It feels like younger generations hear certain phrases from Boomers all the time about our work ethic, lifestyle, and expectations. Most of all, they call us “lazy” and say that we don’t want to work anymore. In reality, many of us have been working since we were teenagers and are still holding down challenging jobs.
These conversations can be especially tricky during the holidays when older family members blame us for any financial shortcomings. “At your age, I had already bought my second home and had a child,” they might say. Luckily, comedian Brendon Lemon was able to make the logical argument on TikTok as to why younger generations don’t actually benefit from work.
Comedian Brendon Lemon figured out why younger generations don’t want to work — there’s no benefit.
When talking to his Boomer dad and uncles, Brendon made a point about the difference in generations and our expectations. “Why do people expect work to be good?” Brendon’s Boomer relatives tell him. “It’s not supposed to be. It’s not supposed to be comfortable, that’s why you call it work. We didn’t expect it to be comfortable, we labored in uncomfortable situations, and we did it in order to make a living. We didn’t expect luxuries. You guys expect luxuries.”
What luxuries do millennials and Gen Z expect? Sure, offices lure us in with nice coffee machines, ping pong tables, and in-office bars, but no one is asking for that. Those are all just distractions from low pay and even lower growth opportunities. Maybe if the office is nice, we won’t want to leave a job that takes us for granted as quickly. But at the end of the day, all people really want is enough money and time to have a life outside of work.
“Who’s telling them that we want luxury?” Brendon asks. "And that for some reason we’re unwilling to put up with uncomfortable situations? All of us worked through college! I don’t know a single person who didn’t have a job, who didn’t work almost full-time all the way through college, even though they were going to college full-time."
“Secondly, most of us are just asking for healthcare and affordable housing. I don’t understand where the concept of luxury is coming from. A place to sleep and have some money to buy food and then maybe go out every once in a while is most of what people are asking for. And not to be terrified of future and retirement and dying poor and lonely.”
But an emotional argument can only take us so far. When Brendon gets into actual statistics, it’s terrifying what we can see and how the future looks for future generations. Since 2000, there has been 62.34 percent inflation total.
For example, something that would have cost $5.38 in 2000 now costs at least $8.73. The CPI (Consumer Price Index) has increased by 500 percent since 1970, and college tuition has increased by 1,550 percent. But there has only been a 10 percent increase in wages. That’s a recipe for disaster!
Not only that, but Brendon added the data about how Baby Boomers have blocked career progression and wage increases for younger generations by not retiring. All of this data shows one very important fact — it isn't that millennials and Gen Z don’t want to work. It’s that working isn’t worth it anymore. Because even if we do everything our parents did, we won’t be able to afford even half the life they wanted for us.
One person even commented that they make more than their parents combined, who owned three houses, and they can’t even afford to buy one house. Others pointed out that the basic necessities of internet, cell phones, and a place to live are suddenly being equated with “luxuries.”
Someone else added that not only does work not benefit us, but it also doesn’t seem to benefit society. Most of the high-paying jobs are for large corporations who take advantage of the Earth’s natural resources and lower-rung employees, all while benefiting one rich guy at the top who donates to campaigns we disagree with.
Millennials have been working for at least a decade, if not longer. They would know by now if work was worth it, but if anything, many of our lives have gotten harder instead of easier.
Millennials had the technology to warn Gen Z, and they’re now learning the same thing and how to make money through other avenues, such as NFTs and influencer marketing, which may not seem like “work” to Boomers.
So yes, the Boomers are right, to a degree. We don’t want to work, because what’s the point?