Stopping Stimulant Abuse among Young Workers

prescription drugsMillennials are experiencing work stress and burnout at disturbingly high rates. Previously, career burnout was a midlife issue. Now it is happening early on, at the beginning of people’s careers.

Young workers are showing signs of burnout by asking for time off or reduced work hours, or are opting out altogether and moving back with their parents. There is also a trend for young people to start their own companies that have more relaxed work schedules. Other signs include the increased use of alternative relaxation methods, such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture. These are the healthy ways to handle stress.

The problem is, a growing number of young workers are not handling stress in a healthy way. They are turning to drugs—namely performance enhancement drugs, such as Adderall and other stimulants. In recent years, use of A.D.H.D. medication has almost doubled among adults 26 to 34, according to a New York Times investigation. And this is only measured as prescription use.

Many young workers are getting drugs illegally. In prescription form, young adults are getting rapid and incomplete ADHD diagnoses to procure the drug and are sometimes going to multiple doctors to get multiple prescriptions. In non-prescription form, young adults are buying it from dealers. Either way, they are taking too much.stress

Young workers report high performance expectations and levels of competition are reasons for turning to stimulant abuse. Abuse of performance enhancement drugs has been going on in colleges for a while. These same students are growing up and continuing the abuse as they enter the workplace.

Burnout and drug abuse are caused because healthy coping mechanisms are missing. One contributing factor is that the millennial generation has been raised by overprotective parents who have not given their kids opportunities to develop resilience and coping strategies. Instead, they have placed high levels of stress and extraordinary expectations for achievement on their children.

relaxNow that millennials are grown up, it is time for them to develop healthy coping mechanisms for work demands and stress. Running away and turning to drugs won’t fix the problem. Developing resilience and setting reasonable expectations for success will.

The Honest Truth: What It Is Really Like at Work

Recording of “The Honest Truth: What It Is Really Like at Work

FWS_webinare_SquareDr. Joanie Connell, author of the book, “Flying Without a Helicopter: How to Prepare Young People for Work and Life”, joins Weaving Influence CEO, Becky Robinson, to discuss the ideas in her book.

Joanie’s goal is to help you make the next generation more independent, which means that she will be covering topics like:

  • Set their expectations straight: Work is boring, tedious, difficult, and frustrating.
  • Get your hard hat on: People make lots of mistakes at work and you are no exception.
  • Do It Yourself Toolkit: No one will hold your hand at work; you need to be independent.
  • It’s not always obvious: Get your creative juices flowing because you’ll need to improvise.

If you have a child who is thinking about college, or you work with new graduates, you won’t want to miss this1- hour recording with Joanie – helping you creatively kick kids out of the nest, both at work and at home.

Face It: Face-to-Face Is Important

business meetingA colleague told me just today that a client paid for him to travel to have face-to-face meetings because they believed the results were much higher quality than phone meetings. After he flew all the way across the country for a few hours of meetings, he said it was worth it to get that extra level of interaction.

We often take advantage of current technology to communicateantennae instead of making the effort to get together face-to-face. Even talking can be too much effort. People have told me on multiple occasions that they prefer texting to talking on the phone. But we are missing out on a lot of information when we interact via technology. Some situations benefit greatly from good old face-to-face interaction. Building trust and resolving conflict are two such situations. It may be inconvenient—and expensive—to get together in person, but the time and money saved in the long run is well worth it.

I interviewed a group of industrial design engineers at a multinational company to find out why they preferred to meet face-to-face, even when it involved international travel. The engineers said there were many benefits of meeting face-to-face. These included:

  • personal growth (travel and learning)
  • ease of interacting remotely after meeting face-to-face
  • obtaining a “sense” of the other person
  • seeing what others are trying to accomplish
  • facilitating teamwork
  • establishing personal relationships and friendships
  • building trust
  • seeing others’ reactions
  • seeing eye contact and body language
  • clearly focusing on the problem without distractions
  • resolving issues
  • having quick access to decision-makers for approvals.

Some people think old-fashioned communication skills are not needed in the modern world. But don’t forget that people are people. We still need to interact, understand, and connect with each other. For all these reasons and more, it’s a good idea to hone your face-to-face communication skills.