What does that mean for business? Jazaieri posits. “While the future of work is still to work hard while you’re at the office, you likely won’t see those vacation days stacking up or going unused. You likely will see Slack messages going unread over the weekends.”
So it’s not that the latest iteration of worker has become lazier or less inclined to work. It’s that they’re no longer willing to work jobs that don’t work for them. Or, they’re not keen to bend over backward for jobs that don’t return the favor. Goodbye hustle culture; ta-ta lean-in girl bosses; ciao rise-and-grinders. Perhaps our society’s one-sided love affair with workaholism has run its course.
Take, for example, “quiet quitting.” Albeit a misnomer, the term was popularized during the pandemic referring to employees doing exactly what’s required of them according to their job description—no more, no less. (See also: work-to-rule and acting your wage.) No more giving 110%. No more staying late and coming in weekends. While some may bemoan quiet quitting as the downfall of productivity, others are applauding the end of something that’s caused so much burnout.
Young workers are also following the trend that Millennials started of switching jobs fairly frequently, Jazaieri says. “They’re looking for a sense of community with others in the organization.” That means they want to feel a sense of membership or belonging, as well as what Jazaieri calls positive regard: The idea “that they can be themselves at work so people can really know them and for people to accept who they are,” she says. Employees also want to have a sense of influence and responsibility, even if they’re just starting out.
Alain Gamas ’22 says he knew going into college that he wanted to do something he was proud of and passionate about. He’d always liked numbers, so he double-majored in finance and economics. “I love that macro image of the world, and looking at things in the big picture, and the theory of why things happen, and why the world moves,” he says. After graduation, Gamas landed a dream gig in Apple’s finance development program, which rotates fellows to new teams within the company’s finance department over the course of two years.
Gamas acknowledges that he’s in the minority of people his age landing their dream jobs just after graduation. But he’s not too worried about friends and peers who haven’t, yet. “We used to think of work as: You go into a corporate world—and people used to be pretty loyal—you made a career out of one company, and you stayed there for 30, 40, 50 years until you can finally retire. And now that’s not the case,” he says. “Today, it’s like, if your manager isn’t treating you right, it’s as easy as saying, ‘Bye! I’m just going to go find another job.’”
To be fair, statistically, the average worker in the U.S. typically stays at a job only for about five years. It’s been that way since 1983, according to a 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But it’s worth noting that young people like Gamas consistently recite this myth that older workers are more loyal to their employers; it says something about the way the latest generation of workers conceive of the 50-some years they’ll spend on the job, or jobs.
And while Gamas has peers who have rejected job offers because they didn’t fit within their dreams (an unfathomable concept to this Millennial writer who graduated during the Great Recession), he knows plenty more who took a job to pay rent. “I know three people that graduated in January  who’ve already been through two jobs… their mentality going in was, ‘I’ll just be here as long as I need to be,’” he says with a shrug.
It sometimes feels to Gamas like his generation is getting judged because the older generations “think we switch too much or want too much or demand too much. But really, we just have more options than ever before, we’re more connected in this age of information,” he says. “Maybe that’s unfair compared to how older generations had to get their start but I think we can all benefit from feeling empowered to demand what we think we deserve.”