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Why Millennials and Gen-Z workers are choosing not to become managers

‘Managing people is f***ing terrible’

Olivia Hebert
Los Angeles
Wednesday 08 November 2023 21:50 GMT

Related: TikToker reveals the easiest ways to tell if someone is either Gen-Z or millennial

Millennials and Gen-Zers are saying they don’t want stressful manager positions.

In a viral video posted on 3 October, TikToker @littlemisstrena explained to viewers why the younger generations aren’t thrilled about workplace leadership positions. She posed the rhetorical question to viewers: “Why would you want to become a manager?”

“I absolutely fell for this,” she admitted. “This was like two jobs ago and I still believed in like career advancement and, like, wanting to work my way up, so I became a supervisor.”

The TikToker says that the position gave her more grief rather than rewards, with a heavier workload and only a “dollar pay bump” that didn’t make much of a difference.

She said that her position as a supervisor didn’t help her resume either, and claimed that when interviewing for other jobs, her experience as a supervisor was hardly brought up.

“I don’t think at any point that was even brought up in any of my interviews. I don’t talk about it with people I work with now,” she continued. “I’m like, it didn’t give me the bump I thought it was going to for all the extra stress.”

“Managing people is f***ing terrible,” she added. The video reportedly received over 301,000 views as of 6 November but has since been removed from the social media platform.

The TikToker isn’t the only millennial or zillennial to voice their aversion to managerial positions. Another TikTok user, Kyyah Abdul, posted her take on the platform, saying that millennials and Gen-Z-ers didn’t want manager positions because they don’t want “a glorified unpaid internship.” She added that the pay for the workload isn’t “worth the work that you’re doing.”

Abdul used pirate money or “doubloons” to illustrate her point, showing viewers that although entry-level employees earn half a “doubloon”, eventually, they want to get paid more and move up the food chain.

“So you become a manager, and you realize, ‘Hold on, I only get a full doubloon despite doing three times the work I was previously doing as an associate?’” Abdul said. “This is where people get to a point in their career that they’re like, you know what? I’m going to take it on the chin, continue to do this work because I know it’s an internship opportunity to make it to the next level where I’m really going to start making the pirate’s booty.”

Because the senior positions pay more for doing less, Abdul argues there’s less turnover for senior positions. As a result, employees who want to move up the ladder toward a higher-paying job find themselves stuck.

“These people don’t want to leave because of how much money they’re getting for very little work,” Abdul said. “I personally believe there are people out there that want to be managers, and they want to progress up the ladder, but there’s a standstill right here.”

With an unprecedentedly higher cost of living for the younger generations, many weigh the cost and benefit of working a menial job for a paltry salary. A fancy title doesn’t mean much to younger employees unless it comes with a sizeable salary bump.

In a recent interview with CNBC, marketing executive Jayde Young, 33, similarly pointed out a lack of rewards for mid-level management in today’s workplace, deterring potential employees.

“Being a manager, it’s OK,” Young explained to the outlet. “But it affords me nothing. I don’t have any real additional perks that my direct reports don’t have. My salary is a little higher, fine, but I have to work a lot longer. Honestly, the title is all fluff at the end of the day.”

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