Gen Z seems uncomfortable. At least that’s the impression I get whenever I hear and read about people who are around 20 or a few years younger: They insist on a strict work-life balance, supposedly want to work as little as possible and are hardly interested in it due to their high standards to use the labor market.

Apart from the fact that extreme exaggerations are never true, I am surprised by two things about the debate:

Firstly, what is fundamentally wrong with younger generations questioning the old and traditional? Don’t they even have to do this in order to make a difference at all?

And secondly, the vehemence with which many older people get upset about this generation is surprising.

Let’s take my contemporaries – around 50 or a little older. We were the “zero buck generation” – which was 100% true of me and my friends. So some of the exaggerations are true.

In the morning at school, the first way led us to the “smoker’s cellar”. I was never able to find out where the many old sofas that were lying around in the musty basement of the school came from. This is where we hung out and skipped a number of lessons if we didn’t do it in the pub across the street. Or in good weather in the city park.

There were times when I missed music lessons for weeks because I had more important things to do: hang out with people. It went so far that one day my music teacher happily greeted me in class by asking if I was new to the school.

Thoughts about the future mostly only went as far as where the next party might take place. Or whose turn it is to drive if we wanted to get out of the village to the next disco.

Since my entire age group has been labeled as the “zero buck generation”, I can imagine that some people my age have similar memories to mine. Class reunions are still a lot of fun for me and my clique at the time. Somehow we were always against everything – constructively it wasn’t possible at all.

What came after school, we pushed this thought far into the distance. Many of us were still without a plan when they were already doing their Abitur.

But we got our high school diploma, some even went to university, found jobs and found happiness in our private lives. Why should Gen Z be any different?

My generation was largely useless and was neither understood nor liked by the older generation. That’s why we shouldn’t get so worked up about Gen Z.

Read stern : Workation, flat hierarchies and more time for private life: Five young people report on starting their careers and explain why the lazy Gen Z cliché is still irrelevant.