US Business Majors Want Work Life Balance? How Dare Them!

The snarky title is not just window dressing. The message of this article is that Millennials that put a high value of work life balance threaten the nation’s competitiveness. 

Do U.S. Business Majors Have a Case of Ambition Deficit Disorder? – Francesca Di Meglio via Businessweek

Quick: How many business majors in the U.S. do you think have as their No. 1 career priority work-life balance? Twenty percent? Forty percent? Try 61 percent. This according to a survey of 21,000 business majors by Universum, the New York branding outfit.

Less important than work-life balance to the millennial generation are the kinds of priorities that propelled previous generations up the career ladder. Millennials rank job security and stability second, being competitively challenged third, and being a leader or manager of people fourth among their professional goals.

In this, business majors are not much different from those in other academic disciplines, which range from 58 percent with work-life balance as the No. 1 priority for information technology to 66 percent for the natural sciences. But in Asia, business majors have considerably more drive. Only 41 percent of Chinese and 37 percent of Japanese undergrads list work-life balance as a top priority.

That has some people worried. “For U.S. companies to remain strong and vibrant, they need a dedicated, committed and innovative workforce driven by strong leaders,” says Melissa Murray Bailey, president of Universum–Americas. “It will be interesting to see how this changes American business as we know it.”

Just to be clear, work life balance means means not totally subordinating yourself to your employer and the capitalist dream of personal success at all costs, and instead putting a premium on family and other interests, like community, politics, travel, art, or other activities.

But to Di Meglio and the Universum, throwing your personal life away in pursuit of Randist advancement in pay grade is patriotic, and anyone who doesn’t toe the line is a traitorous weakling hippie. Maybe they should ask why the Millennials want work life balance: did they see what mindless overwork got for their parents?

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