Denise Miller, University of Houston
The Importance of Stability
It was my first time traveling to San Francisco, my first time attending a trip with the National Millennial and Gen Z community, and my first time finding a unanimous opinion amongst my peers.
During our visit to San Francisco, the community was tasked with giving our honest opinions and advice to the businesses we visited. Google wanted to know how to engage a more diverse community of students to increase diversity within computer science. KQED wanted to know the habits surrounding podcast activity. The Vine, a local Napa Valley radio station, wanted to hear ideas on how to increase the younger generations' listening habits.
Within all of these discussions, the small groups that I participated in all had different perspectives. While we were able to present our ideas to each other and agree on one collective opinion, we never all initially thought the same thing. However, things changed when we visited UM.
UM, a global media agency, challenged the group to think about the pros and cons of a world where everyone works freelance. This was the first time that my small group all had a resounding no. The reason why? With freelance work, there is no sense of stability. There is no promise that you will be selected to work and because of that, there is no promise that you will receive a paycheck.
Freelance work also introduces a heightened level of competition because people who can do the job well will constantly be wanted. If you are not considered an expert in your field, you may not receive as many contracts.
There were only four minds working together to come to this conclusion in my small group, but when it came time for each group to give their opinion, the overwhelming response was that freelance does not appeal to them due to the amount of uncertainty. To be completely honest, the fact that freelance wasn’t as appealing shocked me. A room full of Millennials and Gen Z students who typically have no issue breaking the status quo wouldn’t budge on this subject.
Millennials and Gen Z students often have stereotypes that talk about their short attention span and job-hopping tendencies. It’s interesting that freelance did not appeal to us as much as stereotypes think it would. Regardless of what is thought of this generation, we still value the benefits of a typical workday. We want to be paid adequately and if we don’t feel that we are being valued then yes, we may switch to another job but at least we know that we will still get paid. The uncertainty with freelance is enough to make this generation want to work at a typical agency or a corporate America job.
Overall, I was able to see firsthand how the stereotypes assigned to my generation try to portray us as workers with quick turnover rates and a low appreciation of traditional work values but, that’s a false misconception.