Why Gen Z Refuses To Give In To The 9-5 Trap

The 9-5 work week is a daunting thought for those entering the workforce. It upholds all the ideas we are currently trying to get away from as we continue to become connected throughout the world.

By Emma Boyer3 min read
shutterstock 1679748058 (1)

With the ability to occupy so many different roles, it makes sense that our hours of operation will look different than what has been the norm for so long. The rush to get to the office just to sit at a desk all day doesn’t appeal to us anymore, so we’re ready to change that rule.

When I used to think about life as a young child, I, of course, imagined my future: who I would be married to, what kind of children I would have, what kind of city I wanted to live in, and what my future job would be. Like any other child, I would imagine a job in an office. Set hours and a set schedule. Never having any kind of life except for evenings after work when I would grab dinner with a co-worker. I have always been a very future-minded thinker, even from a young age, so the thought of this being my life kind of scared me. Living to work every day has never sounded worse, and as I have gotten older, I have made it a point to work hard for the ideal life I want outside the 9-5 schedule.

What We Truly Want Out of Our Work

One thing has changed since I was a young girl: I refuse to give into this trap that the generation before us laid out. A 9-5 job isn’t for everyone, and for Gen Zers, it’s the furthest thing from what we want. As the world continues to change and evolve, I believe one thing that Gen Zers have brought forth is the wave of entrepreneurship in a way that is unlike any other. We see the world as what it is, full of potential, so why would we waste our lives doing just one thing? 

Many of us are burnt out from the office. In a typical office setting, workers are usually required to sit at their desk and work about 8+ hours a day. This is unfeasible for most people, as our attention span doesn’t last that long. The 40-hour work week was first implemented by Henry Ford when he saw that his employees could get more done if they weren’t forced to work all day until they slept. A happier employee was a more productive one. So while Ford was thinking in the right direction, this model shouldn’t be the go-to for every business, as it has since become. Natalie Nagele, an advocate for a shorter work week once told the Society for Human Resource Management, “Forty hours isn’t some kind of natural law. Give employees space to do their work. Don’t micromanage them. Don’t harass them. They’ll get more done in four hours than eight.”

A happier employee is a more productive one.

By allowing employees some kind of flexibility in their schedule, workers are able to perform better during the hours they feel most productive. Feeling like they’re in control greatly helps workers to feel more passionate about their jobs. They take it more seriously and assume the responsibility of their role to the full degree. 

My Work Non-Negotiables

As I have come to realize this about working, there are a few things I will not compromise on as I begin to be pickier about the types of jobs I take: 

  1. I’m not willing to give up my time to busy work just to fill hours in a day. This is pointless and wastes my potential as an employee. 

  2. I will not put my mental health on the line working aimlessly with no purpose.

  3. I am a valuable employee. If my value is not being taken seriously, I will get up and leave. 

  4. My time is my time. It’s time to be spent with my family and the people I care about. If an employer can’t respect these boundaries, then they’re not for me.

It may sound like I am being particular about my jobs, and you’re right, I am. However, after years in the workforce, I have come to understand my non-negotiables and what I need to be the best employee or worker.

Is Gen Z Really Lazy or Entitled?

This type of thinking may result in people labeling me and others my age as lazy or entitled, but I actually don’t see it that way at all. For this argument, I offer some statistics. 62% of Millennials want to begin their own business. 72% of Millennials believe that the start-up of more self-made businesses is a necessity for innovation and for entrepreneurs to thrive in this world. For Gen Z, keeping in mind that they’re a bit younger than the Millennials, there is still a staggering 54% that have declared they are ready to take the step as an entrepreneur and begin their own business. 

By allowing us to control our own work hours, you will see significantly more creativity at work. 

So, if you look at these numbers, it clearly shows that these younger generations are just as hungry for success as the older ones. We just choose to go about this type of work in a bit of a different way. By allowing us to take control of our own schedule and work hours, you will see significantly more creativity within work spaces. This will allow people to grow their own interests and side hustles to create even more freedom for themselves and the people around them.

If you really want to work an 8-hour day, there are ways to do it that are more feasible than what we have going on. In a recent article by Dr. Travis Bradberry, he mentions that in order to get the most out of your day while maintaining focus there is a specific pattern of work you should follow. After working for 52 minutes on your tasks, you then want to separate yourself entirely from work for about 17 minutes. This has been shown to increase productivity in those who get the break they need every hour or so. Those who follow this can be seen with fewer breaks of getting on their phone or scrolling through their messages. So, while this setup may not be ideal for some, those who crave it can certainly make it work to their advantage.

Closing Thoughts

As a Gen Zer, I will more than likely not be returning to the 9-5 race. In my mind, it’s a trap, and it keeps workers from realizing their full potential. In this world where things change so quickly, I believe that the 9-5 work day is not as useful as it once was and doesn’t allow us to experience life in the way it is meant to be. I will continue pursuing my own interests and ways I can contribute to the world through the work that I am passionate about. Hopefully, others who are also unhappy with the 9-5 lifestyle will come to realize what they’re missing and follow me on their own path.

Don’t miss anything! Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get curated content weekly!