Suffering From Associate Burnout? Occupy Yourself!

Occupy protesters in New York have finally been removed from Zuccotti Park—but they’ll be back. Protestors for the movement are nothing if not persistent. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the protestors would be legally welcomed to re-occupy the park again, provided they leave tents, installations, and generators at home.

It’s surprising that almost exactly two months later, Occupy protesters in New York have yet to show signs of fatigue, considering the professional apathy that has been statistically pervasive among young adults today.

A recent Forbes article discusses the high number of millennial women flameouts descending the corporate latter. Women, apparently, lead the pack when it comes to dropping out of the competition for corporate jobs.

Citing McKinsey research, Forbes reports that women hold 53 percent of corporate entry-level jobs, but this percentage drops to 37 percent for mid-management roles and 26 percent for vice presidents and senior managers as women progress through the natural professional hierarchy.

Why are women so disenchanted and disenfranchised?

“College is nothing more than a baby-sitting service. These students are totally unprepared for the real world. The reality for women… is that they are going to be working with 24 catty [women] who will backstab and compete with them. No one will say thank you. You will eat lunch at 5 p.m. It sucks and it’s hard work,” says Kelly Cutrone to Forbes.

You’d think Ms. Cutrone worked as a lawyer, but, instead, she’ president of People’s Revolution PR and author of If You Have To Cry, Go Outside.

After graduating thousands of dollars in debt from law school, young associates will hardly thank Ms. Cutrone for calling university education a babysitting service. Yet, more than just reality-star PR presidents claim law school preparation isn’t what it used to be [insert the many law suits about law school education.]

Nevertheless, men and women would be affected equally by this factor, so why are women suffering alone?

“One rationale is that men are more likely than women to do things that help their personal wellbeing at work, thus negating burnout, according to the Captivate Network. Men are 25% more likely to take breaks throughout the day for personal activities, 7% more likely to take a walk, 5% more likely to go out to lunch, and 35% more likely to take breaks ‘just to relax,’” analyzes Forbes.

Leisure sports and pursing a passion are cathartic releases for people in stressful occupations. Going on walks, lifting weights, taking a break… occupying Wall Street? Seems like a few productive ideas for the modern woman.

Whatever your pleasure or vice, sometimes a few statistics serve as sufficient reminders to professionals that unhappy employees are unproductive ones. So, find a cause, a sport, or a late-night sitcom to improve your attitude in the office.

Associates, suffering from wintertime blues (and it’s only Fall)? Research local social or sports clubs, make those hard-to-get dinner reservations one month in advance, or just plan more free time for family.

Firms, avoid drop-outs or lulls in work efficiency by offering discounted rates to employees for local special events, organizing first-year happy hours, and setting up sponsorship and mentorship programs between junior and senior attorneys. Pay special attention to those female associates at higher risk of falling through the corporate crack [See, “Three cost-free ways to support working mothers at your firm”].

An active human resources department at your law practice will ensure employees don’t join other disgruntled millennials in picketing at Zuccotti Park (unless, of course, it’s become their new pastime).

-WB

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