Generation Z is a label that currently comprises the age range of 9-year-olds to 24-year-olds. This means that most Zoomers are young enough that quite a few of them have not had their first job. As more of them set out to begin working, their first job experience comes during the pandemic. And they already hate it.
Disliking Covid work conditions does not make Generation Z unique, but what does set them apart is that they are not willing to grit their teeth and put up with it. Per Samhita Mukhopadhyay of Fortune, with work not being what they want, Gen Z is looking to redefine their jobs.
This is in part because students were some of those most heavily impacted by Covid. There are so many formative milestones that we all take for granted growing up—proms, graduations, dorm life, sports, and school clubs.
Many members of Gen Z were deprived of that for much of their high school and college experience. And being stuck at home made them realize that is not a future they want to continue living into their careers.
Kassandra Vargas is a 21-year-old student at the University of South Florida. She initially wanted to become a crime scene investigator, but Covid changed that. She has since changed her focus to social media.
Explaining why, she said, “The aspiration to work for myself has also become important to me because, with the number of job losses that happened during the pandemic, it just shows that companies are willing to drop you in a second.”
Right out of the gate, much of Gen Z’s first exposure to companies looking to hire them has been to see how cold and profit-driven those businesses can be. Covid stripped away the stories of a job being like your family and the anecdotes about how loyalty is rewarded. Instead, the younger workers saw how expendable they are viewed.
Impediments to building in-person connections and hands-on experience has been another detriment for budding workers. It has prompted some of Gen Z to focus now on going back to school, but not in the more traditional careers.
As 23-year-old Zayn Singh described his decision to do just that, he said, “I felt more like I was just helping a company become richer while trying to climb a ladder I really didn’t want to climb.”
While many of us are wistfully hoping for things to go back to how they were, or fumbling with the “new normal,” Gen Z is rejecting both and striking out on their own path.
For more insight on how Zoomers are changing their approach to jobs, check out Fortune’s post about it right here.
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