Featured Article: “Young People Are Going to Save Us All From Office Life”
Can Gen Z-ers and millennials save the world? Or at least the world of work? That’s the provocative question at the heart of today’s article.
In this lesson, students will consider existing stereotypes about Gen Z-ers and millennials and discover how some of those perceived “negative” qualities are radically changing the nature of work — perhaps for the good. Then they will design their own ideal workplace.
Are Gen Z-ers and millennials lazy? Entitled?
What stereotypes about Gen Z-ers and millennials do the adults you know seem to hold? How does the media portray younger people — and what, in your opinion, do they get wrong?
Now, consider: How could some of the qualities you included in your answers above lead to challenges or opportunities as Gen Z-ers and millennials enter the workplace?
Questions for Writing and Discussion
Read the article, then answer the following questions:
1. How does the story of Ariel Coleman, 28, illustrate some of the ways that young people’s expectations and hopes for their work differ from those of older generations? What are younger workers looking for today?
2. How did previous generations view work, according to the article? What challenges did they encounter in trying to fulfill their goals?
3. How are some companies responding to the wants and needs of younger generations? What types of changes have they implemented? Why might these workplace changes be more difficult to implement on a large scale?
4. What life experiences have shaped Gen Z-ers’ and millennials’ thinking about work? How has technology affected these changing expectations?
5. How does the article change your views about Gen Z-ers and millennials? Did it confirm or refute the stereotypes you wrote about in the warm-up? Does it make you optimistic about your own future career or work? What do you feel are some possible downsides of the new workplace?
Describe the ideal workplace for you.
Reflect on any work experiences you have had: What did you like most about your various jobs? What did you like the least?
Consider what you know about the work experiences of your parents and family: What are their workplace priorities and values? What aspects of work do they find beneficial and what, do you think, do they wish they could change?
Next, consider you own values: What qualities are most important to you when imagining work: Salary? Schedule flexibility? A sense of fulfillment? Prestige? Having an opportunity to grow? How do you hope to address your work-life balance? Would you rather work from home or in an office? Would you rather work from 9 to 5 or be able to adjust your schedule to fit the needs of your daily life, as many younger workers like Ms. Coleman prefer?
Tell us about your dream workplace.