A Love Letter to Gen Z

Chris Newman
7 min readMar 10, 2023

From your Big Brother, an Older Millennial

These crazy kids and their crazy… 80’s fashion revival (image via Wrike)

Note: this essay is adapted from a TikTok I posted some months ago (this is a duet of that video someone posted, since I’m no longer on TikTok and the OG post is no longer available)

I was reminded of the TikTok that’s inspired this essay by a drunken conversation I had with an old college friend of mine and his mother. Ma Dukes is a first-generation immigrant to the U.S. from India and was perhaps not so much lamenting, but expressing bewilderment, at the “state of the kids these days,” and the fact that it seems no one really wants to work or build a career for themselves.

This wasn’t your typical finger-wagging blame game that you get from Boomers talking about Gen Z. She was genuinely curious, and was surprisingly receptive to the answer I gave her:

Zoomers have a great work ethic; they just don’t see the point in applying it the way you and I did.

We’ve come a long way, in the wrong direction, since the golden age of capitalism. Pensions, union protections, wage growth, lifetime employment, affordable education, and the American Dream have given way to a second Gilded Age where workers are treated as fungible commodities. I gave Ma the now-famous example of the software engineer who, after an unheard-of SIXTEEN YEARS at Google, was not only laid off, not…



Chris Newman

Building a new, accessible, open, and democratic food economy in the Chesapeake Bay region @ Sylvanaqua Farms