Issue #52
#52 - A Complex Cocktail: Different Generations -- With Different Values -- Mixing At Work
February 02, 2023

#52 - A Complex Cocktail:

Different Generations -- With Different Values -- Mixing At Work

What’s up, everybody?

52 weeks, 52 issues -- one year of TalentStories!

It continues to be a privilege to get look out over the changing world of work, to curate these Stories, and to connect the dots and learn with you this way. So to you, dear reader, we say: thank you for being a part of this.

Speaking of learning -- ever wonder what (or who) comes after Gen Z? Usman -- a Millennial -- and I -- a Gen X -- both did; turns out the powers-that-be have gone back to the top of the Greek alphabet and dubbed anyone born in 2010 onwards: “Gen Alpha”.

Something else we learned in researching this issue: not only do Gen Z comprise the largest segment of the U.S. population -- 27% of it -- they also represent the largest generation in U.S. history.

Today our 3 Stories are about Gen Z and their tremendous impact on the changing world of work:

  • How they think about status relative to belonging and connection -- and how this manifests at work
  • How they think about being vulnerable versus being "rehearsed" -- and how this manifests at work
  • What these beliefs -- combined w/ Gen Z’s demographic and cultural domination -- mean for a workplace comprised of multiple generations, each with its own set of “work values”.

Thanks again for reading and exploring with us -- and have a great week!

Aki + Usman

P.S. The podcast link to our discussion of newsletter #51 -- “Leadership Failure Everywhere All At Once -- is right here.


#GenZ #BeReal>BePerformative

The last time we wrote about layoffs in issue #43, we made the case that laid off employees now sharing the news on social media was by and large a healthy trend. It offers visibility, closure, and networking, and it also reduces the stigma of layoffs, and fosters greater empathy. This article makes similar points, but frames them through a broader lens: a younger generation that rejects concepts like “dream jobs” and “career ladders” -- as well as the fundamentally “performative” nature of work that underlies them.

Gen Z gravitates to more honest, raw, authentic content -- and the apps that provide them. And we see those values play out as young people share their salaries, talk about their mental health, and open up about getting sacked, on a platform like TikTok. Topics which, for generations past, were as taboo as it got.

It’s not just TikTok, though; the popular -- aptly named -- social media app “BeReal” gives users two minutes to take and share an unfiltered picture of whatever immediately surrounds them. Notifications to post come at random, once a day, so users are often taking (and sharing) these unrehearsed pictures at work.


#GenZ #Belonging>Status #Community>Self

We’ve featured investor-writer Rex Woodbury before, as an astute observer of Gen Z. And of course, we need to bear in mind the limits of any attempt to generalize across millions of people. But here Rex argues that Gen Z doesn’t place quite the same value on prestige that its parents and grandparents did. That online, especially, being able to connect and commune, and being a part of something bigger than itself, often trumps status.


#GenZ #YoungerWorkers #OlderLeaders #MyValues≠YourValues

Rishad is an author, and the Cheif Growth Officer of Publicis Groupe. He makes a point here that is as important as it is easy to overlook: for the first time in history, there are now 4-5 generations present in the workforce at the same time. Meantime, Boomers and Gen X leaders are leading Gen Z and Millenial employees, without awareness or appreciation of the vastly different values and expectations (see above) that the respective generations each bring to work. Making a "rumble in the work jungle" much less surprising, if not less hard to navigate.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week. 🙏🏻

Work moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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