Millennials’ “Get a ‘Real Job’”: Exploring Generational Shifts in the Colloquialism’s Characteristics and Meanings

Amy O’Connor, Amber N.W. Raile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study provides a replication of Clair’s research on the colloquialism “real job.” Colloquial meanings are influenced by generational and sociocultural changes; thus, a replication exposes how Millennials who are coming of age during the Great Recession understand the phrase. Analysis of data from 139 currently matriculated Millennials suggests that a real job provides a salary that is utilitarian rather than lucrative, offers medical and retirement benefits, and is fulfilling. Our analysis revealed four themes that are presented under the broad categories of acceptance (right of passage; mark of distinction) and rejection (meaningless concept; relativism) of the colloquialism. Overall, participants were divided about the utility of the term and nearly half of the students rejected that a real job exists. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-290
Number of pages15
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 28 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015

Keywords

  • Millennials
  • colloquialism
  • meaning of work
  • real job

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