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Gen Z has no time for the corporate grind. Are they lazy or smart?

OpinionGen Z has no time for the corporate grind. Are they lazy or smart?

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Generation Z is ditching the corporate grind in spades. 

According to a new study by Credit Karma, among Gen Z U.S. adults ages 18+, 60% say traditional 9 to 5 jobs are “soul-sucking,” with 43% saying they have no desire to work a traditional 9 to 5 job at all. 

While there’s been no discussion of whether or not this trend applies more to women than to men, much of the discussion about this topic suggests women are leading the charge—which makes sense, since social media, a largely female space, is in part why young women don’t want to work traditional full-time jobs. 

GEN Z IS SHAPING ITSELF INTO THE ‘WASTED GENERATION’

“Since Brielle’s TikTok video went viral,” writes Orianna Rosa Royal, “there has been a wave of anti-work content on the platform, including users filming themselves being laid off and ditching mandatory meetings to work out instead.”

But social media isn’t the only, or even the main, culprit. Gen Z women, adds Royal, are fed up with their work-laden lives. There’s no balance. 

The Credit Karma study highlights the underlying motive for this new phenomenon. “Nearly half (47%) of Gen Z say the older generation’s obsession with work has made them rethink their career paths.” In other words, they want something different. 

Unfortunately, the implication of Gen Z’s choice to lean back or lean out of the marketplace is that they’re lazy. But are they? 

In a recent article in Time magazine, psychologist Vanessa Scaringi posits that financial security, not the desire for a more balanced life, is the real reason women are opting out of the workforce. She claims they’re “reverting to old-fashioned gender roles that allow them to be cared for [by men] instead of hustling.”

GEN Z EMPLOYEE IS ‘SHOCKED’ BY THE ‘DEPRESSING’ 9-TO-5 WORK SCHEDULE

But there’s much more here than meets the eye. From my vantage point, one overarching difference between Gen Z women and the women who raised them is that younger women want to live more female-friendly lives. 

Some of these women may be, as Scaringi suggests, overcorrecting by choosing to become what we’ve dubbed “tradwives” or “softgirls,” which represent an extreme version of leaning out. But all revolutions have a counterrevolution; most women want something in the middle.

From my vantage point, one overarching difference between Gen Z women and the women who raised them is that younger women want to live more female-friendly lives. 

Gen Z women don’t want to live their mothers’ lives—they saw up close the burnout their mothers faced. Gen Z (and many millennials) wants what most women want: to be married with kids and to live a regular old life. They don’t want to “change the world” the way their mothers did. They want to focus on their own little corner of the world. 

GEN Z OPTING FOR TEXTING DUE TO ‘PHOBIA’ OF PHONE CALLS, RESEARCH REVEALS

I hear from these women every single day. Here’s a recent email:

I was 1000% raised with the narrative that education and career were more important than relationships and family. I received my “girlboss” degree (aerospace engineering) and am still working full time; but instead of going ‘all in’ on that career, I poured myself into my relationship. If you would have told me when I started college that by 26 I’d find most of my fulfillment from family, friends, and building a life with my husband, I would have laughed you out of the room. I’m so lucky and grateful that you were honest with me about what my life might look like later. I can’t thank you enough for your work and for being one of the few media influences who told me the untrendy truth that the girlboss life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The modern generation of women was steered terribly wrong: They should not have been raised to prioritize career over love. And now they want a new model for how to live a good life. In my new book, “How to Build a Better Life: A New Roadmap for Women Who Want to Prioritize Love and Family,” I provide women with a step-by-step plan to building a well-rounded life that puts love and family, not work, at the center. 

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It’s based on the premise that whom we marry, and how that marriage fares, has more effect on our happiness and well-being than anything else we do. This one decision colors every other decision we make. What sense does it make, then, to not make finding our person our first order of business?

Most women still want to get married. And when they do, their priorities will change dramatically. No one wants to tell women that motherhood will change every professional plan they ever had, but it will. Life will open up in a new, exciting, and profound way; and the pursuit of a career will play second fiddle—as it should.

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There is much more to life than work, and Gen Z has discovered this early on. They’re not lazy for leaning out of the marketplace and putting life first.

They’re smart.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SUZANNE VENKER

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