I know that lately I have been writing posts about anxiety and feeling of being overworked. But I feel that this is an important issue and I feel it needs to be discussed openly. And since this is Mental Health Awareness Month, this is an important time to discuss my next discussion topic: millennial women and depression. When my friends and I talk about our jobs (or lack there of) and our personal lives, not only there was a sense of being overwhelmed but also underappreciated in their lives. Then I start to notice that this was a trend. These emotional feelings appear to be a trend among my generation, the millennials. I really thought it was just me. Then I did some research. I noticed that this was starting to become a trend amongst our generation. If we do feel overwhelmed and unappreciated, the most likely source may come from our jobs:
This depression in the workforce could potentially be attributed to the fact that millennial women are more likely to leave their jobs permanently at a younger age due to “burning out.” According to Fast Company, women are more likely to become burnt out due to high expectations placed by employers on top of their depression.”
But this is something that is not new to me. I was diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder at the age of 14. My mental health is something that I continuously struggle but as of late, I feel like I am at a constant battle of trying to sane. My stress and other emotions at times will meet its peak and my extra-curricular activities ( the little time I would have for them) would help bring it down but slowly. So why are millennial women predisposed to mental health struggles in the workplace?
Part of me wants to make a name for myself at my job. I don’t want to sound egotistical but I feel with any job in public sector, you want to make sure that you are making a difference at your job. So you work hard and set high expectations for yourself. However, there are many obstacles in your way. You have to deal with ridiculous bureaucracy from your supervisor or “the higher-ups”, incompetency, and little or no appreciation for what you do. You realize there is little movement for change and that you constantly fight an ongoing battle to make your vision come into fruition.
It is not about “having it all”, a theory some experts claim millennial women want. It is about having our voices and ideas be heard. I feel like have to continuously try to be the perfect employee so I prove to myself and others that I am the right person for the job. I don’t want to let anyone down and I feel that is what most millennial women feel about their jobs: if they don’t work hard enough, they are perceived as not doing their job well. So our personal life gets pushed on the sidelines.
We need employers who are more understanding of our needs. Employers need to limit expectations. You might say that millennial women don’t need to try so hard, but easier said than done. I deal with ridiculously high expectations at my workplace and although people say you don’t have to try so hard, you get the underlining sense that if you don’t it will somehow backfire on you. We can take days off but for some of us it is not easy. For me, I have to give a year’s notice of what days I’m going to take off. How am I suppose to tell when I’m going to be stressed or not? We need more flexibility so we don’t suffer through a “burnout”. Depression is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which means an employer can’t discriminate people experiencing problems. But are employers willing to recognize this as an issue…or see it as us women being emotional?