In today’s rapidly evolving world, the very concept of work is undergoing a transformation.
Work has various definitions and avenues – especially for those of us who fall into the age bracket of Millennials and Gen Z.
We’re setting a new pace and redefining work-life balance. We’re putting our values not only first, but proudly and loudly advocating for the things that matter most to us – and influencing the companies we work for to do the same. We are adamantly seeking purpose and fulfilment in the 9 to 5 – that may no longer be 9 to 5. We are hustling left, right and centre to give us flexibility and freedom of choice as we revolutionise the workforce.
To better grasp this change and to spur on the revolution, we want to hear directly from you!
Tell us what type of professional life are you seeking? How has education and work experiences shaped who you are? How are you navigating the shifting landscape of work? And what do you want to see happen next?
The following unfiltered thoughts may contain themes that might be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.
Autism and Working
I don’t have enough energy to work a 9-5 full time. Maybe it’s because I’m autistic. If it is, it’s not like I’m eligible for the government’s Disability Support Pension anyway. Well, I am, but do I want to apply for such a dehumanising process? Whilst I am glad that companies are beginning to recognise that for autistic people, working full time isn’t always an option – but then what is the alternative? Do we starve?
The balance between work and life is hard for anyone – but what if you have less energy? What if you can only get so many things done in one day? We need flexible working options and hours in order to accommodate for those with disabilities.
Anonymous, 17 WA
My relationship with capitalism is like my relationship with my ex
I was told to study, so I did. Poured tears over paper, in search for paper.
Yet I sit here as a graduate, no more further in life than I was as a high schooler, as a middle schooler. I bore of traditional roles, of capitalistic society but if I am to be a cog in the machine, I shall be the best cog.
I just want money man.
Zoya (she/her), 23 QLD
I’d love a four-day work week. I’m hoping companies in Victoria start implementing that soon. I don’t want to have to hustle, or work multiple jobs – I saw the word ‘polywork’ somewhere, and someone described that as a ‘dystopian capitalist doublespeak term’, and I agree with that. Polywork means working multiple jobs btw.
Michael (he/him), 18 VIC
Clearing the Normalised Haze From Work
Our exhaustion is like a layer of smoke; it’s hard to breathe, but it looks like everyone carries it in their lungs with ease. They feel it too though, and it’s darkest at the bottom of the single mother’s purse at the checkout, or at the end of the glass after post-work drinks. We all hope for it to clear, but we know we can’t hope for too long, because there’s work in the morning. So we go to sleep in the smoke and dream of fresh air. We all dream of change, a system built to live in more than we work in. Isn’t it time to clear the smoke?
Anonymous, 20 SA
Totally vibing with the idea of people chasing their purpose and fulfilment in their grind. The old-school 9 to 5 hustle might not be our jam anymore, and that’s cool. In this fast-paced world, where tech and global connections are flipping the script on work vibes, it’s all about embracing flexibility and doing our own thing. Chasing purpose isn’t just about the paycheck; it’s about bringing creativity, making things happen, and feeling that job satisfaction. We’re all about breaking free from the norm, being real, and growing on our own terms.
Personally, my own jobs really play a part in shaping who I am and I think long and hard before I move from one to the next – the team, what I’m doing and if it sits right with me, the organisations values and the culture all contribute to that, it’s not just about the money. If I’m gonna spend the majority of my week working for someone or something, I better love it and really feel passionate about it. If I don’t anymore, it’s time to move on.
Crystal (she/her), 26 NSW
Stop Normalising the Grindset
The desire for a work revolution amongst todays younger generation is not a coincidence, but instead a direct result of corporatism and encouragement of toxic work-life balances within youth spaces.
It’s common to hear young people talk about the financial “grindset”; the concept of overworking with the intention of a greater paycheck. Mindsets like this (which are particularly perpetuated online) act as contemporary worker exploitation, as individuals are conditioned to accept poor work conditions in aim of ‘earning’ their income. Young people are particularly vulnerable to this perspective, as they are often forced into labour (fast-food, retail, warehouses, etc.) as a result of lack of work experience, oftentimes meaning that their wage and capital is substantially robbed by employers and business owners in higher positions. The “grindset” present in some of todays youth benefits no one but the very same capitalists which raise the cost-of-living; creating a greater incentive to overwork as individuals find their expendable income shrinking.
The newly emerging desire for a work reform is – I believe – a counterculture to the financial “grindset”. I (among many others) am exhausted from working physically and mentally demanding jobs for minimal pay and satisfaction, and now desire for greater quality, less demanding positions.
Heidi (she/her), 18 VIC
Navigating the IT sphere
In the realm of Information Technology, the evolving professional landscape has a great impact on challenges and opportunities that arise for those in the Generation Z bracket. I am currently working towards getting my Bachelors in Cyber Security and aspire to secure a role that fosters continuous learning, as the field is constantly growing with new threats and technologies. While the concept of work undergoes a transformation, I believe it is vital to be proactive and show commitment towards education and adaptability. However, with this comes the emphasis on individuals finding the middle ground, in terms of maintaining a sustainable work-life balance. I think having a mindset that values not only professional growth but also personal wellbeing can help shape our current workforce and empower future generations to contribute meaningfully to the evolving IT field.
Anonymous, 19 NSW
Working to live
“Work” comes with a different definition depending on who you speak to and continues to change daily. What some see as work, others don’t, and vice versa. I think given the current economy and peak of inflation, people define “work” as literal hell. I mean working day in and day out to pay your mortgage, and having little leftover, what kind of life is that? And then there are still mountains of bills that need to be paid. I take my hat off to the companies that understand the difficulties we are faced with, and the ones that do everything they can to support the rapidly changing world around us. Offering part-time, above-award wages, discounts on car insurance, home and contents, and childcare! While other organisations are still playing catch up. I would like to see understanding in the workplace, in all workplaces, and compassion for those who are just trying to survive in this current economy. Obviously, there is no correct answer for what that looks like, as everyone is different, but a simple “How can I support you?” is sometimes all it takes.
Rebecca (she/her), 24 ACT
My learnings as an IT trailblazer
Technology is growing at a rapid pace and it is important for professionals to upskill at this day and age. I started my career as a business analyst and one of the key pieces of advice I’d like to share is to invest in yourself and skill sets. Always say yes to opportunities and take risks! Your career path is never linear, and there will always be peaks and troughs along the way. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead a small scrum team in my current project.
Over the past 8 months, I have taken on an additional role as a Scrum Master and have gained valuable skills. I’m proud to say that I have also invested in my growth my undertaking a certified scrum master qualification to level up in my role. My two cents here is to never wait for anyone to give you the approval to take a course- just start now. You never know where this will lead to!
Kayshini (she/her), 26 NSW
Dreaming of labour
I do not dream of labour and yet I have a dream job. Of course, when I think of it, all it is is the parts I’ve been doing all my life, just with money involved. With my head, I know it will not be as I imagine. I know it will, most likely, be filled with all the worst parts of the things I love. But one has to hope.
I try to pretend I haven’t been working since the minute I could. That I don’t have lists upon lists of budgets and references. Now, at eighteen, I babysit kids who are older than I was when I started babysitting. The world is very different for them.
Anonymous, 18 NSW
A work devolution
I’m 29, and I’ve had at least that many jobs. How is that possible? Can’t seem to keep them, or I’ve got multiple casual jobs on the go at once. I’ve been a governess on an outback station, I’ve hunted yellow crazy ants, I’ve taught yoga to babies at day-care centres, I’ve pushed buttons at Disneyworld Florida. I’ve been a barista, waitress, dishwasher, hotel receptionist, dinner theatre actress, performance intern, usher, drama teacher, live captioner, and most recently a distance education teacher.
I’m coming to the end of a 12-month contract that I thought would be renewed. A place I thought I could rock up to every day for years, get my predictable pay packet and leave. You know, the kind of stable jobs that grown up people have? I thought it was my turn. But it looks like we’re overstaffed and they don’t need me.
I don’t think we need a work revolution; I think we need a work devolution. My parents told me about their first jobs –working at a bank in regional Australia in the 1980s. They shut up shop at 3:00pm, had a half day on Friday, and a day off every year for the races. They socialised with their co-workers, the bank helped set them up with housing, they were offered discounted shares in the company. When my mum had her first baby, they arranged for her to ‘job share’ with another new mum. That’s what I want –stable employment, work life balance, a bit of support. Maybe one day I’ll find it, maybe I won’t.
I’m not a conservative –I don’t want to go back to a simpler, better time. Things were never better, or simpler. But I would like to bring back treating workers like people, instead of machines. I would like to bring back reasonable hours and decent pay. And I really REALLY just want to find a job I can keep long term.
Kirsten (she/her), 30 QLD