Gen Z: Why Is Everyone So Okay With Working 40-60 Hours Per Week to Barely Afford Life?

A 24-year-old received more than 38,200 upvotes on the TooAfraidToAsk Subreddit for her post entitled: Why is everyone so okay with working 40-60 hours per week to barely afford life?

Working Hard but Hardly Living

woman with lots of work to do

“I’m exhausted.”

A 24-year-old Gen Zer took to social media to comment on the difficulty they have in affording life’s basics. Despite working 40-60 hours per week, they barely make ends meet, and the housing market is not providing them with any relief.

Gen Z Haven’t Got It Easy

woman on train tired

“Gen Z has had the housing market door shut on us. We can barely afford to rent with roommates, let alone by ourselves. Food and gas eat the rest of our income.”

The 24-Year-Old Vented Their Frustration

woman on laptop unhappy

Rent, food, and gas take up nearly all of their income, leaving nothing for “extras” or savings. They have expressed frustration and perplexity at their current financial situation, reflecting that life is “cutthroat” for many Americans and that they are trying to highlight the suffering that people are experiencing.

They’ve Got a Question

colleagues sad

The Gen Zer wants to know:

Why is everyone so okay with working 40-60 hours per week to barely afford life?

Social Media Share Their Views

social media likes

The post received significant attention as commenters related and empathized with OP’s situation.

“Because we don’t have the choice,” one person received more than 1,800 upvotes for their answer. “We are not ok with it, but answer this: what other options are there?”

Others Felt The Same

guy unhappy

A computer technician shared his response: “I only make $18 an hour. I’m suffering. I’m 34, by the way. Living alone and renting. The car is falling apart; it’s not good.”

Life is grim for the marketing specialist. “I’m a 30-year-old in the U.S. with a degree, several internships under my belt, and 10 years of experience in my field, and I still don’t make enough to pay anything beyond my bills while splitting rent with 2 roommates.”

You Either Get Lucky or Had Some Form of Help

young man thinking

They continued, “I’ve been trying my hardest to break out of the poverty cycle for a decade now without moving an inch forward. I’m happy for all the people in these comments that say they’ve made it out but don’t think it’s purely because you worked hard enough. You either got lucky or had some form of help.” The response received 3,800 upvotes.

Staying Afloat

barista

“I’m not okay with it, but I have no other options. I’ve been saving and investing money as well to try to build something, but I’m still broke,” one person with 6,400 upvotes said before adding. “I invest small amounts of money when I’m able to…. so I guess what I mean is that I pretty much only have money to survive, which is a bummer.”

Millennials Didn’t Have It Easy, Either

worker with hard hat

“Also, do you know how many millennials busted their ass till their 30s only to find out they’re shut out for reasons beyond their control?” This message received 1,000 upvotes from other users who agreed with the sentiment.

“It’s so true. I was trying to buy a house four years ago and was just a little bit short of the down payment,” one person responded with 578 upvotes. “I asked for help from my dad, who said, ‘no,’ and unfortunately, I couldn’t get the house. That house has doubled in price since then. My income has definitely not doubled since then.”

The Commenters Sounded Hopeless

young driver

“This will sound dark, but sometimes it makes me wonder why we continue to live at all when all we’re doing is waking up, going to work, having a few hours of free time, and then repeating,” one person with 612 upvotes stated. “At my last job, I was getting 3.5-6 hours of sleep most nights just because I wanted to reclaim the freedom of being able to enjoy life and do things I used to do, but instead, I was always just too tired to do anything… Spending my days off catching up on sleep. A life of mediocrity is no life at all.”

Is it All Doom and Gloom?

worker bored

What do you think? How can Gen Z afford to live comfortably? What advice would you offer them, or is the ‘American Dream’ well and truly over?

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This article, Gen Z Working 40-60 Hours Per Week to “Barely Afford Life” was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. This article was inspired by Reddit does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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