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    Different Generations Are Coming Together To Defend Gen Z, After A Viral Note Shot Down Their Work Ethic

    "They’re so uneducated about the reality our lives."

    Last month, a manager at a Dollar Tree store in Indiana posted a sign on the door of the business, which read as follows: "I apologize for closing AGAIN. My 2 new cashiers quit because I said their boyfriends couldn't stand here for their entire shift!! Don't hire Gen Zs. They don't know what work actually means. NOW HIRING! Baby Boomers ONLY. Thanks!"

    We then compiled a list of stereotypical complaints that older generations tend to make about Gen Z's work ethic. In the comments, over 200 people from the BuzzFeed Community came to Gen Z's defense. Here's what 31 people had to say:

    1. "Deal with your shitty parenting and take some ownership rather than blaming the kids. But also — these kids don't give a fuck about their futures, because it seems futile. They feel like their planet is dying, political systems are failing, older people are destroying this world (and have been for decades), and they can't really do much to stop it. I get it. I'm a millennial, but I love our younger generations. As a collective, they possess far more empathy and kindness. I think those are noble virtues. These kids are going to remake our world to be a far better place. That's what I see. F these antiquated notions of the past. What good have they done for us?"


    a woman doing a hair flip with flames behind her

    2. "It seems to me that every older generation has complained about the youngest adult generation. Our experience (I’m Gen X, by the way) should make us more patient and give us hindsight to remember what we were like as young adults. Remember, we created them, literally and/or figuratively, and they are still learning to navigate life. Hopefully, so are we."


    3. "Gen Z are not all kids. I'm 24, have two degrees, and work in a professional job. I earned that shit from hard work and resilience."


    4. "My company is letting me (18) and my boss (21) make the company TikTok and start running the company Instagram soon, so that we'll actually see business again. Gen Z makes a difference."


    5. "My Australian friend is horrified by the minuscule amount of PTO we get here in the US. Apparently, in Australia, they get enough PTO — and are paid such good wages across the board — that a large percent of the population is traveling outside of the country at any given time. So it's not some unfathomable standard brewed up by Gen Z and millennials to have a decent wage with benefits and PTO to actually enjoy your life outside of work. That's actually common in many other countries and has been for ages, and the US is, as per usual, grossly behind."


    6. "I've had shit coworkers and bosses of all ages. Some people are just lazy, incompetent, etc. It's especially frustrating when they are the bosses who are supposedly the pinnacle of what you want to achieve. Lots of these bosses don't deserve the respect they command and are straight-up disrespectful themselves. I've also had amazing and productive people of all ages in my work life. It's not really a generational thing."


    7. "Gen Z'ers are still children, really. The oldest is only 24. Of course, they are very idealistic, as most people are in their teens and early twenties. Most have their parents to fall back on, and haven’t reached that stage in life where quitting a job because of work-life balance means jobless, aka homeless, AKA foodless. The job market is good right now, so they don’t have to face it. More empowered workers isn’t a bad thing, and they — like all the other generations — will figure out what they need to do to get the things they want."


    8. "I think a lot of Gen Z kids have a good understanding of how hopelessly lost the country is. I mean, look at the news. That’s going to be my life for the next 60 years. Yeah, I’m hopeless. I’m guessing there’s going to be a HUGE exodus of people leaving America. It’s no longer the place people want to go for a better life; it’s the place people are wanting to leave."


    9. "I once had an older friend of my mom's ask, 'Are you ready to start working?' once I graduated grad school — as if I hadn’t been working consistently since 15 and doing internships at the same time. They’re so uneducated about the reality our lives."


    a character pulling a face

    10. "Isn’t a lot of this just younger people with little to no experience, doing what we all did — making mistakes, acclimating to an unknown environment, feeling out their surroundings and new people, etc.? I get that the 'resigning mindset' is somewhat specific to Gen Z, but pretty much every generation had job hoppers when times were good. I’m just not convinced that these examples are that unique to this one group."


    11. "It's up to a good manager to train younger staff. Every old person has complained about young people in every generation. If you are a manager and it is someone's first 'grown-up' job, train them, teach them the right way, and lead by example. They are never going to learn if you just complain about them."


    a person with their head tilted in amusement

    12. "There are hard workers and POS workers in every single generation. Let’s not make this a stupid generational nicknames war — let’s acknowledge that shit workers occur in all gens. I am Gen X (born 1978) and I left a very good job last May because my immediate coworker — a Boomer — was the emotional barometer by which the entire department had to comply...The final straw was honestly when she belittled me in a meeting (she misspoke by the way and got her ass handed to her by the big boss), but then had the audacity to ask me how to find the downloads folder on her PC because she kept downloading the same PDF over and over again but couldn’t find it. Dude, I have four college degrees, and I didn’t earn any of them to be this miserable woman’s tech support..."

    "...So if we need to be eradicating the workforce of anybody, it’s the Boomers who don’t know how to locate their downloads, don’t know how to make a Word document into a PDF, don’t know how to lock the columns in Excel, and literally don’t know how to do any type of Zoom call, FaceTime, or virtual meeting (without creating a huge distraction in the beginning of it because they just can’t figure out how to mute or unmute their mics)."


    13. "Every single generation of younger AND older workers has had their issues. I’ve dealt with Boomers, millennials, and Z, and was a young, working X. We all did stupid shit while we were figuring out what having an actual job meant, and we all still do. My current Zs are smart, funny, compassionate, and effing wonderful, just as almost every prior staff member was, regardless of age. I’ve had useless Boomer staff, as well as useless X, M, and Z. But the great thing about our lovely Zs? They are idealists who actually care about working conditions, and they know what they are worth, and how they should be treated. I wish my nihilistic self had more of their spirit. Just quit shitting on younger generations. They are figuring things out as they go, just as every generation has done before."


    character reenacting their mind being blown

    14. "I’m Gen Z (born in 2000) and never had a single thing handed to me from my mid-teens to early 20s. I got my first job at 14, worked at that job until I was 16, got a new job, and bought my first phone and my first car by myself. I paid for my own groceries, and never asked my father for a single dime when I didn’t have to. I got promoted to manager at 18, graduated high school, moved out and got my own apartment, went to college full time, and paid out of pocket for it while also working full time. I deferred for a year during the start of the pandemic and worked consistently. I'm a full-time worker and full-time college student at the moment. I took my first vacation in seven years with the money I’ve earned on my own in April of this year..."

    "...A few bad seeds do not define an entire generation. This has been said about generations that have come before us, and will sure as hell be said about the generations that come after. Times are changing and thoughts and ideas are evolving. That is what life is and what the passing of time brings. As I’ve grown, I’ve seen little difference in myself and people who are 20+ years older than me, other than a few less experiences. Let people grow and learn on their own without judgment or unnecessary input."


    15. "There are some bad Gen Z employees, but some bosses may need to look into their own hearts. I’m a millennial and have supervised a few Gen Zs. Their office skills varied, but all had the ability to find out how to finish the job. Millennials of goodwill, let the generational bullshit stop with us."


    a person looking up in thought

    16. "As a Gen X high school teacher currently teaching Gen Zs, here's what I see: They are very socially conscious and believe in justice for all. They hate racism and want to prevent further climate/pollution issues. They're very good with phones...But not so much with computers. And, especially since the pandemic, they give up if at first they don't succeed. It never even occurs to many of my students to Google a solution, despite the fact that they are literally always on the phone. At the risk of sounding 100 years old, how do you not use Google or any other search tech as your immediate go-to for easy answers? It's amazing to me (who grew up having to drive to a public library and find things in a card catalog) that they have all this information at the tips of their fingers, but they don't search out any of it. They are genuinely good people, for the most part, but they lack some independent adult skills."


    17. "The younger generation has shown us (Gen X, here) that we've been putting up with way too much crap, for way too little, for way too long. We bought into the BS definition of 'work ethic' from our Boomer parents, which included being proud to sacrifice ourselves to the corporate greed. I guess some folks continue to be so proud of being taken advantage of in the workplace, that they think everyone should do so. Nothing is wrong with Gen Z."


    a person rolling their eyes

    18. "I find it funny that the generation who raised them are the generation who are mad. Be mad at yourself. My Gen Z kids are kicking ass and taking names because we're raising them to work hard. Maybe if the Boomers had raised their own kids better, they wouldn't be so mad about what's happening now..."


    19. "As a mid-millennial, the same shit was said about us. I think every older generation is convinced they had it harder, or worked harder and were better than the next youngest group. My mom is 63 and remembers this crap being said to her when she was young too. People are just mean."


    Billie Eilish with her tongue out

    20. "I seem to remember Boomers saying similar things about Gen X when we were in our 20s, and millennials when they were in their 20s. The older generations always freak out about younger ones. Also, it's hilarious that some of these managers think the only people they can hire are Gen Z OR Boomers. There are two whole generations in between!"


    21. "It all comes down to work ethic. Some people love tasks or finding things to do to keep busy. Some don’t care and would rather be on their phones and wait for someone to tell them what to do. Young or old, it's all about individual work ethic."


    Greta Thunberg talking into a mic

    22. "Old people have complained for thousands of years that young people are lazy, unmotivated, and disrespectful. The 20-year-olds today will one day be the 67-year-olds complaining about 'kids these days.' It's utterly stupid, repetitive, untrue, and pointless. I am 42 and am determined to not be one of these old people. Let's break this cycle, people."


    23. "I'm a teacher because I love the lack of cynicism in young people, their guileless nature, and 'anything is possible' attitude. As a Gen X'er, my teaching philosophy is to pass on our 'fuck them' attitude whenever the older generations give them shit."


    a young girl flipping someone off

    24. "I think it all depends on the person. The last Gen X employee I had called in sick for next to nothing, but was great when he was at work. The 60-year-old I just hired has the work ethic that I was looking for. He’ll do anything…But he is a moron. I have to constantly supervise him. I don’t think it’s a generational thing. Some people are just naturally good employees. Others are pieces of sh*t. That’s just how it is."


    25. "How can you shit on the younger generations without shitting on yourself for the job you did raising them? You can’t. Just cut Gen Z some slack. They need to be mentored and taught, and have to learn important lessons, just like the rest of us did when we were newly starting out. Don’t expect a 19-year-old to have the same aptitude, skills, and view of professionalism as a 45-year-old."


    a teenager leaning on someone's shoulder

    26. "These generation wars are ridiculous and I don’t think people quite understand the age differences. How are you going to say you’re gonna only hire Boomers? They’re all in their 60s and 70s in Florida living it up — good luck getting a Boomer to work at Dollar Tree."


    27. "You know how you ensure the next generation is kind, responsible, and ready? You help them and guide them, not shit on them. I'm an 'elder millennial,' and I love Gen Z! I love taking' em under my wing and mentoring them."


    a character giving a sly smirk

    28. "In every single generation, the older one has complained about the younger one. I believe there’s even a reference to it in The Iliad. I hope I don’t feel that way when I’m in my old age."


    29. "I was born in '98, which I believe makes me a Gen Z'er, but I never knew what Gen Z was until the last five years or so. We were always told we were millennials. Anywho, whether I’m one or the other is irrelevant. The fact is I’ve held three jobs at once, where one was part-time and the other was full-time. During my time doing that I literally worked at least 85 hours a week, but because I got paid minimum wage at all of them and was still broke. I did this for maybe six months before it got to the point where I was not sleeping for days at a time, falling asleep behind the wheel. The fact is that I, a Gen Z'er or millennial, worked myself quite literally to exhaustion at the age of 18. Truly I’d been providing for myself since I was 15, and on my own since I was 16..."

    "...I think this shows that while there are some Gen Z’ers that don’t care about work ethic, some of us do. However, my working three jobs wasn’t something to be proud of, it was something this country should be ashamed of. It should not be necessary to work that many hours a week. If jobs paid better, I wouldn’t have had to do that, but that’s not being considered by the people in power. No, the people in power will say I’m entitled."


    a teenager screaming

    30. "I'm Gen Z and obviously my friends are too — we have all had steady jobs, and while we maybe complain about work to each other, we've never gone to work and just done a crappy job. These sound like entitled people — nothing to do with specific generations. As for me, my employer and managers are really nice and accommodating, but I would not put up with being treated poorly or overworked — sorry that Gen Z doesn't accept being treated like shit."


    31. And finally, "How about we cut these kids a fucking break? They have grown up knowing about the impending doom of the planet via climate change, school shootings are just a normal part of life for them — mass shootings in general. They are living in a corrupt nation where we worship money, with a corrupt government, and many of them have parents who are glued to propaganda TV networks/Facebook all day. Not to mentioned that public education is horrendous (if only we paid public school teachers like politicians and politicians like public school teachers — this is not a dig on teachers, I am one). They have to deal with the horrors of social media just to have a social life with their peer groups, while these tech corporations make tons of money off their data. We haven’t given these kids much to look forward to. Let’s lay off them and offer guidance and support to those open to it. Judging them won’t help anyone."


    someone clapping in a crowd

    What do you think about Gen Z? Let us know in the comments for a chance to be featured in a BuzzFeed Community post.

    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.