Highlights from Chapter 2 in our forthcoming book.
The three Gen Zers highlighted below all have wound up in jobs they may not have envisioned for themselves–but that pay decent money, in the case of Tessa tending a small grocery store and Theo doing webcam porn. Nonbinary Theo talks about feeling empowered in their choice to earn a living with their sexuality–except for the strong disapproval Theo gets from their family . . . for Siddhant, it’s the opposite: His parents are thrilled with his hospital internship, but he’d rather work as a linguist or soccer coach.
Job: Hospital Intern
Location: Los Angeles, California
The way I see it, my career will be way different from my parents and grandparents. So far, everyone has been service based—e.g., in the jewelry business or serving in the army, but I hope to go into healthcare. My number one career priority is making money.
I am not currently working anywhere but I am interning at a hospital as I’m trying to become a doctor. Due to the pressure of my parents, I am pursuing the track of a med student; but what I wanted to do was learn different languages and teach soccer.
Regardless, I am majoring in biology, minoring in Japanese, and studying Spanish. I am satisfied with my life.
Job: Grocery Store Clerk
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
No matter what I do, I’ve learned I’m happier when I get to work outside all day. I’m not saying my parents don’t get to spend much time outside, but both of their jobs require being inside for most of the day.
I’m currently working at Wilson’s Grocery & Meat in Lexington, Kentucky. Everyone who works there knows how to do everything required to keep the store running day-to-day. Recently my focus has been on inventory. I make orders to suppliers and go to other stores when it’s cheaper (Costco, Aldi, etc.). I do this in addition to the tasks everyone does, like making sandwiches, selling meats, manning the register, cleaning, etc. I make $10.50/hour.
I love my job because most of the people I work with are very genuine and easy to work with. Plus, the owners are the people that my mom nannies for and they live right across the street, so I get to see them and their kids a lot. Most of the time it’s fun, but like every job, it has its downsides. Sometimes you get rude customers that degrade you and your coworkers every time they walk in.
Overall, I’m happy enough that I’m not actively looking for a new job.
Job: Pornographic Webcam Model
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I’ve worked many low-wage jobs since the age of sixteen. This has taken a huge toll on my mental and physical health. This is the only job for which I meet the requirements where I can make a living wage and be treated with respect at work—but it’s cost me the respect of my family in return.
It’s worth it not to wonder where my next meal is coming from, unlike most of my college graduate peers. I’ve watched all of my friends struggle to get a degree and go into debt; yet most of them have never used their degree, and still work low-wage jobs with no benefits.
I’m trying to do better for myself and adjust to the system . . . But in doing that society looks down on me for not being willing to starve, struggle, and in the end still fail.
Cover photograph used with permission from and gratitude for dainis-graveris-JwpNVzqCphQ for Unsplash. Interior images also from Unsplash: medical student is by ashkan-forouzani-l-NIPb-9Njg; grocery clerk is by anggun-tan-Eqb-i7yVjxg-unsplash; and webcam model is by marcus-santos-DdJabuSnGMo.
This post comes to you as a portion of the book:
MY JOB Gen Z: Finding Your Place in a Fast-Changing World
(c) 2021 by Suzanne Skees and Sanam Yusuf
An open-source, narrative nonfiction book full of true stories of jobs along with best practices for how to make your dream-job come true.
Note from the authors:
Join us each Tuesday and Friday as we release highlights from our new book, that will be FREE to our community members.
Share with your friends and followers; it’s FREE, open-source, and available to everyone.
No one makes a penny on this book project, which is intended to inspire and empower Gen Zers to launch their careers and land their dream jobs. Suzanne and Sanam have volunteered their time, and we’ve chosen this platform to transmit our book so that YOU don’t have to pay for publication costs.
However, if you feel inspired to help someone in poverty to have access to dignified work, jump here to donate directly to the nonprofit job-creation program of your choice–all vetted and supported by Skees Family Foundation.
Thanks for being with us! We’re excited to share our book with you.
–Suzanne & Sanam