OPINION: Stop being angry at younger generations for understanding their worth and value 


Wren Johnson


A leaked memo from Amazon management recently revealed that the 300 billion dollar company is anticipating extreme labor shortages within the next two years, according to Vox. This follows countless reports of poor working conditions, high injury rates and harsh productivity quotas that punish employees who are truly giving their all. 

Amazon is not alone, as thousands of businesses report similar issues with hiring and keeping new employees. Many attribute this to a decreased work ethic in new generations, specifically Generation Z; however, what many fail to realize is that the only difference between the more productive generations, such as baby boomers and Gen X, and the more modern millennials and Gen Z individuals is that the latter are more aware of their potential and value in relation to rising inflation and living costs.

The federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009, meaning that the 12-year gap between then and now marks the longest period without a raise in the history of the minimum wage, according to fastcompany.com

Gas, housing, grocery and various other inflations have made living more expensive. While this increases the need for work, it also increases competition between workers for good, well-paying jobs. 

The long and short of it is that younger generations do not want to waste time or energy pursuing careers with barely sustainable wages when they would rather pursue higher education or search for careers where they are more valued. 

Similarly, younger generations have higher standards for how to be treated in the workplace, a luxury that our work-desperate parents and grandparents could not afford. In a time with ample career opportunities (with more bad than good), we have been given the ability to pick and choose our jobs based on wages, time commitment, and treatment, while the older generations considered themselves lucky to have just one of the aforementioned benefits. We know our worth not just as employees but as individuals.

Most importantly, younger generations have learned that life should be a balance between home and work, with more emphasis on enjoying life than sitting behind a desk.

As someone whose parents worked long hours, I am grateful for their sacrifices but also saddened that in exchange for a comfortable lifestyle I lost valuable time with loved ones that I will never get back. Newer generations are beginning to understand that it is unfair to sacrifice family and personal time for time-consuming, unfulfilling careers.

Paid vacation hours, maternity leave and sick leave are essential to rejuvenating the spirit and preventing burnout, something we see all too often.

Newer generations, contrary to popular belief, are not the lazy, good-for-nothings that many news outlets portray us as. After seeing all of the sacrifices made by our parents, grandparents and older loved ones, we are ready to see necessary change. 

Don’t be angry with us for waiting for careers that offer livable wages, good working conditions and provide quality time at home.