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Social Media Influencer Gets Slammed for Criticizing Gen Z Work Ethic and Priorities

A TikToker, "Corporate Natalie," faced criticism and subsequently apologized for a video where she slammed a Gen Z employee for prioritizing a fitness class over an 8 a.m. meeting.
TikTok | @demotedpodcast
TikTok | @demotedpodcast


TikTok | @demotedpodcast
TikTok | @demotedpodcast

The post-pandemic era and changing priorities of Gen Z are quickly reshaping the modern workplace beyond trends such as hybrid working models. But while discussing work on social media isn't anything unheard of, a TikToker known as "Corporate Natalie" faced a backlash for calling out a Gen Z employee who chose a fitness class over an early work meeting. This incident sheds light on the shifting priorities and work ethics among younger generations, particularly Gen Z, who are increasingly emphasizing work-life balance and personal well-being over traditional workplace norms.

Natalie, co-host of the "Demoted" podcast alongside "Corporate Bro," shared her frustration in a video that has now been deleted, reacting to a Gen Z new hire's decision to skip an 8 a.m. meeting for a workout class. Her remarks, dismissing the importance of the employee's fitness class and suggesting earlier workout timings, sparked a conversation about the boundaries between personal and professional commitments. The video's reception on social media was predominantly negative, with many users defending the right to maintain personal time outside of contracted work hours.

TikTok | @demotedpodcast
TikTok | @demotedpodcast

Following the backlash, Natalie released an apology video, clarifying her stance on working outside contracted hours. She explained that the meeting that she mentioned was a rare, quarterly event scheduled to accommodate various time zones, and was part of the expectations for a salaried position. This clarification further highlighted how the boundaries of work hours can often be blurred, leading to differing interpretations of work commitments.

In response to Natalie's original comments, TikToker Alexandre Evidente made a skit portraying the Gen Z worker's viewpoint. Stressing the importance of commitments outside work, such as health and fitness, Evidente's skit advocated for advanced notice of schedule changes and suggested compensation for any inconvenience caused, such as missing a pre-booked fitness class. This reaction reflects a growing trend among younger workers who prioritize personal well-being and seek greater flexibility in their work arrangements.

Ravin Jesuthasan, an expert on the future of work, notes that Gen Z's attitudes towards work significantly differ from previous generations. Having observed the struggles faced by millennials during economic recessions and a global pandemic, Gen Z workers are increasingly adopting a 'work to live' rather than a 'live to work' philosophy. This generational shift is also evident in the rising trend of 'quiet quitting,' where employees choose not to go above and beyond in their roles, focusing instead on maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Navigating New Norms: The Corporate Response: As the workplace continues to evolve with the influx of Gen Z employees, companies and managers are challenged to reassess their expectations and adapt to new work ethics.

Balancing the demands of a globalized work environment with the personal needs of employees requires a nuanced approach, considering the diversity of employee expectations and the changing landscape of work. The incident involving "Corporate Natalie" and the subsequent discourse is a clear indicator of the ongoing transformation in workplace culture.