Elizabeth Lotardo, a vice president at the leadership development consulting firm McLeod & More, told Forbes that "we have an inherent desire to be part of something that’s bigger than ourselves." She then added, "When you can see the impact that you have on another person, another community, on the world, that carries a lot of weight."
That quote is in reference to the importance of having a purpose in life, which can partially come from one's work. Obviously we are toiling under a capitalism machine, but our brains also want to be productive. We want a sense of meaning and direction. It keeps us going. That's why one woman has taken to TikTok to address the outlandish notion that millennials and Gen Z simply do not want to work. They do. They just don't want to work themselves to death.
Gen Z and millennials are very much into working.
Mik, who goes by @ginger4567 on TikTok, wants to make one thing clear. She wants to work. Gen Z wants to work. Millennials, they are also down to labor clown but someone should check with the Elder Millennials.
If Mik wasn't working, she firmly believes that boredom would consume her like a kraken gobbling up a ship at sea.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was unemployed for 15 months. I was more stressed than bored. I recall finding ways to break up the days that somehow made me feel busy. Still, I too prefer to work. I'm doing it right now!
Unlike a great deal of people, Mik loves what she does. She is very passionate about her job. Being employed is more a choice versus a chore, though clearly she has to work in order to survive.
Really liking what you do is a luxury that feels like it popped up in recent history. Once upon a time people were working hideous hours in dangerous factories. And while those conditions have improved immensely, one thing remains the same. We are all working in order to make money, which we need to survive.
Singer Todd Rundgren famously said in his song "Bang on the Drum All Day" that he doesn't wanna work, he wants to bang on the drum all day. I have news for Todd — banging on the drum all day would give him a reason to get up in the morning, just like work! "The purpose of a job is to pay so you are able to afford to live," says Mik. Banging on the drums all day might not do that.
Sadly, working a full-time job no longer holds the same promises it used to. People of Mik's generation, Gen Z, were sold a bill of goods that is simply not possible. Going to college and getting a degree doesn't guarantee you'll be able to secure a job that allows you to live.
"We do not make enough to pay rent, to pay for food," explains Mik. "Everything is so expensive right now, and wages are not keeping up with the cost of living." This is the source of her generation's frustration and in all honesty, most people's.
Beyond working simply to survive, Mik points out they don't have enough money to save. Also, everyone deserves to have a nice time, but no one has the extra money needed to spend an evening out. It's depressing and frustrating. "We can barely afford to pay our rent, and buy food," she says. You'll notice she said rent, not mortgage. Forget buying a house.
By the way, it's not uncommon for younger generations to work two or three jobs. The phrase "side hustle" has become so normalized that folks barely blink when a person is trying to work on top of a full-time job. This is why they don't want to work. They want to give up on themselves the way older generations have given up on them. Can you blame them?