At every time in our lives, we feel like we’re working hard. Full-time education – from lessons to cramming for exams – seems like it’ll be the most difficult thing we’ll ever do. But then we hit university, and the workload – and coffee consumption – increases. Surely it can’t get harder than this, we think. And then, lo and behold, we enter the world of gainful employment. Late nights, early mornings and lots of extra hours typify those first years of work – and that’s why 24-34 year olds work harder than anyone else.
But what are the reasons behind this? Do we have more drive? Are we more ambitious? Or do we simply have to get to work for the sake of workplace survival?
We’re happy to do it
According to research in 2012 by insurer Aviva, we’re happiest in life between the ages of 27 and 35, with the higher end of that range being voted the happiest age. As such, those of us spanning our twenties and thirties are more willing to do the graft, as we’re content in our wider lives. With longer fuses, we’re less likely to rail against authority, and with life so close to being perfect, we’re keener to professionally please and make it thumbs-up across the board.
We need the money
This may seem like an obvious one, but money is famously one of the best motivators on the planet. With student loans baying at the door, and fashions to keep abreast of, it is incredibly important to keep our bank balances looking healthy. Aviva’s aforementioned research also touched on this, citing that 25-34 year olds need £627 a month of disposable income to feel comfortable. And that’s money we have to work for – hard.
We’re most creative at this age
In 2010, The New York Times ran a feature exploring when our creativity peaks – and the conclusion was that those of us in our early-thirties are peaking. And, although the feature focused on fiction writers to prove its point, creativity is a key workplace skill. It doesn’t just help those of us working on our first novel – it also helps problem-solving, interaction with others and innovation in business. So it figures: We work harder, because our hardware lets us.
We’re at our most able
Okay, this isn’t strictly true. The US General Aptitude Test – which gauges how good our motor co-ordination, finger dexterity and numerical ability, among other things are – has years of data proving that we become less efficient and able as we age. And, whilst we’re at our most able in our teens, if you only look at the ages where we’re likely to be employed, then 24-34 is the clear winner. Ipso facto, we can work harder, so we tend to.
We want to prove ourselves
Our formative years of employment can be tough, but that doesn’t stop us grafting away – and that’s primarily to make an impression. Two years ago the Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults found that most 24-34 year olds were willing to work hard to prove themselves and climb the ladder of a company. Whilst older workers are established in a role and known throughout their company, us young bucks want to make a name for ourselves. And, if that means working hard to make it happen, then so be it.