a playback singer, a part-time actress and has even taken up modelling recently. “Do what you love, and you won’t have to work a day in your life” – this phrase seems to be the mantra for millennials.

Despite this nerve-wracking schedule and exposure to so many fields at the same time, the older generation tends to condemn millennial efforts as ‘not enough to run a family and survive in the long run’. Read on to know why and what millennials have to say regarding popular misconceptions held against them.

Imagine this – you have the freedom to head to work whenever you want (sometimes maybe even work from home) and leave whenever you feel unproductive, you maintain a friendly rapport with your boss (thereby breaking stereotypes associated with employees hating their strict bosses), you get to experiment, explore and most importantly, pursue your passion. Now ask yourself if such a system would appeal to you and if yes, then to what extent. Several conversations with both millennials and members of the older generation have revealed that while this flexible system appeals to millennials, it might come off as overbearing and reckless for the older generation.

Gone are the days when one had to work a nine to five job in a brick and mortar building to earn a decent income. Owing to their remarkable adaptability and willingness to work without expecting a high salary, millennials have begun to freelance and entrepreneurs have emerged with an array of creative jobs. These new opportunities possess unforgiving competition and demand professionalism and dedication. It needs to be acknowledged that although millennials find it hard to adhere to strict norms set by the older generation, they excel in the careers that suit their skill sets.

The following are some interesting perspectives from millennials who have taken a detour from traditional career options and followed their passions. Furthermore, some members of the older generation have also provided their insights on how they think millennials are faring with a comparison to the era they came from.

Nivetha Sivakumar, 23, an Amazon employee
I was pretty disappointed when I realised, I had spent my life pursuing two degrees for nothing and was putting neither to use. I now work at Amazon Alexa and I have realised that experience is all that matters. Jobs aren’t merely desk located; they include anything done to gain an income – no matter how meagre. Millennials are hard workers and put everything on the line – including their health. The older generation needs to acknowledge this and encourage millennial efforts.

Aldo Xavier, 22, former YouTuber
I used to work at a YouTube channel and my relatives were unwilling to accept that being a social media influencer is a full-time profession. I faced so much criticism that even I began to wonder if I could run my entire life by following my passion. The thing is everyone faces difficulty irrespective of what their profession is.
In order to make my content stand out, I must hunt for the right locations and invest in the right equipment. A lot of last-minute changes happen, as many people are involved and we need to be able to adapt and improvise. The reason elders remember their life lessons so well is because they experienced it first-hand. If they keep restricting the younger generation, we will never learn as well as them. It will come off as a story; not a part of our life. The younger generation has the mindset to try new things – the older generation has to guide them and give them reality checks when they go overboard. But experience must never be compromised.

Paul James, HR Professional and Director of a leading business organisation
The younger generation takes a lot of risks that we consider to be uncalculated. These risks put the older generation on an edge, as we expect millennials to work according to their salary. I have employed a millennial, Jeya Barathi to manage my company along with me, as I am afraid, I might damage the millennial mindset. Unless an organisation is flexible and tries to align with the aspirations that drive a person to work, the employees cannot work together and innovate. Yes, the work needs to get done. But the way it is done can be subjective. A successful person according to me is someone who can apply his/her knowledge professionally. That builds his competence and requires a lot of passion.

Jeya Barati, a millennial Operations Manager at a leading business organisation
I remember when I completed my undergraduate in 2011, only six out of sixty-six students had laptops. It was considered such a huge expensive investment back then. Now there has been a massive paradigm shift, which makes millennials tech savvy and a huge asset to the business climate. I have a boss who is from the older generation and I take very calculated risks, although he might not know it. I know I have the freedom to do as I please, but I will never exploit it. At the end of the day, this is not my company alone and we all have to face the consequences.

Parental Concerns
With debt traps and student loans on a progressive incline, parents are concerned that their children will not become financially independent by moving out of their homes or pursue a future abroad. While these aren’t determinants of a successful life, parents have expressed their concerns regarding the same.
With these points in mind, Ranjani Sridhar, a 52-year-old parent has shared her views saying, “Millennials needn’t worry about comfort, as basic necessities have been taken care of by the older generation, who had large families. This explains their openness to risk taking, which scares parents as we aren’t sure how long it will last and expect to see long term results. Parents don’t want their children to doubt whether they will have food on their plates the next day. Stability in life and security are our paramount concerns and if that means keeping passion and profession separate, we are ready to do it.

So, what can be done to bridge this gap?
Without a doubt, both the parties need to have an understanding and respect each other’s convictions, thereby working together harmoniously. In Ranjani’s words, parents must understand that their children are of the next generation. “I wasn’t like my mom, so my daughter won’t be like me. At the same time, the younger generation must understand the pains the older generation took to come forward. They need to respect their thinking, reassure their parents and not mock their concerns. This will give parents confidence and enable them also to act maturely,” Ranjani strongly suggests.

Key Takeaways

⦁ Having some degree of flexibility and giving employees the freedom to arrive at the result by their own methods will appeal to the millennial mindset.
⦁ Listen. Listen to employees’ concerns and suggestions, thereby striking up a friendly rapport with them.
Entrepreneurs don’t have it easy and in no way is their job any less difficult to that of a 9-5 job. Even if a flexible format of work does not appeal to you, try not to criticize their efforts and judge their lack of long-term planning.
⦁ Experience must never be compromised. Guidance and reality checks are very important for millennials to streamline their thoughts, but too much control must not be exerted upon them. At the same time, millennials must help the older generation cope with technological advancements and present progress reports frequently to assure them that the necessary work is being done productively.
⦁ Stability and job security are just as important as doing what you love and working when you feel productive. Set long-term goals before starting an independent venture.

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