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What Would Socrates Think Of Gen Z?

What would Socrates think of Gen Z?

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of [work]. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households.” 

Socrates (469–399 B.C.)

This could be a post on my linkedin feed but it actually dates back to the age of Socrates. As a recent graduate on linkedin, my algorithm bombards me with Gen Z slander one post, meme, or video after another. In all the jobs I’ve had, I’ve regularly faced the ‘it wasn’t like that in my generation’ or ‘these younger ones just don’t know how to work’ or, when I was working in Early Years, the two year olds were even facing criticism (whereas, I’m quite sure two year olds have forever and always been the tyrants of a household). 

There are positive pieces out there about ‘the power of Gen Z’, ‘what we can learn from this generation’, ‘why Gen Z aren’t just lazy…’, which is always encouraging to see. As a proud Gen Zer, I can’t actually see the difference yet between myself and my older coworkers apart from the fact that I use two thumbs to text rather than my index finger. There have been so many changes in the way this generation was raised with the development of technology, the pandemic, and a change in work culture and I’m sure that has many a butterfly effect on who we are as employees and people but the intergenerational tensions are, quite literally, old news.

The sentiment is as old as paper, the compass, ancient philosophy and it probably existed before Socrates’ time too. Either this means that it’s very human to be appalled by your younger counterparts and it’s part of our nature to define ourselves through opposition to the other or it means that, as a society, we’ve been getting worse one generation at a time for almost 2000 years and us Gen Zers are the most depraved of them all.

Who knows what changes Gen Z will bring about as the years progress and who knows how much I’ll disparage Gen Alpha and complain about the ‘ipad kids’ when I, one day, am in senior roles. For me, this quotation serves as a comfort and a reminder to not let media flood your mind and convince you of things you know to not be true about yourself. 

Written by Grace Dewar

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