Woman Explains Gen Z Isn’t Lazy, They Just Face New Challenges

By: Georgia | Published: Jan 22, 2024

A TikTok video by Chailyn (@chailynt) has gone viral, drawing attention to the financial struggles of Generation Z.

In the video, Chailyn counters the notion that Gen Z workers are lazy, arguing instead that they face significant challenges in earning a sufficient income to support themselves.

Study Shows Gen Z Struggling More Than Previous Generations

Research conducted by Gallup and the Walton Family Foundation in September 2023 reveals a concerning trend: Fewer than half of Gen Z Americans believe they are living their best lives.

Five young adults are sitting on concrete stadium seating indoors. In the foreground, a man with long curly hair, wearing a beanie and a grey sweatshirt, appears to be checking the time on his watch. In the background, two young women and two young men are seated on higher steps, all dressed in casual attire

Source: Ron Lach/Pexels

This finding is attributed to the generation’s anxiety about their financial future, a stark contrast to the experiences of their predecessors at the same age.


Chailyn Addresses Misconceptions About Gen Z's Work Ethic

In her TikTok video, Chailyn confronts the misconception that Gen Z is lazy. She argues that despite working a standard 40-hour week, many young professionals are unable to achieve financial independence.

A young woman with medium-length blonde hair and bangs is sitting in the driver's seat of a car. She is wearing a blue top with a black vest and appears to be engaged in a conversation or delivering a message

Source: chailynt/TikTok

This, she suggests, is due to wages that have not kept pace with the cost of living, making it difficult for young people to support themselves.

The Wage Gap: Chailyn's Personal Experience

Chailyn shares her personal experience to highlight the issue. Despite committing to a full-time job, she finds her income insufficient for independent living.

A person is counting a stack of US dollar bills at a wooden table where a calculator, a notebook, and several receipts are laid out. The receipts are both printed on white and orange paper, scattered around the table

Source: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

She explains, “I would not make enough to pay rent, water, electric, and eat, all by myself.”

Comparing Generational Financial Experiences

In her video, Chailyn draws a comparison between her generation’s experience and that of previous generations.

A woman with short brown hair and a white apron over a green outfit is smiling as she attentively uses a tablet inside a busy café

Source: Centre of Ageing Better/Unsplash

She notes, “Twenty years ago, when you were getting started, you could live on your own.”

Chailyn's Message to Older Generations

Addressing older generations, Chailyn emphasizes the disparity in work experience and economic conditions.

A mature man with a closely shaved head and beard is sitting in an office. He is dressed in a white shirt and a polka-dotted tie

Source: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

She says in her video, “You’ve been working for 20 years. You have 20 years of working experience behind your belt. You have 20 years of experience in a career that has allowed you to gain raises, to get more money to profit you in an economy that you created.”


Viral Response: Over 4.7 Million Views

The video has struck a chord with a wide audience, racking up over 4.7 million views.

A screen capture of a social media video shows a young woman with blonde hair speaking animatedly in the interior of a car. She is wearing a blue top with a black vest. The image includes overlaid social media engagement icons on the right side, indicating the video has received 1.3 million likes, 35.6 thousand comments, and has been shared 9,603 times

Source: chailynt/TikTok

It has sparked a substantial conversation among viewers, with more than 31,000 comments on TikTok.


Public Reaction on TikTok

The comments on Chailyn’s TikTok video reflect a shared sentiment among viewers. One user writes, “The older generation thinks working your life away is working hard.” Another comments, “I don’t just want to survive, I want to live.”

Overhead view of a dark wooden table where multiple people are working on their laptops. One individual is holding a smartphone, browsing through a social media app. There are glasses of water on the table

Source: S O C I A L . C U T/Unsplash

These responses reveal a common desire among Gen Z for a life that goes beyond mere economic survival, seeking fulfillment and stability.


Cross-Generational Solidarity: Millennials and Gen Z

The discussion extends beyond Gen Z, with Millennials also relating to the challenges expressed in the video.

A man is sitting at a cafe table, deeply focused on the screen of his laptop which is covered in various stickers. He's holding his head with one hand, suggesting stress

Source: Tim Gouw/Unsplash

Comments like, “I don’t want to work 9-5 either, it’s awful,” and, “There will be no such thing as retirement for us,” show a shared concern about the current work environment and financial stability across younger generations.


Diverse Opinions on X

On X, formerly known as Twitter, the video has generated a range of opinions. Some argue that Chailyn and her peers should adapt to the realities of the working world and strive harder.

A screenshot of a tweet dated January 8th, displaying his opinion on a woman making a TikTok video in her car. The tweet suggests that the perceived issue of work ethic is not related to his own experience of working since a young age. It shows a number of interactions with 224 replies, 141 retweets, and 4.7K likes

Source: Bryan McNally/X

In contrast, others express support for her views, highlighting the difficulties faced in the current economic climate.


A Closer Look at Gen Z's Economic Realities

The conversation around Chailyn’s video brings to light the economic realities faced by Gen Z.

In a dimly lit room, two women are focused on their laptops at a wooden dining table strewn with various items, including a ukulele, a globe, notebooks, and coffee mugs. One woman, leaning forward, seems engrossed in her work, while the other, sitting back, is facing the screen intently

Source: Andrew Neel/Unsplash

The struggle to make ends meet, as expressed in the video, is not just a personal issue but reflects broader economic issues.


Gen Z's Appeal for Change

Chailyn’s video represents a collective call for attention to the economic challenges faced by Gen Z.

A close-up portrait of three women standing side by side with a bright blue sky and cloud background. The woman on the left has red hair and yellow accents around her eyes, the woman in the middle has black hair and subtle pink makeup, and the woman on the right has curly hair with blue eyeshadow. All three are wearing white tops and looking directly into the camera

Source: Polina Tankilevitch/Pexels

As one X user states, “Boomers are the most privileged and spoiled generation to ever exist in history. Every subsequent generation could work 10x harder and wouldn’t achieve 10 percent of what they were gifted on silver platters. That they’re too dumb to comprehend this is the proof.”