A simple work question has exposed the significant generational gap between Generation Z and Baby Boomers.
Gabrielle Judge, who describes herself as the anti-work girl boss, has dropped a TikTok of a Zoom conversation she was having about the four-day work week with a Baby Boomer CEO.
CEO of SparcStart, Maury Hanigan, was a guest speaker alongside Judge during a recent webinar for the recruitment company, People Science.
Hanigan outlined that she felt she could make the most of a four-day workweek and do work that she thought was productive, but she didn’t understand what she’d do on the fifth day.
“What do I do with that fifth day?” she asked.
The CEO explained that she was unsure what to do on her fifth day off and how much time she should still devote to working.
“The extra fifth day, you can do whatever you want. That is the exciting part,” Judge said.
Judge explained that the push for a four-day workweek has been born from a cultural shift of young people wanting their lives to not be work-centered.
While Millennials started the conversation around work/life balance, such as being able to take time off to go the dentist during the work day, Gen Zers are unapologetically seeking to focus on their personal lives more than their work lives.
Judge said that she believes Generation Z will push to “decentre” themselves from traditional markers of success like promotions and career milestones and instead focus more on themselves.
After the conversation, Judge said it was proof that the generations will never look at work the same way, saying the differences in mindset around work between Boomers and Gen Z were “astonishing”.
She told her followers she was “absolutely shocked” at Hanigan’s response to the four-day workweek debate
“I’m not really convinced we will ever see eye-to-eye,” she admitted.
Young people in the comments were shocked that the CEO didn’t grasp the concept of not working on the fifth day in a four-day workweek scenario.
“What would you do with the 5th day??! Live my life,” another shared.
“I’m tired of the weekend feeling like a 30-minute nap,” one raged.
“As a Millennial, please save us, Gen Z. We are tired,” someone wrote.
One person claimed it was “sad” that the idea of not having to work and just having free time was “foreign” to the CEO.
Judge has amassed millions of likes and thousands of followers on TikTok by sharing her beliefs about modern work.
In a separate TikTok, Judge broke down what she believes is a big myth about having a four-day working week.
She said that there’s been plenty of people claiming that a shorter work week could hinder people’s progression, but she claimed that was based on the assumption that the majority of Gen Z want to level up in their jobs.
“A lot of Gen Z don’t really care about a job change or some type of promotion or change,” she revealed.
Judge explained their disinterest stemmed from the habit of “fake” promotions where a young worker gets a new fancy title but no extra benefits or a salary increase.
“I was talking to a friend recently, and he is a software engineer, and he got promoted to lead engineer, but there was no salary rise attached to it,” she said.
Judge said that the company explained to her friend that they didn’t have the budget right now, but the new role would allow him to get experience and when salary rises were available again he’d be in an excellent position to get one.
The young work expert called this “quiet hiring”, claiming the business is getting a “discount” on labor by not compensating workers correctly.
Judge believes the system of promotions and having a clear career progression previously worked for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers but was failing Gen Zers.
“Promotions aren’t as prosperous as they used to be,” she said.
Therefore, Gen Zers are happier to focus on working fewer days rather than working more for barely any reward.
The concept of the four-day workweek has become more popular recently, with new research suggesting that just over a third of Australian companies expect their organization will transition to a four-day week within the next five years.
In a surprising result, more than seven out of 10 Australian employers would support a four-day work week due to concerns about attracting and keeping staff, with the move seen as a way to compete for top talent.
Another 37 percent of companies said they might transition to the shorter working week within the next five years, the research from recruiter Robert Half revealed.
Yet, just over a quarter of employers do not believe a four-day workweek is likely.