The term “generation gap” may evoke images of boomers and bell bottoms, but today, there’s a generation gap pitting Generation Z against older supervisors in the workplace. Younger workers often believe they are exploited and underpaid while many older bosses believe they are just lazy.
One of the buzziest topics on TikTok is #actyourwage, home to videos that have collectively amassed more than 200 million views. Most feature young adults, typically Gen Zers, complaining about being asked to do more than what their job duties require — and what their paychecks reflect. Act your wage means doing only what you are paid to do and nothing more.
For example, videos from Sarai Marie (@saraisthreads) — a leading influencer in the act your wage universe — deride bosses who ask employees to take on more tasks. Her advice: “Don’t overextend yourself for a job that doesn’t care about you or pay you enough.”
On the other side of the gap are older millennials, Generation X, boomers and even some from the pre-boomer generation. Case-in-point: Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. In an interview last month in the Financial Times, the billionaire said his company wouldn’t be as successful if it started up today. “Nobody works. Nobody gives a damn,” said Marcus, 93, who retired from Home Depot in 2002. His take on how today’s workers think: “I don’t want to work — I’m too lazy, I’m too fat, I’m too stupid.”