I’m an Elder Millennial and I Freaking Love Gen Z
The NY Times is trying to start a new generation war. Here’s why you shouldn’t fall for it.
In case you missed it: late last week, the NY Times ran a story by Emma Cooper about how Millennials are terrified of their new Gen Z co-workers. The headline and the lede say that millennials, particularly elder millennials (specifically 37-year-olds?) are terrified of being uncool in front of these Gen Z co-workers.
If you read beyond the headline and the splashy lede, though, you’ll see that the story sounds more like someone who is intensely jealous of the power Gen Z is harnessing.
It’s the power that Gen X tried to grab, but they were too small, as a group, to do so. It’s the power Millennials should have been able to grab, being such a huge bloc, but we didn’t.
Maybe we were too scared, due to the trauma of ascending into the most unstable job market in nearly a century. Maybe we were too cowed by our Boomer parents. Maybe we lacked the imagination necessary to break the chains of the 9-to-5 desk job structure.
Whatever the reason, we fell in line. We knelt before the corporate capitalist complex and took the scraps they offered us. We raged on twitter and went home and cried on our couch, but we didn’t do anything.
We fell for the stupid tricks: open concept offices make it easier to socialize! “We’re like a family here!” Relaxed dress codes let you be comfortable at work! Free laptops and cell phones are job perks (not chains that keep you working even when you’re at home)!
Gen Z is having none of it.
What follows is a selection of quotes from Ms. Cooper’s article; each quote bemoans a different aspect of Gen Z’s influence on the workforce. After each quote is my response, backed up with data, as to why this particular behavior should be celebrated, rather than feared.
At a supplement company, a Gen Z worker questioned why she would be expected to clock in for a standard eight-hour day when she might get through her to-do list by the afternoon.