Working as Gen Z: How to Break the Stereotypes

Millennials, if you think you had it bad with generational stereotypes, be thankful you aren’t Gen Z. Gen Z is the newest generation entering the workforce, and they’ve already been dubbed the laziest one yet. Though I classify as a millennial, albeit by two mere months, most of my peers fall into the older side of Gen Z. This makes me a generational “tween” – but not the type of tween who has Bieber Fever. I’m a tween who can relate to the struggles of both generations, especially of Gen Z.

Older generations, particularly Gen X, seem to think we’re a bunch of lazy and entitled children. This is a tough stereotype to face when looking for or starting a new job. It’s also hard to change Gen X’s mind, even after explaining that your skillset goes beyond being social media savvy. So, what’s a Gen Z to do? Well, you can start by dropping phrases like “fam” and “fomo” from your vocabulary and laying off the Insta posts (I’m looking at you, #SelfieSunday). You’re a fully functioning adult now, so acting like one is pertinent. Making small changes like these will help people see that you are ready to work – and work hard.

The next step is pretty simple too. Arrive to your interviews, jobs, and meetings on-time or even early. Showing up is half the battle (or so they say), and showing up early demonstrates that you’re a responsible adult who can manage time well. I think that’s a big step away from the “lazy” stereotype. This also creates a sense of dedication, something Gen X thinks we lack outside of our Snapchat streaks.

My last piece of advice is something I never thought I’d say – always keep learning. I know, a thousand years of school, or so it seems, was draining. Haven’t we learned enough? Turns out, there’s a whole new set of things to learn post-grad. Thankfully there are books, mentors, blogs, infographics (because we all know Gen Z loves visuals), podcasts, and many other resources all available for your choosing. Your ever-growing intelligence will show; you’ll sound smarter, write better, and think more critically. Those all sound like great ways to combat the looming Gen Z stereotypes.

Overall, I’d say we’re up against some pretty tough judgements, but I think we’ll prove ourselves. And, while Gen X is talking about how they used to walk to school in the snow, uphill both ways, we’ll take over. Soon, we won’t only be the best generation but also the generation in charge. Let’s see them call us lazy then!

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