Wake up, eat, go to work, come home, eat, sleep, repeat.
Living the dream, huh?
“Personally, I don’t think I’m supposed to work. I’m supposed to do this all day,” says an audio track on TikTok that went viral for its candid message: Working 9 to 5 is no longer the way to work. ideal life for many.
A video that uses this audio shows a woman sitting in a cafe, enjoying a coffee and a croissant. Her phone’s camera pans around, revealing a dozen others quietly doing the same thing.
It has over three million views.
The video-based app has become a hub for Gen Z and Millennials to create apathetic and pessimistic comments about their disillusionment with work.
What powers this? Toxic work culture, minimal flexibility, no work-life balance and of course, the pandemic.
Deloitte’s 2022 Global Gen Z and Millennial Survey Unveiled four in 10 Gen Zs and nearly a quarter of Millennials would like to quit their job in two years.
Roughly a third would do it with no other job in sightaccording to the report.
However, if you love what you do, is it true that you will never work a day in your life?
Naishadh Gadani, an engineer turned career development practitioner, said the dream job was “an overly simplistic and misused term”.
“Rather than seeing it as a dream job, we should ask ourselves if it’s a fulfilling job,” Gadani told ABC News.
“Questions like: What satisfies me? What makes me happy? What kind of workplace or organization do I like? – [these] can help us.”
Juliette had a ‘golden ticket’ job but quit and now casually works in hospitality
Juliette, 22, from Victoria, landed her first white-collar job from her sister’s roommate at the time, who worked in the civil service.
After learning that she was looking for unqualified interns, Juliette applied and was offered the job.
“It was a golden ticket because I was 20, had no qualifications after a mediocre ATAR, and was now working full time and getting a living wage.
“I got a lot of praise from my friends and family. It was work my family could look forward to,” she said.
After nine months of work, Juliette resigned. She said she felt like a failure.
“I had spent months toying with the idea of whether money or my sanity was more important,” she said.
Four months after quitting, Juliette traded a full-time job for a casual job in the hospitality industry and she’s never been happier.
“My job is not who I am. I don’t base my value on my productivity within capitalism.”
Despite her reduced working hours, coupled with an increase in the cost of living, Juliette remains “optimistic” for the future.
“As bad as the economic situation is, it’s just a cycle. There are bigger problems than my wallet.”
Alex’s dream was to play in a band. He realized it wasn’t as glamorous as it looked
Alex, 32, was in his freshman year of college when a friend asked him what he wanted to do for a career.
“She said ignore the money and say the first thing that came to mind. I said, ‘I want to play in a band.’
“That’s when I decided playing in a band was my ‘dream job,'” he said.
However, as Alex became more involved in the Brisbane music scene, he saw how a band member’s life was not as glamorous as their fans might suspect.
“Playing gigs in front of hundreds of fans sounds amazing, but it’s only a small part of a touring musician’s life,” he said.
Over the years, Alex decided he wouldn’t let a job consume his identity, so he allowed himself to just “have a job.”
His current “day job” is working in the aerospace industry. But he hasn’t given up on dropping the 9-5 routine.
“I recently started creating my own YouTube videos and editing them for clients, so that’s another possibility,” he explained.
Alex said his ideal situation would be playing local shows in small venues, rather than touring nationally or internationally.
“I don’t see it as a failure. As long as I love playing music, it’s success in my mind,” he said.
Owning a home is ‘unachievable’ for Ishara, but she thinks it’s no longer the dream of young people
During primary school, 23-year-old Ishara Sahama dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.
It was not until her last years of secondary school that she turned to the field of humanities and social sciences.
After graduating from college with a major in geography in 2019, Ms. Sahama spent a few years volunteering and gaining work experience.
She now works part-time in the field of social enterprise and entrepreneurship.
“Since I started working, I’ve seen people who are either 20-30 or 40-50 quitting the public sector and going private, or vice versa,” Ms. sahama.
“Pushing young people into choosing a dream job – or making it happen – can hurt their personal growth.”
“The last two years have changed the way work is done. A 9-to-5, five-day-a-week job can be condensed to four days,” she said.
“And yet people who do or do not have this work structure may still struggle to keep pace with Australia’s rising cost of living.”
Ms. Sahama saves on some expenses by living with her family, paying for gas and groceries, expenses that have only increased over time.
Although these costs are manageable for her, Ishara feels indifferent when it comes to buying a house.
“The idea of owning or renting a property in the future is now unfeasible for me, given the current economic circumstances,” she said.
“The ‘Australian Dream’ is a luxury and a privilege. It does not reflect the daily realities of young people who must change and adapt to the workforce in a post-COVID world.”