Conspicuous Production: the New Sign of Luxury?

Two people collaborating

It’s not uncommon today to hear about young adults pushing 12 hours a day at work every day. The nine-hour work shift is their minimum, not their limit. But while you might ask if they hate themselves so much to resort to working more than they need to, you will realise that they are doing this willingly.

Conspicuous consumption now has a sibling: conspicuous production. And it’s this generation’s latest status symbol.

Where All the Money Goes

All that work inevitably comes with a hefty price tag, you think. Well, that still depends on the kind of job they do. There are Townsville residents who are looking into new homes, which they can purchase with ease thanks to the deposit they have saved for working overtime. Their home, of course, reflects their love for self-care and understated luxury. A real estate purchase also helps further their passion for work, as they might choose a location that is a stone’s throw away from their office (if they do not work from home).

And then others prefer to spend their earnings on travel, as many members of the millennial generation choose to do. The expenses they incur are “charged to experience,” so to speak. A majority of them also double up on their retirement plan, which is necessary now that fewer companies are offering pensions.

Coffee and Eye bags as Status Symbol

Tired employeesThousands of articles have already been written about the laziness and self-centredness of millennials, but dig deeper, and you might also notice a trend in their aesthetic posts: a lot of them have to do with “hustling.” It turns out, they are not all lazy; they work hard and love it, even if it comes with the coffee addiction and the eye bags. But who can fault a generation that was told they needed to be good at one thing and had to stick to one job, but entered the workforce at an economic crisis? And their role models are overworking powerhouses, too. Conspicuous production is a sign of the times, perhaps.

All Roads Lead to Work

That there is now a ‘work is life’ mantra to replace the ‘work-life balance’ should not be surprising considering the different way millennials think. They are eco-conscious and prefer brands with a purpose to echo their commitment to something important to them, such as work. They love travelling, but they might be underemployed, which makes a second job or longer hours necessary. They have been dealt a difficult card, and instead of hating the job that they have no choice but to stick with, they give it love and use it to elevate their status symbol. Call it a spin on the ‘use your weakness as an armour’ saying, and their behaviours make more sense. Even their style reflects their #thankgoditsmonday mindset. Athleisure was not just a fashion statement. When you need to go to the office and will not emerge until the sun has set, you want the most comfortable outfit you can find.

Now that young employees show love for work, the rules have changed. Instead of being classified as lazy and self-centred, perhaps millennials have earned the title of being the most focused generation.