Young Walmart Worker Calls Out Older Generations for Calling the Young Lazy, Claims They Created the Inflation Crisis in the First Place

By: Lauren | Published: Jan 26, 2024

There has been an ongoing debate on the internet regarding Generation Z, who were born between 1997 and 2012. Some say they are lazy and don’t want to work, while others argue the current economy makes it nearly impossible for them to live comfortable lives.

One woman went viral on TikTok after sharing a video in which she said not only that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers need to stop calling Gen Z lazy but also that this mess is completely their fault.

The Viral Video

Chailyn posted a clip on TikTok in which she speaks directly to the camera and tells her followers that she works 40 hours a week but doesn’t make enough to live on her own.

Screenshot of @chailynt’s TikTok video about Gen Z

Source: @chailynt/TikTok

She continues by calling out the older generations, saying, “20 years ago, you could live on your own,” and more importantly, Chailyn explains that “[they] let the economy turn into what it did … and now it’s Gen Z’s fault because we don’t want to work to fix your mistakes.”

Calling Out the Older Generation

Chailyn also created a caption for her video that specifically calls the older generations to take action.

Screenshot of the caption of @chailynt’s TikTok video

Source: @chailynt/TikTok

She wrote, “Take your position and experience to make a change for a better life for your children. You’ve had 20 years to experience life and, in that time, have also completely obliterated any chance for us to even start to have one.”

Breaking Down Chailyn’s Speech

Chailyn is a full-time employee at Walmart, and she says that even working 40 hours a week, she cannot afford to really live because of the country’s current economic situation.

Baby Boomer couple smiling in their kitchen

Source: Freepik

She believes that the older generations, such as Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, need to stop calling Gen Z lazy and start realizing that because of decisions they made along the way, the next generation simply will never have what they had.

Why Can’t a Full-Time Worker Make Ends Meet?

The first point to address is why someone working 40 hours every week cannot afford to live on their own. As a Walmart employee, Chailyn may be making as little as $7.25 per hour, depending on where she lives.

Supporters protest in Herald Square to raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 dollars an hour

Source: James Leynse/Corbis/Getty Images

That’s only $290 per week of $1,160 a month before taxes, and since the current average monthly rent is $1,372, after taxes, minimum wage workers like Chailyn wouldn’t even have enough money for rent, let alone utilities, food, gas, or health care.

Comparing the Numbers

Comparatively, the minimum wage in the U.S. was $5.15 in 2000, but the average monthly rent was only $602. That means an entry-level employee was making $824 a month and could have at least a couple hundred dollars after rent to pay for necessities.

A tract of new tightly packed homes are viewed along the Boulder City Parkway in Nevada

Source: George Rose/Getty Images

Essentially, it’s always been challenging for a minimum wage employee to save, but at least they were once able to comfortably pay their rent.


Let’s Talk About the Cost of Living

When it comes to the cost of living, the numbers are even more staggering. In 2024, the average cost of living in the U.S. is between $2,500 and $3,500 per month. That includes rent or mortgage payments, groceries, utilities, health care, and transportation.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy and inflation

Source: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Which, even on the low end, is twice what Chailyn makes in a month. So, one can see why Gen Z is frustrated that they are being called lazy when it’s essentially impossible to make enough to live comfortably in today’s economic climate.


Some Gen Zers Certainly Make More than Minimum Wage

It’s important to note that these calculations are based on a minimum wage salary, and many Gen Zers, such as those who work in the corporate world, make quite a bit more.

Parents and children at home in the 90s watching TV

Source: Getty Images

However, the current average for Americans aged 20 to 24 is only $38,324 per year, and for those aged 45 to 54, it’s almost double at $63,336. And Chailyn is asking those Gen Xers who are struggling to get by with the current cost of living and rental prices to think about what it’s like for her generation.


Don’t Forget About Student Debt

Not to mention the fact that the vast majority of Gen Zers have an incredible amount of student debt to pay off.

People rally in support of the Biden administration's student debt relief plan in front of the U.S. Supreme Court

Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On average, a Gen Z college graduate has $20,900 of student debt, and most of these young adults haven’t even finished their secondary degrees, so experts assume this number will grow significantly in the next few years.


Gen Zers Want Some Kind of Work-Life Balance

In her video, Chailyn also noted that she doesn’t want to “work her tail-end off” forever, simply to make ends meet.

Young Gen Z worker frustrated behind her laptop

Source: Freepik

And many within her generation agree that they aren’t willing to work 40 to 60 hours a week and be miserable. They believe that people should be striving for work-life balance, but in the current economy, it’s simply impossible.


The World Responds to Chailyn’s Now-Viral Video

Since posting, Chailyn’s TikTok video has been viewed 1.3 million times, and the world is certainly responding with mixed opinions.

Screenshot of the comments section from @chailynt’s TikTok video

Source: @chailynt/TikTok

Some say that she’s pinpointed the problem, but others argue that Gen Z simply spends too much and doesn’t have the work ethic their predecessors had. One TikTok user wrote, “I’m Gen Z, and I can’t lie, there are a lot of lazy people my age compared to past generations.”


The Great Generational Debate

Things are certainly different from they were at the turn of the 21st century, and there’s no doubt that the cost of living has increased significantly in the past 20 or 30 years.

Smiling boomers

Source: Canva

But culture has changed as well; Gen Z wants more and spends more than their parents did, and they’re desperate for a work-life balance that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers didn’t even dream about. So, it seems the great generational debate will likely never be solved.