Skip to main content

Long Live the Bustle

By Chris Schneider, Director, Strategic Partnerships
Published June 11, 2024

Don’t be around our house in the morning between 5 and 7 a.m. unless you like to hear the bustle of two professional workers en route to the morning West Line train to Chicago. It’s noisy and chaotic so I wisely pick this time to walk the dog. I love the sound of the bustle. It sounds like progress, ascension, and another Gen Z in the workforce. My daughter landed a great internship this summer before her senior year at college. It requires her to be dressed, ready, and downtown full-time, 4 to 5 days a week. My wife also heads to an office in the city many mornings, and well, there are no available bathrooms, but the coffee is flowing, and the drama can reach a crescendo right before their 6:41 departure.

Photo of gen z worker holding up work id with caption "Another Gen-Z joins the workforce."

If I’m home when they leave together, I can actually hear the whoosh of deflating nerves and stress as the car pulls away. The house is peaceful at their departure, like the way an airport terminal feels after a full flight leaves on time. The silence is deafening, but I am wistful and grateful for this new reality as the next generation meets the working week. My daughter likes having her freedom, and thankfully, her own wherewithal to make choices and express her personality. I find myself remembering my first job, being new to Chicago, desperately wanting to prove myself to my employer, and ever excited about the weekend.

I think that the work from home phenomena has crested and fallen, though I continue to enjoy the flexibility and utility of working from anywhere. Nothing in the remote work doctrine adequately mimics the buzz of the worker bees and the hive of activity that is downtown Chicago. Not something I can describe, but I find satisfaction in my daughter’s enthusiasm to wake up, make up, and get to it. This is a culmination of her efforts and indirectly, ours as parents. There is something sentimental and invigorating to see two generations so fruitfully engaged in commerce and professional work.

All this is to say bravo to the hiring employers. Besides a paycheck, when you find the right candidate and offer them a competitive wage, you are giving them an opportunity, a chance, and a sense of purpose and meaning. While much has been written and posted about the boundaries set necessarily to separate work and life, many newer workers find their identity in the office, the beginnings of a nascent social life, connections to colleagues, and a sense of self-fulfillment that comes with contributing to society in a meaningful way. Furthermore, work keeps away idleness and all its trappings. I’m sure the Puritans would say that “busy” is its own reward, but another upside of being productive is that it can reveal character and self-determination in life.

When we recently hired for a Membership Development Specialist, I knew HR Source had an outstanding opportunity for the right candidate. Our team was seeking an individual with enthusiasm, authenticity, fearlessness, and the drive to take our Association to the next level. We were lucky to find Cheryl Shumake, who has proven out our concept and continues to be a big contributor in service of our members and our mission. Enthusiasm is the one quality that seems to trump experience and that fact creates opportunity to anyone wanting to start a new career or join the workforce in earnest. 

Just get out of the way when enthusiasm needs to make the 6:41 a.m. train!