Millennial and Zoomer employees could be moving from “quiet quitting” to “funemployment,” a trend that business leaders may need to prepare to hear more often.
- In a series of recent interviews with CNBC and The Wall Street Journal, NYU Stern School of Business Professor Suzy Welch revealed a new trend she has observed in her students.
- “Funemployment” has become a new term that she observes being thrown around, which refers to a general attitude change towards a relaxed attitude towards the importance of work.
- “My student says, ‘I’ll work when I work; until then, I’ll just do some funemployment,’” she says. “Gen-Z is saying, ‘We’re going to be together for a while at this job, and then we’ll move on to our next job.’”
Why It’s Important
The younger generations have adopted a totally different attitude towards work than their parents. This is nothing new, as employers have noticed for over a decade that millennials approach work differently than their older counterparts. The subsequent Zoomer generation has raised concerns, with large percentages of them opting to put in minimal effort or remain unemployed rather than feeling discouraged or stressed by work and a changing economy.
It remains unclear what the effect of this trend will be on overall productivity or work habits. Still, it reflects the same trend of detachment and apathy that “quiet quitting” and “the Great Resignation” represented last fall. To a degree, the business world has attempted to accommodate these changes. Business leaders are making more effects of approaching the problems of the younger generation and motivating them by offering them preferable options like remote work.
Michael Lin is an Arizona-based leadership coach who teaches leadership seminars nationwide on how to manage employees through brutal and compassionate honesty and leadership. He tells Leaders Media that young employees who want to embrace “funemployment” should quit and that employers should seek out employees who are more passionate about their work and take their careers seriously.
“They’re not here to work. Avoid them like the plague,” he says. “Quiet quitting is nothing new. It has been around for as long as humanity has been around. It used to be called employees who quit but decide to stay, which is a horror show. People used to say ‘Another day, another dollar’ and watch the clock, like government offices where people don’t do any work. If people do not want to work, they should go somewhere else. There are 10 to 20 other people who want to work that job. You cannot coach people who do not want to be coached.”
Despite their reputation for laziness and disengagement, Lin says he has met plenty of Millennials and Zoomers who break the mold and enjoy hard work, learning, and advancement, what he calls “Millennials who don’t act like Millennials.” Managers and hiring managers should know that these people are out there and that they can expect better from younger generations of employees and screening for negative tendencies more thoroughly in the hiring process.
Lin recommends hiring managers to diversify their search area and hiring process to seek out unconventional candidates from untraditional backgrounds and career tracks—like immigrants, people from poor backgrounds, or Ph.D. candidates from other job fields—who would be more passionate and willing to learn.
“There are cheap thrills that are no different than sugar and beer that get you high and crash, and then there is the deeper meaning of joy in life, where you overcome something, expand your comfort zone, bust a fear, and get a high, which stays with you. These are the two categories of fun and the people who enjoy them.” he continues. “Some young people think if your employers don’t entertain you sufficiently, you quit. How selfish do you have to be to have this selfish and poisoned mindset? From a manager’s point of view, why would you want to bring this into your place of work? It will be destructive.”