Why Gen-Z isn’t Coping in the Workplace

So you take senior employees, inflexible and used to the methods they pioneered and that work for them. A sense of control over their environment. Mix them with young, colorful, energetic and super fast thinking and progressive young people, hell bent on remaking the world as it is known into their own image, what do you get? A crab bucket. You take a bunch of crabs, put them in a bucket and what you’ll notice is as some of the crabs try to climb out of the bucket, the other crabs are doing their best to pull them down. Design a system set to disadvantage everyone leading to even greater hostility, discrimination and preying on societal biases of a diverse groups of people.

Feel free to answer this in the comments. Here’s what I think you get and as one of the Z Gen or Gen Z, I will do my best to be impartial, even as I speak of my own experiences. It’s no secret, the idea of spending a bulk of my hours weekly at work and only having a smaller percentage for rest and to pursue life’s pleasures…does not appeal to me at all. Every time I wake up in the morning, I’m thinking “But why do I need to spend so much time at work? Why the 40 hour work week? Why is hard labour consider a standard for ultimate success?'' Then I roll my eyes and begrudgingly go to work because well, money. The happiness of new sneakers or shiny stuff doesn’t come free (sneakers and shiny stuff are among my favorite things in the world). But once you enter the workplace, whether it’s a job you believe is your purpose, whether you love what you do, do you really have to be there 8 hours every day? Half the time you’re there trying to look busy or innovative so you can keep the impostor syndrome*** away and the overwhelming desire to deserve to be elsewhere.

I’ll be straight with you, young people, most young and employed people like myself are struggling at the workplace. There are old embedded systems of hierarchy that stifle the creativity in us, there are old cultures of “hazing the interns” that aren’t even considered damaging and you’re very lucky if you don’t have to skirt your way out of people who are just a harassment case waiting to happen. Everybody loves young fun ideas, but not when they threaten old systems and control measures. Everyone will be happy you’re filling up that suggestion box all the way up until you suggest change. Change is a threat. It brings fear, and the most dreaded, work. So. Most workplaces, no matter how nice they smile at you, their diversity quota, consider Gen-Z too young, too female, too fast to be taken seriously. Thus feeding the cycle of worker bots, just following rules and staying silenced on things that really affect them that they could enact some serious change on. And this is not to blame the older generation, there’s often no training on how to make the best of both worlds just left up to personality and whether or not your new boss will like you or consider you an uncomfortable nuisance. And lastly, young people at work are very vulnerable. They have practically no training on the labour laws or places they can seek help if they are unfairly treated at work. Too afraid to step out of line and be labeled problematic. Often no guidance or mentorship offered beyond a quick tour and a “good luck, happy to have you!” and then there’s “do you know how many people are unemployed? You should be grateful and stop making a fuss” conversations like these consciously or unconsciously feed the impostor syndrome and the fear of being dismissed. Often hung over their heads for any problem. In most industries, there aren’t any resources directly set aside for young people at work once they sign that employment contract. And education of your rights is vaguely included once or twice in a training or a statement by management. For most of my generation we were working our first jobs. Buying those sneakers and shiny stuff! Or investing in moving out or mobility. We won’t be looking to jeopardize that by making a fuss. Much to the detriment of our mental health. And what’s one horrible day, week or month if you can provide for yourself and have that one week of happiness and retail therapy? Careful, you might start resembling your predecessors.

***Impostor syndrome by my definition is a form of anxiety where the person feels like they do not belong and a mistake has been made for them to be there and at any minute someone will realize the mistake and remove them. This syndrome is highly present in young people but also highly manipulated by authoritarian leadership styles playing on the fear of being fired or being considered not useful to take advantage of their subordinates.

About the author:

I am a person of the world with a window that allows me many lives. Music and good food are why I'm still here. Apples are my arch enemy.


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