Over the course of the past few decades, a large quantity of research has been dedicated to measuring public attitudes on important social issues and documenting differences in those attitudes across various demographic groups. A key focus point employed by many of these researchers is understanding the generational differences among modern day society.
“When I first started work I was so excited to be working and making money for the first time but now I feel like the money’s not even worth it anymore.” Alexia, a 19 year-old who landed her first job in retail when she was 18 told us: “I didn’t mind going to work, it was actually quite fun at times, but now I just question myself why I still work there.”
It is thought that many people like Alexia are fulfilling their role to a very minimal degree and there is no further participation beyond work hours. There is a new found ideology that the new generation are able to mentally clock off from a work environment when they feel as if it is becoming too much of a burden on their mental health and also social life. This includes frequent ‘sick days’ and booking holidays when wanting to escape. It’s a process that has been described as “quiet quitting”.
According to researchers, Millennials and Gen Z are more inclined to do this because they are more self-aware when it comes to looking after their mental health and being firm in believing what they deserve. According to Deloitte, this has resulted in 44% of Gen Zs and 43% of millennials quitting their jobs within the last two years with an increase in their workload and employers not been accepting of the fact that they’re feeling ‘burned out’.
This is said to be different to Gen X as they are seen to just take things as they are and become more consumed by their jobs, sometimes prioritising it over their life outside of their work and not allowing themselves a break.
“I try to space out the days, I call in sick if I can so that they don’t catch on,” said Alexia. “On days I go in and want to go home I’ll act sick so that I can leave.” Working in an environment you’re not happy in can result in pulling any trick out the bag to worm your way out of an unpleasant situation.
Many believe that a leading factor in why there is such a different mindset between these generations when it comes to things such as work ethic is that stereotypically speaking, day-to-day life was far more difficult for those of Gen X, excluding today’s exceptions of course. By extension, making the choice of “slacking off” simply wasn’t an option.
Victoria’s Secret worker, Amelia is 23 and has been working with the company for almost two years now. When starting the job her responsibilities were fewer and so the pay wasn’t as much as a priority. Now having finished uni and wanting to move out, the standard pay rate of £9.50 an hour just isn’t cutting it any more but she admits she has become too comfortable in her job to leave.
“Some days I’ll finish at 10 meaning that by the time I get home I’ll have to go straight to bed in order to wake up early again the next day to go back,” Amelia stresses that she feels like she has no time for herself working in this job and the pay doesn’t account for the time and effort being spent within the building.
“During the first year of working there I always made sure I was doing my best to impress the managers in hopes of eventually getting some sort of promotion but it seems that the only time my pay increases is during the Christmas period.”
Many workers are experiencing the same frustration as Amelia, feeling as if their hard work is going unnoticed.
It has also been recognised that the younger generations are much opinionated. This has lead to the controversial belief that establishments and work places should allow more room for employees to take days of absence. For example, in recent years a debate has been raised arguing the point that “mental health days” should be allowed and be taken equally as seriously as a sick day or a hospital appointment.
In simple terms, many people within the work place believe that they should feel comfortable to take the day off work if they are feeling mentally and/or emotionally drained and not just in the case of a physical ailment, bereavement or travel impediment.
The majority of today’s society believe that these ideals and mindsets are one of the main reasons why millennials and members of Gen Z are far more likely to prioritise an extravagant and eventful social life over a dedicated, studious work ethic.
Featured image by Mizuno K via Pexels CC