Gen Zer rant about 10-hour day required to commute goes viral
A TikTok video of a young woman complaining about her work-life balance after getting her first 9-to-5 position after college—described as “Gen Z girl finds out what a real job is like” in an X post— has gone viral. But while many have perceived her rant to be about having to work, a closer listen shows it’s really about having to commute to and from the office—and what little time there is left in her day after that.
The TikTok video has racked up 228,000 likes since being posted on Oct. 19, with many viewers sympathetic to the poster, identified on the platform as Brielle. The X post mentioned above, from the account @TTEcclesBrown, has racked up 47 million views since being posted on Wednesday, with many responses deriding her.
In the video, the woman notes that remote work would solve her problem, as would affordable rent closer to her office.
“If I was able to walk to work, it’d be fine,” she says, adding later, “Nothing to do with my job at all…Being in the office 9-to-5, like, if it was remote, you’d get off at 5, and you’re home and everything’s fine.”
Instead, she says, “I get on the train at 7:30 and I don’t get home till like 6:15 earliest.” She complains that after her commute she doesn’t have the time or energy to cook dinner or work out. She also wonders, “How do you have friends? How do you have time for, like, dating? Like I don’t have time for anything, and I’m like so stressed out.”
As for why she doesn’t live closer to work, she notes, “There’s no way I’m gonna be able to afford living in the city right now, so that’s off the table.”
Jason Calacanis, an angel investor and serial entrepreneur, mocked the woman for her complaints, writing on X: “Oh princess… I’m sorry you had to commute and work and have a job and everything — it’s like so extra!”
Many criticized Calacanis for his post, which itself has garnered 7.8 million views. But he was hardly alone in ridiculing the young woman.
“Recent college grad has breakdown over working a job. We’re doomed,” posted the Libs of TikTok account on X.
Others suggested ways in which the woman could improve her situation. On the site Ricochet, which bills itself as a “community for smart, civil conversation on the center right,” a contributor with the handle “Seawriter” wrote:
“You cannot have everything — not at once and not straight out of college. Decide what is most important to you and determine what you have to do — and what you have to sacrifice — to get it. Want to live in the city? Look for ways to make it affordable. Find a roommate or two roommates to split the cost of an apartment — live two or three to a room. Don’t want a long commute and don’t want to share a room? Get a job in the suburbs.”
The woman is hardly alone, however, in being frustrated with commuting. With more CEOs demanding workers return to the office, many Americans are asking why the routine is necessary, especially given that remote work sufficed during the pandemic.
In a recent survey of over 8,400 U.S. workers by FlexJobs, 63% of respondents said remote work was still the most important part of a job to them, ahead of salary and a good boss.
“The tightly closed Pandora’s box of ‘work from anywhere’ has burst open, and will never be resealed,” Expensify CEO David Barrett wrote in a blog post this week after running a return-to-office experiment involving a upscale lounge for employees. “No amount of begging or coercion is going to work in the long run: The businesses that demand it are fighting a losing war of attrition.”
Office attendance in large cities, meanwhile, is still only about half the level seen in 2019, as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month. That’s despite a slight uptick in attendance recently coupled with tough talk from high-profile CEOs about enforcing return-to-office policies.
In an email to Insider, Brielle wrote that while she’s grateful to have her corporate job in the New York area after five months of post-college searching, “it is discouraging and understandable why Americans are burnt out and mental illness levels are high.” She also worries about office workers not finding enough time to enjoy “sunlight, exercise, adequate sleep, healthy eating, and forming connections with other people.”