A 20-year-old was labeled spoiled for saying she doesn't want a 9-to-5. She's determined to prove the critics wrong.

When Zoe Wynns, a 20-year-old musician, posted a video expressing her reluctance to work a traditional 9-to-5 job in October, she never expected it to gain such massive attention. The video, in which she urged people to support her music by streaming it, went viral after being shared by an account called "End Wokeness," known for resharing right-wing viewpoints. The account's post, which garnered 2.1 million views, stated, "Get ready. This is our new workforce." It's worth noting that larger accounts often amplify smaller creators' content, leading to viral exposure. Despite "End Wokeness" boasting 2 million followers, Wynns' Instagram following is relatively modest, at under 2,900 people.

Following the surge in attention, Wynns faced significant criticism from some X users, who voiced their opinions on her generation and their approach to work. This backlash is reflective of the broader conversation around Gen Z individuals grappling with the realities of corporate life, a topic that has garnered widespread attention in recent months. In response, Wynns, a student of Music and English, emphasized that her generation is indeed hardworking and expressed her determination to defy negative perceptions.  

Wynns understands why some viewers interpreted her comments as 'spoiled,' but says she was misunderstood

Wynns, who is currently studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told BI she was inspired to make the video because of her experience coming towards the end of her time at college.

She said many of her friends are being pushed into taking the "safe route" by getting a job instead of pursuing creative opportunities, and added that she "wanted to make a video talking about how I had so much creative passion and I really didn't want to do this thing that the system says that we should do — the 40 hours a week."

Reflecting on her video's virality, she said she does work very hard on her passions, but acknowledged she didn't make that clear in her original video. She also said she wished to apologize to anyone she offended with her comments.

She told BI that her typical week involves posting every day on social media, working to get her music out into the world, and trying to get good grades at college, among other things. In a previous statement given to BI, she said she spends "80+ hours" a week on "music and other pursuits."

Some viewers who watched Wynns' video referred to her as "spoiled" for not wanting to work a 9-to-5, and she told BI she could understand how her comments could have come across that way, particularly if people weren't aware of the hard work she does.

At the same time, she said she does wish that people had more "sympathy and empathy" towards her.

"I could have phrased things differently but I'm a 20-year-old in college trying to chase my dreams, and I just kind of wish that that was a little more understood," she told BI.

Wynns said Gen Z is a hardworking generation that is breaking out of work-culture norms

While Wynns said she thinks there are pros and cons to working a 9-to-5, she isn't personally drawn to this style of work because she thinks it places limits on achievement.

"You can rise through the ranks of a company but there is more of a ceiling. When you're working for yourself, in theory, there's no ceiling. You could become the next Billie Eilish tomorrow," she said.

She also said that she thinks many Gen Zers are finding "these sometimes very creative and very interesting ways to break out of the system in their own ways."

Wynns believes that the kind of work she does, "like posting every day on social media," isn't taken seriously by everyone, but she thinks Gen Z is a very creative and very hardworking generation.

She told BI she is excited to see Gen Z take the lead in society in the future. "I think there could be a lot of really positive change for the world with us."

Her post may have garnered a lot of negativity, but Wynns said she plans to disprove her critics by continuing to work hard: "If anything, I'm even more steeled now, because I've got to prove thousands of people wrong," she said.

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