Gone are the days when work was defined by ruthless hours, cutthroat competition, and a single area of specialization. In the post-contemporary workplace, employees have learned to prioritize a culture of balance, collaboration, and continuous learning where mastering its full spectrum promises success.
Several factors have brought on this change. There’s the Gen Y-ers, more commonly known as millennials, who held the banner for work-life balance—away from the traditional “work is life” motto that has seemingly become the defining principle of the previous generation of boomers. Then, there are the digital natives who realized that the future of work is right at their fingertips: the Gen Zs.
With all of these generational labels flying around, it’s easy to confuse who comes from which. What exactly is the “cutoff” point? According to the prominent think tank, Pew Research Center, Gen Zs are those who were born from 1997 to 2012, succeeding their older generational brother, the millennials, who were born between 1981 and 1996. This means that the oldest of the Gen Z-ers are 23-year-olds, currently looking to enter the workforce or already trying to establish themselves in the workplace. Their presence has led to disruptive trends that, if you recognize and respond to quickly, can help you thrive in the workplace.
Strike That Balance
One of the things that Gen Zs share with millennials is their aversion to the “cubicle” life. They don’t want to spend every waking hour glued to their seats while staring at the screen. For them, not having that line between their personal and professional space is a dealbreaker. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they’re lazy. It’s quite the opposite actually.
Picture a vehicle. If you turn on its engine and leave it running for hours, it would most likely overheat and die. The same thing happens when you work nonstop. While it may be beneficial for your company on the surface, it’s anything but in the long run. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance mitigates the risk of you suffering from burnout which, in turn, fuels you to tackle your tasks head-on.
Capitalize on Your Skills
As mentioned earlier, Gen Zs are digitally native. They grew up with technology and considers the Internet as the go-to hub for solutions. Although most people have developed some degree of affection for gadgets, Gen Zs take theirs on a different level. While bemusing, it is this attachment to technology that makes them indispensable in the evolving workforce. It’s also what has allowed them to propel their own business ventures. Take the rise of social media influencers and Youtube vloggers, for instance, who generate profit by creating content captured through their smartphones and cameras. So, what does this tell you?
Their ability to utilize the tools they have in a way that gives them a competitive and profitable advantage is something that everyone should learn from. To keep up, do an inventory of the resources that you have and capitalize on it. It doesn’t have to be tangible. Think back to your strengths and your passions. Then, look for ways by which you can use these to grow your career. This brings us to the third lesson: be a lifelong learner.
It’s Never Too Late to Educate Yourself
Gen Zs are largely self-taught, made easier due to ubiquitous access to the Internet. In the earlier part of the decade, the cloud became another way to expand educational access in the form of online courses and online coding bootcamps. While these may be different from the traditional model of instruction that you grew up to, both are actually deemed as effective and, depending on the provider, accredited alternatives for upskilling and increasing your opportunities for professional growth.
Just as how previous generations redefined the face of the workforce, Gen Zs are in the middle of doing so, making them the driving force behind the future of work. You read that right. That intern whom you’ve rolled your eyes at discreetly—yes, the one who spends her break time on her phone to make TikTok videos—will reshape the nature of work in years to come. Including yours. So, if you want to keep up with the future of work, take cues from the Gen Zs.
GUEST POSTED BY ARTUR MEYSTER - FOUNDER OF CAREER KARMA