The Odd Couple: Boomers and Gen Z Unite on These Job Issues


From the rise of technology to drastically different work styles, it’s no secret that generations can have vastly divergent views regarding workplace dynamics.

Just look at baby boomers and Generation Z: one grew up with carefully typed memos on typewriters, while the other prefers finding solutions in real-time online chats.

Gen Zers and Boomers have been pitted in a competition between which generation is superior. When it comes to work, there are many things they agree on.

Here are the biggest areas of agreement from a recent survey by Indeed.

#1. Burn Out

Along with the growing popularity of smartphones came the always-connected job. Over time became an unwritten expectation that your boss could message you at 9 pm, and you would respond.

But after many years of this, burnout ranks high as an issue for most employees. In fact, 72% of Boomers and 78% of Gen Z are experiencing this feeling.

The most common reason for burnout among Boomers is additional responsibilities at home. Gen Z, it is being asked to do work outside of their job descriptions.

Additionally, 64% of Gen Z and 65% of Boomers say their mental health has negatively impacted their lives, citing that their jobs interfere with personal interests and time spent with family and friends.

#2. Quiet Quitting

The term quiet quitting is all the rage these days. While many think the term means you stop working without telling your boss, workers define it differently.

Workers surveyed say quiet quitting is “taking time for oneself during the workday.” Most workers, including 93% of Boomers, say they see their co-workers participating in this behavior.

But both Boomers and Gen Z agree that quiet quitting is a good thing. Taking a few minutes during the day to reset leads to higher productivity. Unfortunately, most employers see this phenomenon as a negative thing.

Many workers report conversing with their boss and other leaders about this topic.

Related: Learn the importance of time vs. money

#3. Setting New Work Boundaries

The good news is that while burnout is real, workers and managers agree on setting new boundaries for work.

In fact, 91% of Boomers and 87% of Gen Z are comfortable leaving work during the day to attend to personal matters as long as they complete their work. Many people noted that their bosses encourage them to step away during the day as long as it does not interfere with getting their job done.

Don’t think that workers are lazy by taking time away. Over 40% of people say they take on tasks not part of their job description to help out their colleagues, with some working through lunch occasionally.

#4. Work Motivation Is Critical

Motivation is critical for workers to stay at their current job. What does motivation look like? Over 40% of Boomers and 35% of Gen Z are motivated when their work is challenging and meaningful.

Of those questioned, 40% said that lacking motivation is the main reason they seek a new job.

Related: Here is how to negotiate a salary offer

#5. Boomers Are Responsible

When Boomers were asked how they described themselves, they mentioned being responsible, dedicated, and cooperative.

Gen Z cited that Boomers are responsible regarding their workload when asked to describe Boomers.

#6. Gen Z Is Also Responsible

When Gen Z was asked to describe themselves, they mentioned hardworking.

Boomers said Gen Z was more responsible than hardworking regarding work.

Interestingly, other generations, except for Boomers, labeled Gen Z lazy or selfish. Boomers were most likely to label Millennials as lazy or selfish.

Data for this article are from a recent survey by Indeed.

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