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

Gen Zers would rather turn down high-paying jobs that demand they work long hours than compromise their values and overall well-being.

young people laughing and sitting at table in front of phone cameras View Apart / Shutterstock

The 40-hour work week has become a less glamorized ideal over the last several years, especially among Gen Zers who have recently entered the workforce and are finding that there is nothing sustainable about spending all of their time working for an employer.

In a TikTok video, a content creator named Mik revealed the exact reason why so many young people are rejecting the idea of a 40-hour work week, and what they're doing instead.


She claimed that Gen Zers would rather start their own businesses than spend 40 hours a week at a company.

"Gen Z isn't lazy for not wanting to work 40 hours a week. Answer me this, why would I want to work 40 hours a week when I can make the same amount of money working for myself in ten hours?" Mik questioned at the start of her video.



In a Gallup study, it was found that while four in 10 workers put in a standard 40-hour work week, many others work longer than that, including nearly one in five (18%) who work a grueling 60 hours or more. The long hours spent working during the week means that most people are spending 12-hour days at their jobs from Monday through Friday, or they're eating up valuable weekend time with work.


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In Mik's video, she claimed that after expressing her distaste for the 40-hour work week, she received countless criticism accusing her of being "lazy" and "entitled." She acknowledged that this sentiment was often shared among boomers and millennials, who view Gen Z as a generation that has no interest in working when in reality, they just don't want to work a job that completely erodes their mental and physical well-being.

"My generation just isn't stupid. We're very money savvy, we're good at making money online, we're good at working for ourselves," Mik asserted. "So, why would we go and work for someone else for 40, 60, 80 hours a week to make the same amount that we could make for ourselves in 10 to 30 hours a week?"

woman explains why Gen Z are rejecting 40-hour work weekPhoto: Youngoldman from Getty Images Pro / Canva Pro


She argued that this mentality doesn't mean that Gen Z is stupid, actually far from it. They know their worth and refuse to settle into any job that doesn't meet their standards. "Why would I trade more of my time in for less money?" Mik questioned.

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More working-class adults are admitting that they would rather not have a 40-hour work week at all.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, between 2019 and 2022, the number of hours people spent working in the U.S. fell by the equivalent of 33 fewer hours a year per person. While the pandemic exacerbated the workforce and the ways that we show up for our jobs, one of the biggest things that was affected was the reconsideration of a 40-hour workweek.

"There’s a growing annoyance with work tasks that add no value to our lives," Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at London’s UCL School of Management, told CNBC. "People have a much lower tolerance for this, and are less afraid to say, 'We don’t want to waste our time.'"


As for Gen Zers, many of them are turning down high-paying jobs or even leaving their current employment due to wanting their employers' values to be aligned with their own, especially when it comes to the hours put into a job and the amount of time spent at a job each week. 

According to the Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and millennial survey, an estimated 40% of Gen Zers and 24% of millennials would like to leave their jobs within two years. About a third would quit without another job lined up.



Some of the reasons why many young people are unhappy in their jobs include pay, followed by feeling the workplace was detrimental to their mental health and burnout, and 46% of Gen Zers and 45% of millennials reported feeling burned out due to their work environment.


The desire for a more balanced and fulfilling professional life shouldn't have to be such a hassle for many people. While it may take Gen Z attempting to redefine the traditional work norms that have affected working-class adults for way too long, one thing is for certain — their ambitions and drive to go against the status quo don't make them lazy, but rather the only ones who are actively trying to fix this deluded system of working until you can't work anymore.

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