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The Return

English, Finance, 2 seasons, 14 episodes, 6 hours 5 minutes
Digiday is proud to present The Return, a podcast about what the return to the office can look like as corporate America adapts to the new, not quite post-pandemic normal. The Return follows the staff at one Atlanta-based advertising agency through Covid outbreaks, as well as the highs and lows of transitioning to hybrid work after two years of pandemic lockdown and working remotely. While the future of work is still under construction, employees across the country are forging their own paths to determine what that future looks like amidst parenthood, corporate mandates, long commutes and an ever-looming pandemic. The Return is hosted by Kimeko McCoy, senior marketing reporter at Digiday, and produced by Digiday audio producer Sara Patterson.
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Layoffs, promotions, endless job searching

Since we first started reporting for season two of The Return in January, a lot has changed. Our guests have continued to face uncertain workforce conditions that include, for some, layoffs or difficulty finding a job, while others have talked about how they have experienced new jobs or being promoted. Throughout the year, we’ve seen artificial intelligence continue to boom while people worry how it’ll impact their jobs, return to office mandates plaguing the country forcing people to change their schedules and ongoing challenges around employee experience. And Gen Zers are experiencing all of that for the first time, without any sort of existing playbook. But Gen Zers aren’t shy to change, which we’ve covered throughout this season. On this episode, we circle back to talk to a few guests who we spoke with earlier this season to see where they’re at now. Is Julie still balancing multiple jobs at once? Did Aldrin find a job that aligns with his values? Is Genesse happy with the working
13/12/202331 minutes 32 seconds
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Trans Gen Zers Are Looking For Inclusivity

Gen Zers are thinking about their identities and how they want to show up at work. This generation is all about authenticity, but for non-binary or transgender persons, that might mean jeopardizing your job, which is a lot to consider. Corporate America has stepped up its support of LGBTQ+ rights. It is more widely accepted to be out in terms of sexual identity in the workplace. However, there is still a long road ahead to foster a truly inclusive environment, especially when it comes to gender identity. Gen Z young adults are much more likely to identify as either trans or nonbinary than other generations. A Gallup survey found that the number of Gen Z people identifying as transgender is twice that of millennials. In this episode, we speak to Gen Z founder Yen Tan who came out during the pandemic. The pandemic created a laundry list of negative impacts, but one positive outcome was that it gave people time to discover more about themselves during their time working from home. Since t
06/12/202336 minutes 24 seconds
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Goodbye LinkedIn, Hello TikTok

WorkTok, or CareerTok, is in full force. Combined, those hashtags on TikTok have over four billion views. There are sneak peaks into “a day in my life” from the perspective of everyone from McDonald’s employees to top executives at Fortune 500s. You can hear people vent about how they struggle to nail a work-life balance and there are those who share their 9 to 5 routines and how they find time for fun things to do after work. And there are salary transparency videos and even tips from career experts on how to land a job. In fact, Gen Zers are swapping LinkedIn for TikTok, realizing they can find job opportunities in an environment that is more attuned to their career and workplace goals and hopes. Andrea Moreno, who we speak to in this episode, is one of them. She landed her job as a PR account executive thanks to a TikTok connection. Also in this episode we speak to a WorkTok creator, Jerry Lee. His account is devoted to giving career advice, including how to optimize the job search
29/11/202325 minutes 39 seconds
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Being a Gen Z boss

Our whole lives we're told to look up to older people, learn from them and take their guidance. But what happens when a Gen Zer ends up in a leadership position managing people older than them? We spoke to Gen Z bosses about the realities they face as they work with older generations. They’re bringing fresh perspectives that might be misunderstood by more seasoned workers. In this episode, we check back in with Jerah Reeves, who we spoke to earlier in the series, to see how he handles these dynamics. Reeves is the coordinator of the transformational leaders program at Binghamton University of New York, where he helps students – many of whom are older than him. Leaders are getting younger overall. Nearly a third of newly appointed S&P 500 CEOs last year were younger than 50 years old, which is more than twice the rate in 2018, according to research from McKinsey & Company. Want to be featured in a future episode? All season we’ve been hearing directly from Gen Z workers about their expe
15/11/202326 minutes 2 seconds
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Does Gen Z Really Lack Job Loyalty?

The days of working for one employer for the majority of your life are long gone. Our relationship with work has slowly evolved over time. In 2022, 22% of workers aged over 20 years old spent a year or less at their jobs – the highest percentage with a tenure that short since 2006, according to data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. About 33% spent two years or less in their jobs over the same period. But Gen Z takes it a step further: they aren't even dedicated to a single employer at one time. According to research from marketing data and analytics company Kantar, 40% of Gen Zers report having two or more jobs. That’s a figure that suggests that “quiet quitting” is no more than the need to be at their next job on time. In this episode of The Return, we talk to two Gen Zers who have opposite beliefs regarding job loyalty. Kyle Lawerence stayed at his first job in the finance industry for 14 months, even though he didn't enjoy it because he was fully remote and it was hard
08/11/202331 minutes 35 seconds
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Gen Z Wants to Change The World - Or At Least The Workplace

In this episode, we break down how important corporate social responsibility is to Gen Zers looking for a job. Making sure that a company’s values align with their own is at the top of their checklist. That mindset has impacted their job search, to the point they even say no to the highest paying positions to work at a company that closely aligns with their values instead. Choosing a career that aligns with your values was the case for recent college graduate Aldrin Villahermosa II. Growing up on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii, he saw a shortage of healthcare workers and systemic issues in the public health sector. That's why he pursued a master's degree in public health. And Gen Zers aren't just choosing a career that aligns with what they value – they're joining unions too. Genessee Floressantos, associate publicist, international sales at HarperCollins Publishers, tells us what it was like to be a part of HarperCollins' nearly 90-day strike.
01/11/202335 minutes 11 seconds
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How Are Gen Z Finding Mentors?

In this episode, we talk about the importance of mentorship in the workplace. There’s an awful lot to learn from experienced workers, and there has been a long tradition of passing down that experience – usually, in the office. But when Gen Z entered the workforce, it was remote. How did that impact building mentorship in the earlier days of their careers?  Tracy Ziemer, one of host Cloey Callahan's first mentors, shares what advice she passed on to Callahan over Zoom at the beginning of her career. And Danielle Farage, a Gen Z entrepreneur, tells us how she is redefining mentorship with the idea of "friend-torships."
25/10/202320 minutes 19 seconds
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Gen Z’s Origin Story

In this episode, we cover Gen Z’s origin story: they were raised to be resilient from the get-go. We discover how major world events – being born around 9/11, entering school during the time of mass shootings, then graduating into a pandemic – have shaped them as they enter the workforce today. And we meet Jerah Reeves, a Gen Zer who works at the Binghamton University School of Management in New York State, who had to leave behind his dream of being an NFL football player, and switch careers entirely, when Covid-19 hit.
18/10/202324 minutes 50 seconds
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Introducing The Return Season Two

WorkLife is proud to present season two of The Return, a podcast about what it’s like for Gen Z to enter the workforce for the first time in a post-pandemic world. In season one, The Return followed an Atlanta-based advertising agency as the company returned to the office after a two-year pandemic hiatus. There were clear challenges among this population of workers who knew what a “normal” office used to look like. But what about a generation that is entering the workforce post-pandemic and has nothing to compare it to? That’s what we uncover across eight episodes in season two of The Return. We see headlines repeatedly accusing this generation of being lazy, unmotivated, quiet quitters. But what's the real story behind this generation's attitude about work? In season two of The Return, we speak with Gen Zers across the country to lift the lid on what motivates and inspires this young generation of workers, and how they’re not as work-shy as they’re often depicted. We also speak with s
02/10/20232 minutes 53 seconds