Career Confessions from GenZ is a weekly series authored by Cameron Sackett, a Sophomore at the Univesity of Michigan majoring in Communications and Advertising. Make sure you connect with him on LinkedIn:
I’m going to be frank: the prospect of working for the rest of my life is absolutely terrifying. I’ve been saying for years that I can’t wait to retire, and I’m only 19. Nothing makes my skin crawl more than the thought of waking up early every day (I’m such a teenager it hurts) and going to sit in uncomfortable clothing at an ugly office surrounded by people I don’t even like.
Whenever this gets brought up, people always try to reassure me that I might enjoy working and I might really like my job. While I hope this is the case, I do believe that a major part of making those 40 hours a week a little more enjoyable is the company and its culture.
There are definitely things that I know will make me more attracted to work for a company that can hopefully combat some of my worries. First, I would love to have flexible work hours. Something about 10-6 instead of 9-5 (Editor/Dad Note: This made me LOL 10-6! Oh, boy, reality is really going to hurt!) sounds so much more appealing to me. Waking up at 8 sounds infinitely better than 7, and I can tell you that most other teenagers will say the same.
Additionally, the thought of 10 vacation days a year HURTS. I feel physical pain when I hear that some people have that. The European Union mandates a minimum of 22 vacation days a year with 13 paid holidays. Now, I know we’re in America, the land of opportunity, where you make your own fortune. But please just give me some dang vacation days! This plays into one of my biggest fears which is working my life away. I can confidently say that so many of my peers have the same worries and a way to ease this pain is some time off!
On one of my first interviews for an internship this past year, I got to tour one of the coolest offices I have ever seen. It was right out of my Gen-Z dreams: brick walls with modern finishes, an open floor plan, Apple products everywhere (#TeamiPhone). If I’m going to sit in an office for 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, I would like it to look nice, not like a doctor’s office.
Similarly, my Dad has instituted something at his work that I love: a casual dress code. I really enjoy dressing up, but wearing a suit or even dress pants and a nice shirt everyday sounds exhausting. Please let me come to work with my shirt untucked and in a nice pair of sneakers, and I promise I will be much more focused than I would be with a tie and dress shoes on all day long.
Most important to me is the culture. I want to work in a place where everyone collaborates and there’s a mutual respect. Ideally, I’d love to be friends with my co-workers, but at least I’d like us to be able to work together in an environment where we aren’t in constant competition. Being a member of the Sackett family means that you are inherently a monster competitor and it’s exhausting. As much as I love to be competitive from time to time, I don’t want to work in an environment where everyone is constantly pitted against each other, instead of working together to achieve a common goal.
An added little bonus to my list would be food related days/events. I hear that a common event in some companies is Bagel Fridays and I’m ALL about it. I strongly relate to Stanley on Pretzel Day at Dunder Mifflin and if you don’t get the reference, exit the page (once you finish reading of course!) and go watch season 3, episode 5 of The Office.
My job wish-list might not seem as wild as you may think. I’m not asking for a new iPhone or a new car when I commit (although that’d be nice!); I’m asking for things that are pretty common. Although I still can’t wait until my mid-60s when I’ll have no responsibilities, getting some items checked off my wish-list could help make my time in the workforce more pleasant.
HR and TA Pros – have a question you would like to ask directly to a GenZ? Ask us in the comments and I’ll have Cameron respond in an upcoming blog post right here on the project. Have some feedback for Cameron? Again, please share in the comments and/or connect with him on LinkedIn.