Managing expectations as Gen Z enters the workforce

Author: Melanie Pagan, Gulfshore Business
Published: Updated:

Kia Parker hovers over her laptop at a table outside Florida Gulf Coast University’s food court, studying between classes. It’s her sophomore year of college, where she’s majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in music.

A vegetarian, Parker wants to work in genetic engineering and focus on conservation genetics to make GMOs and support plant diversity. Best-case scenario, she said, she’ll travel to third-world countries to help add bioengineering solutions to existing agricultural methods so communities can expand their economies.

“I want to make a difference,” she says. “It’s just an innate part of me.”

Worst-case scenario: She’ll sacrifice most of her free time to make a living.

“I don’t want to work. No one wants to work. I want to make money so I can do things I want to do,” she says. “I shouldn’t have to work every day until I’m 60 and finally have time to do what I want to do.”

To even enter the working world, Gen Zers—those born between 1997 and 2012—such as Parker must be put on employers’ payrolls, but studies show hiring managers aren’t exactly rushing them into office.

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