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Older millennials made it to management—now they’re wondering if they even want to be the boss

By | Jennifer Liu |

As millennials begin to turn 40 in 2021, CNBC Make It has launched Middle-Aged Millennials, a series exploring how the oldest members of this generation have grown into adulthood amidst the backdrop of the Great Recession and the Covid-19 pandemic, student loans, stagnant wages and rising costs of living.

Millennials have gotten a bad rap since they started entering the workforce. They have been stereotyped as lazy and entitled employees who will trade company loyalty for the ability to leapfrog into a management position they haven’t earned; they want to work for a values-driven company with a casual dress code.

But the reality is that many millennials went to college at a time when education costs soared and graduated into a financial recession that gave them limited career opportunities to pay off their student loans, let alone save for other financial milestones.

Then, companies began to eliminate middle management jobs — the ones millennials were working toward — as the job market tanked during the financial crisis. Senior leaders who weren’t pushed out of work delayed their retirement. At the very top, CEOs got older, stayed longer and got a lot richer.

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