Millennial Woman Shares What She Learned From Gen Z Coworker Over The Summer — 'They Don't Care, They're Just Living'

Sure, she made her feel old. But her vastly different approaches to things could teach us all a thing or two.

tiktoker talking about what she learned from Gen Z at work @bailshenry / TikTok

For the longest time, all you heard about was how Millennials were going to upend the world forever. But now that generation are all full-blown adults, with the oldest already hitting their 40s. Now it's Gen Z, the cohort born roughly between 1997 and 2012, that seems to be inspiring seismic shifts in every part of life. 

One woman on TikTok got a front-row seat to how these burgeoning adults are changing things, and it gives a bit of a glimpse into just how different our world might be by the time Gen Z has reached their 40s too.


A Millennial TikToker shared what she learned from Gen Z coworkers she met over the summer. 

It's fitting that TikToker Bailey Henry, known as @bailshenry on the app, got her Gen Z crash-course at work, because the workplace is where the generation has so far seemed to stir things up the most.



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Henry quipped that the first lesson she learned from her 19-year-old Gen Z coworker is, "I am not 19, that is lesson number one." But it went far deeper than just that.

Some of the lessons she learned from Gen Z focused on trends, like retail website DHGate, a low-cost Amazon-style site Henry had never even heard of (nor had this Xennial writer), that is so ultra-cheap that Henry joked it "seems illegal."

Then there was the lesson that "[influencer] Alix Earle and [model] Sofia Richie are very important" to Gen Z. Earle is one of TikTok's biggest stars, and Richie is the daughter of singer Lionel Richie and sister of Nicole Richie — for all you Millennial, Xennial and Gen X old-heads who have no idea what Henry is talking about! 

But it wasn't just trends that Henry learned from Gen Z — they have a different approaches to things like dating, sex and relationships, and they're doing everything their own way.

Another of the Gen Z trends Henry learned about seems frivolous at first. "There's a great divide," she said. "There are the Golden Goose Girlies and then there's the Air Force One girlies." She's talking, of course, about the popular sneaker brands — and for the record, Sofia Richie apparently favors the former while Alix Earle favors the latter.


But this goes deeper than just a fashion fad. "Those are shoes, obviously, because you don't wear heels anymore to the bar," Henry said, "so 2008 me would have really appreciated that you don't wear high heels going out."

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It may seem frivolous, but that really is a major shift from previous generations, and one from which you can extrapolate Gen Z's attitudes toward previous notions about what women are and are not supposed to do and look like when out on the town, which, of course, also plays into their views on dating and attracting mates.


Long story short, they want to be comfortable while doing it, heels be damned. That has almost never been the fashion for women until now — and one future generations will surely thank them for. 

And speaking of dating and relationships, Gen Z's approach to that has changed markedly compared to previous generations. Henry learned about something called "Eskimo sisters," which her Gen Z coworker told her "means like, two friends, two girlfriends hooked up with the same person, not at the same time."

For those of us of the older generations, that's a dynamic that usually ends up pitting two women against each other. But Gen Z has taken an entirely different approach, one that hues more closely to LGBTQ+ communities, who tend to be a bit looser with the divisions between friendship and sex and more open to remaining friends with exes. Given that a good 20% of Gen Z'ers identify as LGBTQ+, that's probably not coincidental.



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But there were some dark spots in what Henry learned from Gen Z as well that add up to some pretty bracing signs of the times.

In a follow-up video, Henry shared more of what she learned from Gen Z at her job this summer, and some of it paints an unsurprisingly bleak picture of the times we're living in. 

As you can probably guess, Henry found that when it comes to the ways economics have shaped Gen Z, the story is... well, pretty sad. "We're going to take a bit of a nosedive," Henry said. "They haven't seen great economic examples, especially in the United States... So they're just going for it. They're just living credit card debt."



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Like their Millennial predecessors, homeownership is particularly bleak, but in a way that goes far beyond the struggles us older generations have faced. In short, they don't even think it's possible. As Henry put it, "homeownership — who? They don't care... the economy is going to implode any minute, so they just really don't care."

She said this has produced a situation where "they're just living," because things feel like they're on the verge of collapse. Which is beautiful in its way. But is also heartbreaking.

This is reflected in many of their relationships with their families too, according to Henry's Gen Z coworker. "They're not super close to their parents," Henry said. "A good bit of them are just not really close to their families. And that makes me sad—as a mom, that makes me sad."


You have to wonder if the extreme political polarization that has torn apart countless families in recent years has something to do with that — Gen X, the generation of Gen Z's parents, does have quite a rightward bent nowadays, after all.

There's no way around it, Gen Z has a tough road ahead, far tougher than even us Millennials had — which many probably assumed was impossible until recent years. As Henry put it, "I wouldn't trade places with them for anything in the world. I truly wouldn't."

But one thing is for sure — they are doing things their own way, and they don't seem to feel any compulsion to honor the old ways of doing things. It may be tough now, but that kind of attitude is exactly what we need to eventually pull us up from how far we've fallen once the reins are finally handed over to this maverick generation.


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.