It’s unfair to tar an entire generation with the same brush, but many bosses are doing just that. They’ve branded Gen Z as lazy, insisting that they literally do nothing during work hours unless every second of their day is micromanaged. Yikes!
- To be fair, Gen Z has had a tough time of things. Many young professionals that are new to the work force spent a lot of their college career on computers rather than in real-life classrooms and office spaces. As a result, their interpersonal skills are… slightly lacking.
- Many bosses think lockdown made Gen Z unwilling to work. “They’re not looking to be productive,” Laura Davis, a director at the John Ball Zoo, told The Wall Street Journal (via Business Insider) “If they’re not told what to do, if someone isn’t managing every second and keeping them busy, their inclination is not to self-identify what they can do — it’s to do nothing.”
- How can they be expected to learn something they never learned? While some bosses have negative ideas about younger workers, there are some companies focusing on helping those just entering the workforce to get their skills up to par. They’re willing to train these workers in everything from office chat, how to compose emails, and figuring out office-appropriate attire.
- Is it so wrong not to want to work yourself into the ground? There is definitely a trend at Gen Z workers seeking employment that’s less taxing. A July 2023 article in The Guardian dubbed these “lazy girl” jobs, citing a popular TikTok hashtag where employees celebrate their low-commitment, low-stress jobs. While some people might call this “lazy,” why is it so wrong for people to simply want to be paid for doing a decent job and then leaving at 5 p.m. and not taking their office BS with them? Seems pretty natural to me.
- Gen Z say they’re not lazy — there’s something deeper going on. Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial survey found that younger people blame stress and anxiety for their inability to adhere to basic productivity expectations. A whopping 46% of Gen Zs surveyed said they feel stressed or anxious at work the majority of the time they’re there, which isn’t great. They’re concerned about everything from money (making ends meet today as well as their long-term financial prospects), struggling to find a work/life balance, and office politics, among other things.
- Is there a way to strike a happy balance? There’s no easy answer. Bosses shouldn’t automatically make assumptions about workers based on their age, that’s for sure. Conditions shouldn’t be so stressful that they cause employees of any age undue anxiety or depression. However, until workplace culture changes in the U.S., we’re still going to see a whole lot of unhappy workers.