Gen Z Worker Discovers the Grind of Capitalism, Sparks Debate on How to Fix the System

A Gen Z worker discovers the capitalism grind and asks fellow Zoomers for solidarity while wondering if older generations are OK with the system.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Aug. 22 2023, Published 2:29 p.m. ET

The rise and grind of capitalism in the U.S. can be debilitating, although it’s not often talked about. However, one Redditor, u/Dangerous-Pianist604, made her opinions known in a post on the Late Stage Capitalism subreddit. While working at her first internship, the Gen Z OP becomes disillusioned as she finally experiences the daily grind caused by capitalism.

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"How can this be?" she wonders, and "How are older generations OK with it?" she hints. The Zoomer clearly has a lot to learn as commenters chime in on what to expect in the future. They share advice and how their lives took similar turns. But in all honesty, she isn't wrong to feel how she feels. Capitalism is exhausting! But what do the people have to say about the rise and grind?

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A Gen Z worker discovers the capitalism grind and blames it on past generations.

While the initial post has since been deleted from Reddit, a screenshot luckily exists on Twitter, thanks to @thechosenberg. The TikToker finds random Reddit posts (or any post on the internet) and reshares them to Twitter to spark some sort of discussion. When sharing this Gen Z’s post, they wrote, “Dude folded during his first internship.”

Of course, we’ve all had our moments of weakness, especially during our first jobs. OP asked their fellow Zoomers, “Any other Gen Z workers finding it impossible to fathom the rest of our lives like this?” We hate to break it to you, OP, but millennials felt the same way when we left the safety net of college and parental care behind. Not only do we have to work eight hours per day to pay to live, but we have to do our own chores and errands. It’s not always fun!

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They continued, “[I’m] in the midst of my first internship and I cannot believe that generation after generation has been doing this bulls--- work and is fine with it. I sat sobbing at my laptop today trying to write some blog post about federal funding that was assigned to me today, doing the most boring s--- of all time that drains me of all my energy and has zapped my passion for writing, and I’m just supposed to do this forever with a smile on my face cause I need money?”

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Sadly, yes. But this is why we need to join forces across generations and vote for the right representatives! A major reason many people work jobs they hate is because of the privatized healthcare system. If public healthcare existed, people wouldn’t be forced into unbearable work situations that further a mental health crisis. In fact, it’s known that the 1 percent lobbies on behalf of private healthcare corporations in order to keep the working class working.

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Without the threat of losing medical insurance, many people would quit their full-time jobs and pursue their passions, while doing odd jobs here and there to pad their wallets. It’s something that Boomers created, Gen X just dealt with, and millennials have been forced to reconcile with. Now, despite their anarchist ways, Gen Z is thrown the exact same obstacle.

OP continues, “F--- each and every person who made this system and keeps it upright and acts like they’re happy about it too. I’m also a full-time waitress at two restaurants and I want to be an artist and a writer but nothing that fills my cup or makes me happy will ever pay the bills.” Sadly, this is a problem that artists and writers have been facing for years.

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The fact that OP is doing a writing internship in the first place is proof that they believe they should do something adjacent to their passion to make money. However, they might learn that all this does is suck their creative energy. It’s something I struggled with for years before finding my happy place writing about things I actually enjoy, like my favorite television shows and comedians.

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Commenters on Reddit and Twitter have mixed reactions to OP’s rant.

The most common comment across both platforms is that while the capitalist grind is part of a system that has existed for multiple generations, not everyone in each generation is to blame. It’s more of an issue of the class divide than it is of the generational divide — in fact, the 1 percent always works to divide the 99 percent so that they can’t defeat the capitalist system.

Some people have recognized that it’s nearly impossible to make a living by creating art, and the best we can do is just find a job we don’t hate or become housewives who have time to pursue their passions as “hobbies” while not caring for their children.

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Others are more empathetic to OP’s cause. Stagnant wages among inflation and rising costs make the rise and grind meaningless — no matter how hard we work nowadays, we still can’t make enough to live comfortably. Sadly, there’s no answer to OP’s woes. The best we can do is find a job we don’t hate that provides a healthy work-life balance. And luckily, thanks to millennials rising within the workforce, this is becoming more and more feasible.

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