For Gen Z, of course every year is an important stepping stone towards their career goals. New year, new (better) me. But not without breaking some old routines. To make the most out of 2023, members of Gen Z must give up three patterns of habit:
1) Always Moving Forward Too Quickly:
Gen Z is a demographic that loves speed — faster communication, faster action, faster progression. No wonder this group has made the world move faster — and that has its value. But amid high velocity and high ambition, Gen Z must take a moment of pause. To reflect with honesty and a healthy dose of self-critique.
David McCullough’s “history is who we are and why we are the way we are” may seem like a statement of grandiose but it’s quite germane here. Where we are today in our careers is the net result of everything that precipitated in the past — and in the immediate term, an outcome of our journey in the past year, 2022. Brushing the mistakes of 2022 under the rug isn’t going to help. More importantly, not dissecting the achievements of the past year will be a missed opportunity. Take stock of the year in monthly increments and understand what worked and what didn’t.
2) The ‘Main Character’ Syndrome:
Over the past two years, the term ‘Main Character’ energy has dominated social media. The New Yorker’s Kyle Chaka describes it best as “any situation in which a person is making [themselves] the center of attention, the crux of a particular narrative, as if cameras were trained on [them] and [them] alone.”
While the dramatics of this phenomenon are entertaining, bringing this attitude to the workplace isn’t the best of ideas for your career growth — at least in a traditional corporate space. Because Gen-Z is frequently labelled by their managers as “entitled.” Yes, times have changed, workplace culture is shifting in a positive direction and there is a (rightfully) larger focus on work-life balance.
But what hasn’t (and will likely never) change is the value of hard work, respect and collaboration. Gen-Z workers are adamant to be disruptors to the corporate culture. That’s all good. But no matter what, a culture of respect, responsibility never goes out of style. These theoretical values translate to the practical principles of team work and engagement in the workplace.
Trends such as “Main Character Energy” can have merit but also glamorize narcissistic tendencies. This isn’t going to help anyone. Because unearned entitlement harms your professional growth; demanding special privileges, compromising work ethic, ignoring instructions, and being obsessively self-centered sends the wrong message to senior managers — they are key decision makers in discussions of promotions and bonuses.
Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong in thinking you’re special — as long as you acknowledge that everyone is special too.
3) Instant Gratification:
Overnight success stories are amazing to hear but can be misleading — because behind every overnight transformation may be years of perseverance. A more likely formula for success involves the patience to tolerate failure with resilience and grit. One great presentation or one top-of-the-line project delivery is likely not enough to stand on its own.
What’s needed is consistency — the steadiness to keep delivering results even when there is no immediate reward in sight. Moving beyond the infatuation of quick reward and recognition for your efforts may seem unnatural at first. But patience can be liberating.
There is freedom in realizing that you don’t always need an instant trophy to validate your worth.