Gen Zs differ from other generations in nearly all areas of life, and the workplace is no exception. Take, for example, this young Gen Z job seeker who shocked a recruiter with his extensive list of job expectations.
Shocking Interview with a Gen Z
One recruiter, Sameera Khan (@sameeracan), took to Twitter to share her surprising experience after interviewing a young job seeker who expressed his desire for a work-life balance.
It’s All About Work-Life Balance
"I was interviewing a Gen Z intern today and he says he is looking for work-life balance with not more than 5 hours of work. Doesn't like the MNC [multinational corporation] culture so wants to work at a start-up,” shared India-based Sameera Khan, a director of people success at InFeedo.
Surprising Salary Request
Khan mentioned that the job seeker had asked for a salary of about 50,000 Indian rupees for the time he would be on the job. Although it may not sound like a substantial amount at around $600, it actually exceeds the average monthly salary of an Indian Gen Zer by more than eight times. Forbes states that a 24-year-old typically earns around INR 5,905 per month.
"God bless the future of work," Khan concluded the Twitter post.
Bold Expectations Spark Online Debate
Khan's tweet quickly went viral on the platform, amassing over 791.4k views and sparking a lively discussion in the comment section about salary expectations, the number of working hours, and work-life balance.
The job seeker's expectations were met with criticism by some, especially considering his lack of experience. “He needs to work 100 hours a week for 5 years and get to a senior position in big tech. Then he can get 40-50 lakhs with less work than that," one Twitter user wrote.
The Cost of Work-Life Balance
Echoing the previous viewpoint, another user chimed in, “The issue is they want more pay for less work. You can have your work life balance. But like most things in life you have to sacrifice something to get what you want. This lesson seems to be lost on many people.”
Gen Z Has More Potential
On the flip side, some disagreed that the job seeker's expectations were unreasonable, suggesting that this generation deserves higher pay and shorter work hours due to their valuable contributions.
One user countered, “On the contrary, we’ve had good experiences. Our GenZ interns pro-actively improved the productivity of one of our teams by 4x through process excellence. With some tough love and guidance, they do pretty well. They’re scared of recession and are willing to go the extra mile. I guess there will always be bad apples.”
A Generation of Value
Gen Zs actually bring valuable contributions to the table, setting them apart from other generations. According to a 2018 report by McKinsey & Company, this generation is characterized by their prioritization for individual expression over labels, their use of dialogue to resolve conflicts, their proactive engagement in various causes, and their analytical and pragmatic approach to decision-making and interactions with institutions.
A Big Shift from Hustle Culture
Another user commended the youngest generation entering the workforce for valuing work-life balance, unlike previous generations. “This hustle culture started with baby boomers and got passed on to millennials. Thanks to Gen Z, they understand life is not all about working for someone else,” they commented.
“I love the Genz for the most part. Millennials spend too long hustling that there's no life left,” a second user agreed.
Gaming Over Working
Someone else chimed in by sharing their own experience with a young relative, affirming that this generation is not solely focused on work. They wrote, ” So true! Just met a young cousin who rejected a '9-5' because it interrupted his 'prime gaming hours'. The future is fascinating!”
Learn & Grow First
Joining the discussion, Khan commented on her post to share her viewpoint. “Prioritising work life balance early on is great but while looking for the first few internships one should look for learning, growth, good projects & peers. Balance gets struck eventually,” she wrote.
Understand Your Career Goals
“Your first few internships should help you understand what you want from your career in terms of work. Imagine having work life balance but hating the 5 hours of work you have to do or the people you have to work with. Asking these questions around that is as important.”
You Can Do Both
Speaking to Fortune, Lewis Maleh, CEO of the global executive recruitment agency Bentley Lewis, shared his take on this debate. “If you want to do well in life, you've got to work hard to get there,” he said.
“I think you can work hard and have a really successful career, and also take care of yourself—they’re not mutually exclusive. For me integrating your work and life is making sure that you're working on yourself—I go to the gym six days a week, I eat well and I try to sleep well—and working hard.”
Rewriting the Rules for the Future
So, what's your personal take on this? Do you believe that Gen Zs, who may not have as much work experience, truly hold unrealistic expectations for job salary and working hours? Or is it possible that older generations simply don't prioritize work-life balance as much as Gen Zs do? Perhaps this younger generation brings something entirely different to the table in the workplace, which might justify higher pay and shorter hours. After all, being technology natives, they've learned so much about life early on, and they may possess knowledge comparable to that of senior employees, if not more!
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Sylvia Silverstone is a passionate writer who loves to share her knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including beauty, life hacks, entertainment, health, news, and money. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Sylvia's engaging writing style keeps readers coming back for more.