Job Experts Blame ‘Resenteeism’ For Why Gen Z Does The Bare Minimum At Work — But Gen X Workers Might Be Even Worse

More and more people are finding it difficult to stay engaged at work due to a lack of motivation and burnout.

young coworkers discussing project together in modern office using laptop computer. Ground Picture | Shutterstock

It's no secret that Gen Z has gained a reputation for being the most challenging generation to work with. Many companies and hiring managers have admitted to having a bias toward Gen Zers, preferring to hire older candidates because of their lack of workplace skills. This, in turn, has caused a level of resentment and lack of enthusiasm for how Gen Zers approach their roles at work.

Job experts blame 'resenteeism' for why Gen Z does the bare minimum at work.

In a TikTok video, Brett Trainor, a career content creator, questioned if anyone had heard of the term "resenteeism." He explained that he recently learned the term after stumbling across a CNBC article about Gen Zers evolving their quiet quitting into resenteeism. 


RELATED: Expert Says Companies Need To Adopt Gen Z's Attitude Toward Work, Not The Other Way Around


In 2021 and 2022, employers admitted that quiet quitting had become a significant trend in which employees subtly disengaged from work and did the least they could get away with without drawing attention, often due to dissatisfaction with work conditions or company culture. However, a new trend has emerged — resenteeism.

According to CNBC, resenteeism is a combination of "resentment" and "absenteeism," where employees continue working in roles they find dissatisfying because they either can’t find a better-suited job or think they won’t be able to. An evolved version of quiet quitting, not only are employees disengaged, but they carry a massive amount of resentment as well. 

In CNBC's Workforce Survey, 47% of Gen Z respondents say they are coasting by at work, with only 40% saying they are thriving. This is the opposite of all older generations, in which a higher proportion claim they are thriving in their roles.

In addition to not feeling engaged in work, Gen Z also finds their responsibilities uninspiring. Gen Z workers report having the least meaningful work (14%) and least autonomy at work (21%) compared to other generations. In an interview with FOX Business, Jennifer Libby, a district manager with Insperity in Kansas City, Missouri, explained that over time, many employees, especially young adults, develop resentment for their employer because they feel trapped in a job they don't want.


"If employees want to try to escape these factors by searching for a new job but cannot find one, they may experience resenteeism," she said, adding that toxic corporate culture, an excessive workload, and feelings of burnout can all contribute to resenteeism. "Their resentment can build up over time if they cannot find another position while their work environment fails to improve."

RELATED: Woman 'Battled' With Baby Boomer CEO About 4-Day Workweeks — 'Gen-Z Wants A Life That's Not Work Centered'

The issue is much bigger among Gen X workers.

In Trainor's video, he pointed out that Gen Zers aren't the only ones who are struggling with resentment for their employer and job positions. He explained that Gen Z always have other options and opportunities to take up side hustles to supplement their income at jobs they don't enjoy. 


However, Gen Xers rarely have anywhere else to go, which is why they tend to stay at the same jobs for most of their careers. "This is exactly what I was feeling four years ago when I ended up just leaving and going solo again without a plan," Trainor admitted. 

"I think people are still underestimating the issue that this is gonna cause because Gen X keeps dropping out. It's going to cause a leadership void," he continued. Trainor even acknowledged that companies and employers brought on this resentment themselves with the major layoffs and return to office mandates.

Gen X worker annoyed at work experiencing resenteeism fizkes / Shutterstock


It's almost as if companies have no understanding of how many of these rules and changes to company culture end up hurting them in the process. Trainor isn't the only Gen Xer who has been feeling this way, and in an interview with FOX Business, Dominic, 46, a senior manager at a furniture company in Georgia, said his day-to-day routine has become one of regret and resentment due to a lack of engagement at work.

"I have learned to accept the fact I have to make the best of a somewhat bad situation, as many Americans [are doing] now," he told the news outlet. "Prices are rising, companies are stretched, and our choices are not ours to make anymore."

There is a serious disconnect between employees and company leadership that is contributing to these high levels of resentment, disengagement, and burnout. Ultimately, the well-being and happiness of employees matter greatly to the success and sustainability of any company, and it's time managers and other company leaders realize that. Making their employees' lives harder at work will only end up backfiring on them in the long run.


RELATED: Woman Explains Why Gen Z Are Rejecting The 40-Hour Work Week

Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.