It's the rallying cry of business owners, recruiters, and cranky people who aren't getting the coffee fast enough at Starbucks.

But it's not at all new. Gen-X may complain that Gen-Z doesn't want to work (and if that's the case, they should look in the mirror as Gen-X raised the current crop of newly minted adults). Paul Fairie, a researcher and instructor at the University of Calgary, posted a fascinating viral Twitter thread documenting how the complaints are not new to this generation.

That's what we all know, and we have seen many examples of people complaining about this -- like signs in businesses that blast their lack of candidates and capable employees.

Fairie's thread includes newspaper clippings from every generation since 1894, complaining that no one wants to work anymore. The clear implication is that "my generation" works, but "you youngsters" won't work. Some samples:

  • 2006: "I can't believe the bad luck I have had in trying find someone to do some needed home improvements. It almost seems like nobody wants to work anymore and when they do work, they take no pride in what they do. How does one find a dependable worker?"
  • 1981: "Farming is my hobby now. But these rocks -- I hired two boys to clear the rocks off this land last week. But they just fooled around. They didn't want to work. Nobody wants to work anymore."
  • 1916: "Well, as near as I can find out," he answered, "the reason for food scarcity is that nobody wants to work as hard as they used to."

Culminating in 1894:

What you should learn from this.

Kids these days! It is easy enough to say that and complain. But if you aren't getting people who want to work, it's probably you and not them.

Some jobs are challenging and low-paid. It's not that people don't want to work; they don't want to do the job you offer at the pay you offer. Looking at job postings on LinkedIn and other places will tell you how many people applied for a job. You'll see some in the hundreds. 

People want to work, but they want to work on their own terms. 

Remote jobs tend to have a lot of applicants, for instance. Jobs with posted salaries are more popular than those where employers are tight-lipped. 

Gen-Z will someday complain.

Generation Alpha will one day reach the workforce. And if you're a betting person, place your money on Gen-Z and Millennials wailing about how no one wants to work anymore -- not like when they were young!

So overall, this is just part of life. Older generations should stop whining, and younger generations should stop being offended. That won't happen, but it's what should happen. Everyone lighten up and tweak your jobs until you have the right salary and work combination to attract candidates.

Because just about everyone wants to work.