THE BLOG
06/11/2008 02:06 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Corporate Freshman: How Will You Survive the Sandwich?

Millennials, Millennials everywhere. As the largest generation in American history, they're entering the workforce by the millions, and the blogosphere by the dozens. Today's twenty-somethings are ambitious, empowered, and outspoken, and they want personal and professional fulfillment right now. In the years since my friend Abby Wilner first coined the phrase "quarterlife crisis," there have been scores of books written for young adults in search of life satisfaction. But here's the thing no one's talking about. As we move toward the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, the oldest Millennials are entering their thirties. And in many ways, they are facing more challenges as mature adults than they did in their freewheeling twenties.

In the years to come, Millennials will find themselves folded into a sandwich, caught between the demands of work and family. Told in their twenties to explore their career choices, they may still lack fulfillment in their current job situation and want to find an occupation they feel passionate about. At the same time, the baby boomer brain drain will leave many companies rudderless, and Millennials will be thrust into leadership positions that increase their levels of responsibility and accountability. Millennials face a mountain a debt from school loans and escalating housing costs, and are pressured to save for retirement now because of the impending demise of social security. Most savvy young Americans will put off getting married and having children until their late 20s or early 30s, and just as the needs of their immediate family come to the forefront, their baby boomer parents will increasingly require their attention and care.

Taking all of these factors together, it's easy to see why seventy-five million thirty-somethings could be headed for a breakdown at some point in the next 5-10 years. Thirty may be the new golden age, but there's no discounting the fact that being in the prime of your life is more stressful than ever. How will the Millennials manage their multiple priorities, alleviate some of the pressures associated with this new stage of life, and ultimately find happiness and tranquilty in the midst of chaos?