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Does Generation Z not have dream jobs? | Is It Just Me Or?

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question that sparks curiosity in children, excitement in high school students and fear in college seniors. At each stage of development, one’s views of academics and career prospects continues to take shape. 

For a lot of young professionals and recent graduates, job security is becoming more important than feeling fulfilled by their careers. I share this sentiment — my upbringing in a single-parent household, where there was a lot of transparency surrounding work and the cost of living — has impacted how I search for jobs.

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

Starting about two years ago, when I pictured an ideal career, I drew a blank. It was like staring at a picture without my glasses on: fuzzy, and I could only really make out general ideas of what I was looking at. The idea of having a “dream job” escaped me, and I was faced with the reality of being as versatile a worker as I could be. 

Now, as graduation looms over my head, when faced with questions of my ideal career aspirations, I muster up some half-baked answer about wanting to be an editor and writer at a magazine. It’s an odd feeling — to not have a passion for a specific career path — and I am wary of this uncertainty amongst myself and other recent and upcoming graduates. 

There is a clear distinction between the idea that Gen Z doesn’t dream of labor and lacks a clear picture of a dream job in their heads. As the burgeoning demographic began to enter the workforce, countless articles were published about why this younger generation is lazy and doesn’t want to work. 

Young people entering the workforce now face intense pressure to get into colleges that are more competitive than they ever have been and, naturally, more expensive. After receiving the degrees they worked tirelessly for, graduates are jumping into jobs that seem to be stable and allow them to make a living and pay off that competitive university tuition. 

These two concepts are not intertwined. A recent college graduate can fully understand that they will and have to start working to keep themselves financially afloat, but they don’t have to dive straight into their dream job. 

There can be internal pressures to keep up professional appearances — taking on jobs for big companies that utilize every cent of your degree’s worth — but young people need to give themselves more grace when it comes to early career positions. 

Oftentimes, these dream jobs are not attainable anyway. Between the years of experience that entry-level positions require and the widening gap between the cost of living and the salaries for junior positions, dream jobs are becoming just that — dreams.

As the class of 2024 graduates enter the workplace, they’re doing so with extreme caution and deliberate efforts to advance their careers. Because for every child who dreams of becoming an astronaut, there are a slew of graduates working jobs that didn’t require a degree from the expensive and competitive colleges they attended.

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One Comment

  1. As a recently graduated and a Genz I could easily relate to what the writing is mentioning about getting into a job which is not one dream job may be settling for less because we want to earn and afford that lifestyle we want, being a financially independent the little experience in what is one thing with that in today’s world as a gen z I believe that I cannot decide what my DREAM Job by merely from others opinions or from what I have seen or heard. According to me having a little experience of what you want to do in life is a better idea rather than first choosing your Dream JOB and then after having it with all of the hard work and time regretting it as it does not interest you. you must have heard from people that “I wish I knew this early I wouldn’t have chosen it”. I will not be the one saying the same quote because I have chosen my dream job based on what’s in it there for me by experiencing it.