It’s no secret that there’s a generational divide in the workplace. Boomers are referenced as “traditional,” and Gen Zers are referenced as “lazy” and “selfish.” With 96 babies and above doubting this truth, where is the stigma coming from? Are Boomers jealous of us?
We talked with Corporate Joy Strategist Erica Lasan to get her perspective on what she perceives while training age-diverse companies on embracing change. During our conversation, three reasons for Boomers’ jealousy of Gen Z emerged; Gen Z’s commitment to advocacy and prioritization of well-being, along with Boomers living in regret.
Though the relationship between generations is fractured, it can be mended. Ultimately, that’s dependent on how both generations embrace change and each other moving forward. Advocacy and activism are in the DNA of Gen Zers. “It comes down to Gen Z not being afraid to voice their opinions,” Lasan tells GU. “Gen Z is choosing to advocate for themselves.”
Some of the most significant cultural movements our generation elevated include Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and Climate Change reform. Therefore, we naturally bring that same passion and desire for change into the workplace.
We will not “play the game the same type of way,” Lasan framed it. We are vocal and “unwilling to diminish any parts” of ourselves for a job. That’s not only in terms of advocating for better work culture but our values as well.
One thing is for sure; Gen Z does not play about work-life balance. “When Gen Z comes looking to have work fit into their lifestyle, rather than living to work, it can come across as a slap in the face,” Lasan told GU.
According to this Deloitte survey, 46% of Gen Zers feel burned out due to the intensity/demands of their working environments. Our generation speaks out about the emotional tolls that the workplace has on us. We prioritize ourselves as Boomers are taking offense because they’ve been taught to work through burnout from generations passed.
“It’s not how they do things,” explains Lasan; Boomers don’t believe “that’s what adulthood looks like.” It’s as if they equate maturing with struggle, and Gen Zers are supposed to accept that until retirement. We’re not standing for that, especially when we feel we’ve reaped little benefit from the workplace.
According to the same Deloitte study, at least 46% of Gen Zers live paycheck to paycheck and worry they won’t be able to cover their expenses. We only see the point of going above and beyond if we can afford to live. Boomers resent that we won’t settle, as they did.
Boomers regretted not taking more chances when they were younger, and Gen Z is full of daredevils. 40% of Gen Zers would like to leave their jobs within two years, and 35% would leave even without another job lined up.
Boomers never considered that an option. Lasan often hears Boomers confess that “they wish they would’ve done something different, but now they do not have the time or capacity to learn something new.” Change is hard, but living in regret is harder. Gen Z seems to be receiving the brunt of Boomers’ remorse.
Gen Z and Boomers must learn to harmonize to form a healthy work environment. In the wise words of Lasan, we must “challenge our old beliefs.” We need to reconsider the way each generation refers to the other. Let’s focus on the values that Gen Z and Boomers bring, learning from each other. It’s time to move forward so that the workplace can be enjoyable.
About the author: Shelby Denise Smith is a full-time Social Media Editor and part-time Freelance Writer. She loves writing about news, wellness, and beauty and hosting impactful conversations with influencers and experts on those subjects.