As Gen-Zers, we face countless struggles that are often undermined by older generations who assume we have it easier.
Boomers and Millennials tend to label us as “too sensitive” and “difficult to work with.”
It’s true that we have more access to sources of information and options, and our economic status is somewhat stable. However, older generations fail to see the issues these advancements have brought upon us.
One of our biggest struggles is the consistent feeling of not doing enough. The world around us has become so fast-paced that it’s difficult to keep up. Older generations were able to endure much of what we now refuse to, citing self-respect.
Despite all the effort, we put in – running around, trying things out, and sometimes failing miserably – we feel like we are not doing enough.
Why Are We Like This?
Growing up and entering adulthood can feel like being thrown into deep waters without knowing how to swim. We must figure things out along the way, but because it’s done for survival, we often fail to enjoy the journey. Despite the many success and failure stories shared with us, experiencing it ourselves is a whole other story.
For some reason, society, movies, and parents have implanted the idea that we need to have everything figured out in our 20s. We see incredible success stories regardless of how close they are to us and immediately start doubting ourselves. As a result, instead of setting goals, we impose deadlines on ourselves.
“By 25, I am going to have a car, a house, and a stable job.”
Spoiler alert: it’s a lie.
Your 20s and early 30s are the time to explore and learn more about yourself, to grow into the person you want to be. You are not required to settle if you don’t feel ready yet. It’s okay if you haven’t fully figured out what you want to do with your life.
Often, internal struggles influence us more than external pressures. This results in our constant state of beating ourselves up for failing to achieve what our mind set for us in a particular timeframe.
Comparisons and Social-Media-Life Attitude
We often struggle to acknowledge and appreciate our accomplishments because we constantly compare ourselves to others. In my opinion, a limited amount of jealousy can be healthy as it acts as a motivator, but too much of it can do more harm than good.
Moreover, unattainable social media lifestyle “goals” have made it a known fact that we are “living the wrong way.” We feel like we don’t work out enough, can’t afford to travel enough, and don’t look good all the time.
People often share their inspiring success stories, but rarely do they share their failures. We seldom see bloggers, public figures, or even those within our social circles posting about crying all night over failing an exam or getting rejected from yet another job. Rejection hurts. It is true, and perfectly normal to feel devastated after not getting what we worked hard for.
Catching up with an old friend we haven’t seen in a while, and finding out they have achieved more than us, can be painful. However, keep in mind that this scenario is similar to viewing their Instagram stories. Depending on how close you are, they will most likely share the highlights of the period you missed, and if you view your own journey the same way, you will see that you have come a long way too.
The Vague Definition of Success
Before labeling ourselves as ‘failures’ and ‘unsuccessful’, we need to question what success actually means. For many of us, success is limited to financial stability, high job positions, asset ownership, fame, building a family, and so on. These are the values we have been taught for a long time.
As a generation, we fail to recognize that success has no fixed meaning and can vary from person to person. You need to ask yourself what it means to you, and what it looks like, in terms of your needs and your life experience. Some days, just surviving can be considered a success. Taking breaks and prioritizing your mental health are equally important to put physical effort into something.
The Stigma of Mental Illness, Sensitivity, and Refusing To Put Up With What Older Generations Did
According to a recent survey, Gen Z is considered the hardest generation to work with by 75% of managers. However, this is not because we are incapable of holding a job. Rather, we refuse to work long hours without extra pay, answer calls or emails outside of working hours, or tolerate mistreatment from management.
We prioritize our time, effort, and mental health. Despite being labeled “sensitive” or “weak” by older generations, we simply have too much self-respect to tolerate common industry issues.
This is known as “quiet quitting” among Gen Z. It means doing only the work that fits within our pay rate, and no more. Considering the circumstances that millennials have had to put up with as part of their work ethic, “quiet quitting” is not technically wrong.
I remember dealing with a racist, sexist, and entitled manager at one point in my career and thinking, “Do I have to put up with this just so I can do what I enjoy for a living?”
The answer is no. While quitting a job without a plan may be socially stigmatized, it is not always the worst option. As long as you have a general idea of what you want to do instead, leaving a time-consuming and mentally-draining job can provide space to plan your next steps with a clearer mind.
It is a well-known fact that Gen Z tends to procrastinate a lot. There are many reasons for this, but mainly because we want to relax. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we end up feeling stressed about the things we’re not doing and wasting time we could have used more productively. At the end of the day, we feel guilty about it.
However, when it comes to procrastination, we shouldn’t feel too guilty. First of all, it’s a generational issue, and we’re not alone. Second, there are many reasons why we procrastinate, including anxiety, stress, imposter syndrome, perfectionism, burnout, and a lack of motivation.
It’s difficult when we want to accomplish so much but our body and mental state won’t allow us to. It’s like we’re our own worst enemy, and we end up beating ourselves up for failing. However, if we procrastinate and fail to finish a task, it’s probably because we’re afraid of not being good enough at it.
To overcome this, we need to keep an eye on our patterns, try different methods to overcome procrastination, and recognize when we need rest. If we’re uncertain about whether we’re up to the task, we should just do it. Getting something done, regardless of the outcome, is progress in itself.
In summary, what we work for will come to us, and we should be patient. There’s no such thing as being on the right track; we pave the way for ourselves. From one Gen-Zer to another, take it easy on yourself and keep going. You’re doing great.