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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Opinion: Death to the 9-5 grind

There’s a new era of employment upon us
Dreading+a+drab+cubicle+job+after+graduation%3F+Opinion+columnist+Benjamin+Barnes+says+times+are+changing+and+a+new+generation+of+workers+is+on+the+rise.+%28Photo+via+12019%2FPixabay%29
Dreading a drab cubicle job after graduation? Opinion columnist Benjamin Barnes says times are changing and a new generation of workers is on the rise. (Photo via 12019/Pixabay)

Farewell to the five-day workweek. Sayonara to the suckers wasting away in corporate cubicles and good riddance to greedy, backstabbing bosses. 

These are only some of the tantalizing taboo thoughts and scathing sentiments that have lived and died inside the minds of the working class for generations.   

Granted, it is not a new phenomenon for blue and white-collar workers to daydream about a lifestyle void of the unpleasant consistencies that have seemingly plagued every office throughout the country. 

Although, from the endless list of discrepancies previous generations of workers have once written off as “just a part of life,” a new generation of workers have started to use these deeply harbored feelings as fuel to start an occupational revolution … and I’m all for it. 

One of the very few positives to come from the COVID-19 pandemic is employers’ ability to accommodate workers interested in working from home. Over half of Americans are hybrid workers as of November of last year, a figure that has only steadily risen since 2020. A third of workers who are able to work from home now do so all the time.  

What these figures tell us is that workers will run and never look back if given the opportunity to avoid awkward, uninteresting workplace banter, lukewarm coffee, uncomfortable squeaky desk chairs and the suffocating workplace attire that is deemed as “appropriate.” 

And this has not come out of nowhere — a recent Gallup poll found that close to 60% of American workers were emotionally unattached from the work they do, or simply going through the motions with no reason as to why. So, this inevitably leaves us at a crossroads. 

When faced with a less-than-hospitable work environment, workers will either keep their heads down and work like the expendable worker bees they’ve been reduced to, or demand flexible hours, better wages and a definitive end to the workweek. 

If you’ve received the all too familiar email on a Sunday afternoon that reads, 

“I need this done ASAP, 

Sent from my iPhone” 

I have a feeling you’re probably leaning towards the second option and for good reason.  

The normalization of workers becoming more comfortable with approaching their superiors and discussing better working conditions is making this decision easier for everyone. The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer found that more than 60% of workers are willing to pressure their employers to accommodate their requests.  

This growing movement is also much bigger than critics, mainly middle management and pushy bosses of large businesses, make it out to be. Whether it’s complaining that Gen Z workers are “more difficult” than their older counterparts or the tired adage that claims, “back in my day, we chose a company and stuck with it for 40 years, slowly rising through the ranks and knowing our place,” there is never any real response that attempts to resolve workers’ shared strife. 

Why do 86% of workers feel their ideas and voices are not heard? Why are more than half of people unsatisfied with their current job? The answer to these questions could all be solved with one word: respect. 

Workers are done working tirelessly for companies who couldn’t care less about their well-being. 

Granted, I am still an undergraduate student. However, after enduring the cyclical conversations that mainly consisted of my mother and father venting about how their perspectives never seem to matter or how they only have two to three people they can trust at their respective organizations, you start to wonder why this experience is so common.

I too felt what it was like to be more or less disposable in a workplace this summer when I interned for a news station. I was always fighting to get even 60 seconds of my boss’ attention and was usually met with a sigh followed by a dismissive “What is it?’ despite pumping out stories pro bono.  

So, if you are a worker unhappy with your boss’s inability to differentiate a Saturday from a Thursday or feel as though your ideas are thrown out immediately as you speak, maybe it’s time to sit down with your supervisor and talk. 

You don’t have to be young to join the next generation of workers. In fact, you may not have even realized you already are. Ninety-three percent of workers say they’ve been influenced by Gen Z to begin discussing areas that pertain to work-life boundaries and fair pay for work. 

If your current employer is going to make the claim, “We’re like a family here,” you should at least be able to approach them and work towards solutions that will benefit both of you. 

Benjamin Barnes is a telecommunication media studies senior and opinion columnist for The Battalion.

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About the Contributor
Bj Barnes
Bj Barnes, Opinion Columnist
Benjamin Barnes is a Telecommunication Media Studies senior from Rochester, Indiana. Barnes' has been involved with The Battalion since his junior year and plans to start his own media group following graduation. If he's not writing, he's most likely watching a Texans game or at the gym.
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