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Making Sense of Gen Z

Who's ready for a new generation to enter the workforce? Well, like it or not, Gen Z is on their way in, and - stop me if you've heard this one before - they're different from all the preceding generations. How exactly? Well, no clue. That's why we invited Anthony Onesto, advisor, chief people officer, Gen Z & Future of Work Visionary and author of The New Employee Contract to the podcast. All kidding aside, a generation who's grown up in the shadow of 9/11, the Great Recession and a global pandemic, all while never knowing a world without internet and a smartphone are bound to introduce a wide variety of nuance to the world. And that, of course, includes recruitment and retention in new and sometimes scary ways. If you're hiring Gen Z, and hoping they stay awhile, you owe it to yourself to tune into this episode.

Intro: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up, boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.


Chad Sowash: Oh, yeah. It's Mr. Beast's favorite podcast. What's up everybody? You're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheesman, joining me as always, the only to my fans, Chad Sowash is in the house.

Joel Cheesman: Here we go.

Chad Sowash: And please help us welcome Anthony Onesto, advisor, chief People Officer, and Gen Z and Future of Work Visionary.

Anthony Onesto: Say what?

Chad Sowash: He also what authored a book entitled The New Employee Contract. Anthony, welcome to the podcast.

Anthony Onesto: Thank you both. I love the intro music, by the way. I was doing, air guitar as it was going on.


Chad Sowash: We do intros that the kids will enjoy. That's our goal on the show. Yeah. Anthony, a lot of our people don't know who you are, including me for the most part. Give us a little Twitter bio about you.


Anthony Onesto: It's nice to see the research was done. Wonderful. Let's just let this strange person on. I'm a Chief people officer, like you said, work for a company called Suzy. I've been in HR for quite a long time. Gray hair. I've been doing this for over 20 plus years. I advise HR tech companies. And during COVID, I was like, you got a lot of extra time in my hands. I should probably do something with that. And I said, why don't I write a book? And I picked the topic that I found interesting and could be beneficial. Gen Z in the market, in the talent market.

Chad Sowash: So, real quick, you mentioned homework. I did a search on Gmail to see if we had some notes for this show. And I searched your name and amazingly, I've been spamming you for a long time. So we've known each other sort of passively, and I should know a lot about you. But unfortunately, there weren't sort of a Cliff Notes, for this show. So we're gonna wing it. We are in this for seven years so far. We are professionals. We can get through this three old, middle aged white guys talking about Gen Z. Let's do this.

Anthony Onesto: Perfect.

Joel Cheesman: Which leads me to the segue, what are three Gen X-ers doing, talking about Gen Z. Anthony, what actually made you focus on the Gen Z, that generation?

Anthony Onesto: Yeah, it's a great question. First of all, I have to spam block you now, since you've been emailing me. So I have to make sure I do that.

Chad Sowash: Oh, that's a lot of domains. You're gonna have to go through.


Anthony Onesto: Is it? Yeah.

Chad Sowash: Yeah. It is.

Anthony Onesto: A lot of international, icons.


Anthony Onesto: I get it.

Chad Sowash: Cyprus.


Anthony Onesto: Well, when millennials came into the workforce, we were kind of surprised, right? Like, they're, we were like, oh, they don't think like us. They don't talk like us. They don't want things like us. And of course, whenever we have a new, I always say, whenever we have something new that comes into a construct, what do we do? It's like a virus, right? We attack it. They're lazy. They're this, they're that. We start name calling. I said, I really don't think that's a good strategy, especially for HR or leaders. And I knew this new generation, I have three kids. They're all Gen Z. I'm like, they're coming into this workforce. I wonder if they want something different. And guess what they do? And I said, let me write about it.

Chad Sowash: Can you define them at this point? Can you sort of crystallize what they are?

Anthony Onesto: IPhone forward.


Anthony Onesto: It is probably the best. I mean, other than dates, I think the iPhone was launched in 2006-ish. I believe.

Chad Sowash: 2007.

Anthony Onesto: Or 2007. So think about...

Chad Sowash: Chad was first in line.


Anthony Onesto: Really?


Chad Sowash: Kidding. He hates Apple.

Anthony Onesto: You had the...

Chad Sowash: He's totally...

Anthony Onesto: Oh, no.

Joel Cheesman: I was a little known fact though. I did have an iPhone until I ejected, because, they made you, first and foremost, you had to buy a new phone to expand memory. I used to be able to take my battery out of the phone, which the shit would overheat all the time anyway. Anyway, I hated that Apple did that to me. So I went to Droid. Anyway, what I'm seeing here, Gen Z, just for the listeners out there, you're looking at, 1997 to, 2012. So age range of around 11 to 26.

Anthony Onesto: Yeah, that's a good marker. I think easily memorable is, this generation grew up with an iPhone, in their hand, or, maybe an Android for the less sophisticated Gen, Zers.


Chad Sowash: So they can't program a VCR is what you're saying.


Chad Sowash: They cannot figure out the date and time on a VCR.

Joel Cheesman: Oh. So, but yeah, most of us couldn't do that. I mean, come on. We lived during that time.

Chad Sowash: X may be the only generation that can.

Anthony Onesto: It's the worst thing when the power goes out. And all those devices that aren't connected to the internet are like, how do I do this again?

Chad Sowash: What do I do? Help me.

Anthony Onesto: It's 12 o'clock. It's blinking 12 o'clock forever now.

Chad Sowash: So they've known screens their whole life. They've known the internet their whole life. And more and more social media, defines who they are and how they engage and interact and, look for fulfillment in their life. Would that be a true statement?

Anthony Onesto: That's a very true statement. It's in mobile. I would even, add mobile screens. It's interesting as I watch now, this is, I've done a ton of research. I work for a company, Suzy, which is a market research platform. So we did research on Suzy. So a lot of this is built on analytics and insights, but just tangentially with my own kids, they write papers on their phones. I'm like, really? Like that is efficient. And it is. They'll talk to it.


Anthony Onesto: So mobile is the big, big piece. And I would even argue because of the proliferation of Apple, much to Chad's chagrin here, design, ease of use, that kind of stuff, is super important too. But definitely I would add mobile to that.

Joel Cheesman: So, yeah, I mean, voice to text, when we were growing up, I mean, there were so many things as Gen X-ers. I mean, and let's go back real quick. We were called Slackers, right? Yeah. Gen X were, we were slackers.

Anthony Onesto: I was never called a slacker. I don't know what you're talking.

Chad Sowash: I was, proudly.

Joel Cheesman: Sure.

Chad Sowash: Proudly.

Anthony Onesto: Oh heck.

Joel Cheesman: Every generation is told that they're just not, they don't work as hard as the prior generation, yada, yada, yada. But a lot of the things that, that we wished we had when we were growing up, like voice to text, it's available now. It's like fucking magic. Which is amazing. Which is why I think Gen X-ers are so damn good at technology, because we had to live without it, right? I mean, we were playing pong. And then the next thing, the internet comes and just boom. I mean, technology explodes. One thing I've noticed about my kids and other their friends, is that they are not incredibly tech savvy. They know the different parts of the tech. I can definitely use my mobile phone.

Anthony Onesto: But when you're starting to talk about anything that's beyond app and getting into business logic, it's really, it's hard for them. Do you find that? Is the research showing any of that? Was it just that we were in an anomaly because we wanted it so bad then it was finally there, but they've grown up with it their entire life. Do they take advantage of it or not?

Anthony Onesto: I think it advantage, right? Like, if you think about how we think of electricity, like, you go into your house, you don't really think about it until it doesn't work. So for them, it is, it's so funny, I was on a podcast and I said they were born with an iPhone in their hand. And somebody called me out. I said, really? They were born? I'm like, of course I'm speaking metaphorically.


Anthony Onesto: But you always have that like, yes. Yeah. They came out and there was an iPhone in their hand and they were calling people. It's just normal to them. It's the, one of the things we found in the research is this idea of like customs. Like we all have customs. Like for Gen X-ers, we had a custom of a place before the internet. So we would go outside, we'd aggregate and build community outside. 'cause it was the only thing we knew. We wouldn't really, and we talked, listen, we all had, I remember when I was a young teenager had a girlfriend far away and was building up my phone charges.

Chad Sowash: Oh, God.

Anthony Onesto: And got in trouble for that too.

Chad Sowash: Remember those bills that you get on a long distance phone call?

Joel Cheesman: Yeah.

Anthony Onesto: Fun fact, my father came into the room and, we'll just say for the storyline, just unplugged it nicely. But let's just say that's not the case. But anyway.

Joel Cheesman: Not in yeah. Ripped it out of the wall. Yeah, no, I know.

Anthony Onesto: Ripped it out of the wall and Yeah. And did some other stuff.

Joel Cheesman: Yeah, I know.

Anthony Onesto: But, I'll tell you how. So, for me, it's the norms, right? These are the, like, they just know it to be a fact. So anything other than that. And that's why I think this generation, it's interesting because there's a lot of things being thrown around. You see CEOs from major organizations saying, negative things. This is the virus, right? We're attacking the virus. But this is arguably the most diverse, not arguably the data says. So it's most diverse. A lot of Gen Zers are two or more races. In fact, it's the most diverse generation. They are have such access. You remember AOL, right? . We would dial up and hear that crackle, and then if someone got a phone call, it would kick us out. They have unprecedented access to information. Think about now with ChatGPT. Wi-Fi.

Anthony Onesto: How wonderful is Wi-Fi? We take event. Like, when, by the way, Wi-Fi went down the other day, and like, it was like the, I forgot the book with the conch, right? Like, everyone was coming to me. Like, I had the Wi-Fi conch, and I had all this power. And I'm like, I don't know. Like it, Wi-Fi went out. Like, the kids world.

Chad Sowash: Don't worry our buddy Elon and Starlink are gonna fix all that. Like, everything else in the world. Don't worry, don't worry.

Anthony Onesto: Oh, yes, I have. Well, I listen, puts his mind to things and things happen. So.

Chad Sowash: Yeah, I think to that point, employers, obviously, recruiters watch our show, and it's sort of like, how do you figure out this new animal, that's coming into the jungle? How do we recruit it, retain it. Chad and I talk on the show regularly. They're, more politically motivated, I think, than most. They're environmentally conscious, more than any other generation that I can think of. They think about college differently. We all grew up, like, you gotta go to college. Like, that's how you're successful. They think of that very differently. They have gigs that they can do and not take the traditional career track. So I think a lot of employers, and please speak to this, are trying to figure this out. And will they, or what advice would you give them to understand this generation better?

Anthony Onesto: Yeah, it'd be silly for me not to say, go buy the book. So that'll be one plug there. You'll, you'll find some insights there. But, at a very summary or ChatGPT level here, it really is truly, and I don't, this is not a joke at all, but it's like understanding them, right? Like, first try to, like, oftentimes we'll make decisions or assumptions. And again, we're generalizing to a certain degree here, right? We're saying, all Gen Z does this, and, there are outliers and there's gonna be different personas within there. But for the most part, when you're thinking of recruiting, it's fundamentally everything. That's why the book is find, keep, and elevate. So it's recruiting, it's how do we engage and how do we train this generation? So it doesn't finish with recruiting, but it does start there. And it starts even before then. So let's remember mobile first, Wi-Fi, we'll put that in there. And access to global information. So when your company says, Hey, we're diverse, we're a diverse company. Yes, we are. Really? 'cause when I look in LinkedIn, all of your board of directors are white males. All of your executives are white males. All of your leaders are white.

Joel Cheesman: Hello? Goldman Sachs. Yes.

Chad Sowash: Nike.

Anthony Onesto: Pick blank company, right?

Joel Cheesman: Yes.

Chad Sowash: Exactly.

Anthony Onesto: Like, it's an, so they're gonna be like, that's bullshit. You know? And I'm not gonna be interested in your, so it starts even before then. And it's hard work. Nothing in the book is super easy, other than, Hey, get rid of all your ATS systems. 'cause they're all terrible. And the experience is awful. And I can track my pizza on Domino's, but I can't tell where my resume is at your company. Oh.


Anthony Onesto: That's some of the more tactical stuff like digital first. Like, if you're not on mobile, their mobile generation, if you're ATS is not on mobile or mobile friendly, or you have to fill in a form, connect your LinkedIn, add your firstborn, then add, your mom has to do a video confirming who you are. Like all these different steps we have. They're gone. Like, so even before all that process, they're looking into your company and saying, what's your work life balance? They're looking at LinkedIn and potentially looking at how many people are exiting your company so they have access to all this information.

Joel Cheesman: So what about TikTok? What, what about TikTok? I mean, we we're starting to see a lot of, people come out on TikTok, talk about their jobs. I mean, it seems like Gen Z is much more transparent and they just don't give a fuck. I mean, at the end of the day, it's just like, Hey, look, this is my life. I'm working for you. I'm gonna say how it's so, and many companies have huge issues with this. And then we also hear people say, well, now that's gonna stick with you for the rest of your life. But if that's the next generation, this is what we should be getting used to. Or should we not? Or should that be tamped down?

Anthony Onesto: I think there's always a middle ground with these things. So I was, you hit it. Right? So TikTok, obviously the growth of TikTok, it is the platform that this generation uses for content, right? Whether they wanna absorb. You see it in, Netflix numbers. You see it in traditional TV. TikTok is where this generation is. And whatever your position on that, it's scary. Especially if TikTok is owned by a Chinese company. But we won't get into that. They are in TikTok. And the idea of the example of cutting, eight seconds or more, or 10 seconds or 15, like this idea of really quick type of, content is really important. It's their attention spans. It's they're digital. It's that component of it. But they're non-negotiable. That is the key factor here and across, whether it's TikTok or what you're talking about, where they are recording, they're not negotiating or revising their thought process.

Anthony Onesto: If you're not diverse or you're doing something wrong, they're not afraid to say it because they are not negotiable on those things. Now, I will say that when you come into the workforce, they're also coming into a time when there has been unprecedented unemployment. So it has been a talent market. And frankly, if you subscribe to Peter Zion who wrote a book, the End of the World is just a beginning about global demographics. You'll understand that it will probably always be a talent market, even with the blips of rifts that we're seeing the ne last two years. You're coming into a leveraged market on their side. When we came in, us X-ers, when we came into the market, we were told, do what you're told. You get what you get and you don't get upset. Because there were more people than jobs. And so I think there's so many different macro elements, it's their custom. So that's why you're seeing a lot of these things. So to answer your question more succinctly, I think they will adjust. They have to, you have to accommodate to the cultural norms of organizations. You just do. But they're gonna fight against that. And that's where the friction is happening.

Chad Sowash: And to dot tell on that, one of the things that really surprises me is it looks as if anonymity is out the window, with Gen Z, Glassdoor was a thing and you were anonymous and you could sound off and no one could find you unless there was a court order, et cetera. Now people just drop bombs on companies on TikTok with no anonymity. That just seems like that's the future. That just, that's not a supply and demand thing. That's something that's gonna be business as usual with this generation. And the ones coming, they just don't care about privacy. Like we did.

Anthony Onesto: I think experience, was it, Yoda experience is the greatest teacher? I think you're probably gonna see some of that happen and some of it drawback. 'cause there are consequences to those things. You talked about it. So there was recently someone who was fired, who recorded the entire fire and posted it on TikTok, right?

Chad Sowash: Yeah.

Anthony Onesto: The whole session. On her side, unfortunately, people may be second guessing whether they want to hire her in the future. Right? That's a thing. That's a real thing that will exist. And she's gonna have to taper or governor her, transparency around that stuff. And maybe she'd be like, maybe I wouldn't put my name out next time. Who knows? On the flip side, companies gotta get better. Like the more they're getting exposed, the better the experience is gonna be. Companies that get called out, we're all watching and going, oh yeah, we really need to have this locked up when we do this stuff and make sure that we're bringing the humanity to it. Make sure we're doing this in the right way. Where a rift like that was just like, Hey, go talk to the HR person. We're gonna fire you. And that's it.

Chad Sowash: Does this generation though, think the fame is worth the risk? Because I see many polls that kids want to be TikTok influencers, YouTube influencers. So my question is, she got famous from that post. Yes, she took risk. And yes, she may see some retribution, but does this generation say, I got famous from it, and that's worth it?

Anthony Onesto: I think there's a segment. I think those polls, I've read those polls in the research we've done. This generates it's not, it's actually one of the most misconceived notions that they just want to be TikTokers or, you know. They want to be influencers. Listen, they've seen, just like when we were, growing up or watching, we'd see Michael J. Fox in a movie go from the mail room to the CEO office in an hour, right? So we were like, oh, we want to go work for a company and get that like, so they're seeing influencers and TikTokers become famous. So of course, naturally they're like, maybe that's an opportunity for me. And it's like, there is real money. You mentioned Mr. Beast at the beginning, like, amazing.

Chad Sowash: You saw what I did there.

Anthony Onesto: I don't get it. My son gets it. I don't get it. Fine. I think he's amazing. I think Taylor Swift is amazing. All these, so to answer your question, I think it's not something they all want to become. They all see the path in companies. They see, right? And by the way, what we found in the research is that they are loyal. Like even though a lot of folks say millennials weren't loyal, 'cause they job jumped this generation because they've seen such change in racial equity and climate change and all this disruption here, and they've seen in 2008 their parents, some of them getting laid off or fired or whatever it is, they want stability. That's actually one of the things in my research that's a little counter to what some of the articles say that say they want to be, no, they actually want security. They just want you, they're non-negotiable on all those other things. Like, Hey, are you diverse? Are you doing good for the world? Et cetera, et cetera.

Chad Sowash: Now, Joel asked about, he was on the transparency side of the people, right? They're out there, there's no anonymity. It seems also like a lot of the Gen Z transparency, just not themselves, but also around pay, around culture, around lifestyle, around the company. Do you believe this is going to force companies to be much more transparent so that they can attract that new talent into their organizations?

Anthony Onesto: Oh absolutely. If you look at the value of the S&P 500 over the last couple of decades it has gone from what we call assets or tangible assets to intangible assets. So now most companies are valued by their intangible assets. Upwards of 90 I would argue 95%. What that means is people in IP and software but all that IP and software until AI can write software and do all those things it's all created by people. So I think strategically companies are... They have no choice. If your value of your company is your people you're going to have to focus and this is the next generation coming in so they're going to have to figure out how to manage this. It might not be I think the... I forget the supermarket chain that went fully transparent. I think they even published a book of everyone's salary all the way to... I think it was Wegmans years ago. I'm not suggesting that that is the right answer but some level of transparency and there is going back to Joel's comment a couple of seconds before or a couple of minutes before is this they have no shame. So they'll even call you out internally within an organization if you're not doing something which for me was like wow you're okay out on oh yeah tick-tock I get it. You're not employed but you're employed by this organization and you're calling them out. So it's going to be a really interesting time on how to manage how far or how transparent can you be versus what the expectations are.

Chad Sowash: That's a big push on the power dynamic because we grew up where obviously the boomers were raised by the greatest generation and the power dynamic was we're the greatest generation. The boomers with the Xers we were raised by them. So again it was do as I say not as I do. And Gen Zs are just like well fuck if you can do it I can do it. And we're on the same level. I don't care if I'm entry level and you're the CEO we're still human beings. And to me that is fascinating. That is incredibly fascinating. Coming into an organization and having that kind of chutzpah right out of the gate. I think it's good. I think it can be tailored but from what it sounds to me and you talked about this earlier there are a lot of CEOs that are out there and most of them are still boomers right and they're just not used to this kind of lashing out but it sounds like they're going to be moving out of the workforce no matter what. But it sounds like CEOs really need to get used to that. How... As a senior leader who one day wants to be a CEO how do you get prepared for something like that other than just having those kids?

Anthony Onesto: Yeah I mean. That's helpful because you get real time qualitative feedback from those kids. Again I think it's really truly understanding whether it's my book or any book or any article that's written about what this is all about. I think you have a great point in terms of X versus Z they are coming in they have no fear. They have the chutzpah as you call it but everything that they're... I was on a session of a webinar and I was talking about it and someone commented are they asking for too much? And I went through the list of like Hey they want racial diversity. They want... How is your company impacting the climate? They want compensation transparency. They want... I'm like name which one of these things that we wouldn't want. We just never asked for it I want the earth to be livable. I want racial equity in companies and everyone treated fairly. There's nothing that they're asking for that none of us would agree with. It's just how they're approaching it as this is non-negotiable. So I think as a CEO you really need to truly understand one instead of throwing that antibody at the virus understand. Why? Why is this generation like this? Why do they feel like they have the chutzpah just coming in and kind of throwing a demand on slack in front of the whole entire company?

Anthony Onesto: What is it about it wrong or right? And that'll be a decision. What does that mean wrong or right? Is that wrong? I mean it feels wrong. I wouldn't do it.

Joel Cheesman: I blame participation trophies but that's just me.

Chad Sowash: Yeah. But if you think about it though that's the first thing in negotiations is that you ask for more than what you think you're going to get. And if we've done our jobs as Gen X parents to the Gen Z kids we've taught them that this is how the world works. If you ask for what you want you're not going to get it. You've got to be able to start negotiation wise. You've got to start up high and come down low. Everybody was giving the UAW a hard time for asking for four day work weeks and this that and the other things. Like no those are basic negotiation tactics. I think we're just surprised that these kids these young adults are negotiating better than we did when we were their age.

Anthony Onesto: Surprised maybe jealous 'cause we... Again we came in. But I do think it's the power dynamic. I think you're seeing so the new employee contract the title of the book is that dynamic that macro. So that's the macro part of the book. What's happened in the economy, why are we seeing these things? What is... Is the dynamic shifting from capital to labor? And we are seeing a lot of that. We've seen that over the last couple of years and I think listen we've hit a little blip in the tech layoffs. Professor Galloway talks about the Patagonia recession which I love that reference of defence.

Joel Cheesman: Patagonia vests. Yeah.

Anthony Onesto: Yeah. It's that kind of stuff. I think we see a little blip. And then on the flip side unions are at the lowest level they've ever been at but we've seen some pretty incredible unionization efforts in 2023. The artist or the movie one is a little bit different fighting against AI but you're seeing this movement of activity and so yeah I think there is definitely a capital to labor dynamic that's changing. And I do believe honestly after reading Peter's book on demographics that that... I read an article in the FT yesterday about how Japan is deploying drones and robots into their fields 'cause they have a labor shortage in Japan because too many folks are getting too older. And I was like okay that's interesting. Yes there's a labor shift but what Peter argues in his book and I highly suggest it. It's a long one and it's really deep on economic history in the globe but he also talks about the consumption so even if we have robots and drones making stuff who's buying it? If there's no one everyone's getting older or dying out you have a problem here. You have a real shift in economic issues around the globe. So anyway I went really tangent there but the idea is there is a shift happening and it's a global shift. It's a macro shift.

Joel Cheesman: By the way whenever I get jealous about younger generations I just think back to the magic of the eight-track tapes and know that I had it better than everyone else. Anthony I want to pivot back to your comment in regards to them wanting to be stable sort of safe which makes total sense in a generation of 9/11 and pandemics and 08 and et cetera, et cetera. With that information I would say okay the gig economy is in trouble. That's not stability is it? I would say schools are going to benefit being college 'cause that feels like a safe thing to do. And I would say that marriage should be on the upswing because having a stable family structure nuclear family seems like a safe thing to do. But all of those things are not happening. The gig economy is exploding. People aren't going to college the way that they used to and people aren't marrying the way that they used to. So can you help explain that to me how those two things can be true but also in contrast to each other?

Anthony Onesto: Yeah I think part of it is understanding that maybe some of those stabilization norms are ours and not theirs. So I think there's some... One is like job and gig so I think that if there is the shift in the gig economy and I really haven't seen too much of that data. In my experience at least we have full-time employees. They're coming in. I mean there's no other path right now for kids. Years ago we had wood shop and by the way it was terrible. I almost killed my wood shop feature. [laughter] Auto shop. I cracked whatever they...

Chad Sowash: Electricity.

Joel Cheesman: Fargo before Fargo.

Anthony Onesto: Yeah.

Joel Cheesman: The wood chipper.

Anthony Onesto: It was terrible. But there was a path to that kind of work and I think that went away 'cause it's... Everyone is like you got to go to college. But some of the highest paying jobs I know of is plumber electrician. I don't see the college numbers. I think college has become so expensive but I don't see a lot of kids not going. I think that's still an element. A lot of kids are going to college. They see that as the next step. I think the gig economy is because we're starting to think of jobs as skills not necessarily a job. So what I mean by that is there's a specific task. So if I am a digital marketer and I need to understand SEO there's really no university that's going to teach me how to do that. I might be able to take a course online but it's a skillset that I am going to learn. And I want to hire somebody. I don't care if you went to an Ivy League or a community college. If you know how to do SEO or you know how to media buy on LinkedIn your degree is useless to me. So I think when you think of the gig economy specifically I think it's being able to have these skill sets roll up into a full-time job. So I think it's part of the fundamental change that I talk about in the book is rethinking how we're even thinking about jobs and how jobs are performed. And we're starting to see that. We pulled education off of I think 95% of our job titles where it wasn't relevant.

Anthony Onesto: We do market research. It does require some level of education some level of PhD on the data science side but for the most part we're not requiring any of that. We just want you to know and display that you can actually do the job. So I think that's an element of that. On the marriage piece I think they're finding... What I found is the shift there at least in the research and what I'm seeing even outside of the book in the work that I did is that they're not finding that as a source of stability. They're leaving churches and religion and all that other stuff. They're using the job in that environment as a pivotal point of stability and friendship like now add COVID in there and obviously no one could do anything else but I don't think they're looking at families as that end game of stability which again if you hearken back to my comments about Peter Zion that we're in trouble the US we should be okay. He predicts the US will have minor demographic challenges but a lot of folks are going to be coming into the US 'cause it's really the only beacon of economic prosperity he predicts. But so it's a bit nuanced. So I think they can exist 'cause I don't think it's a zero in one or it's linear. I think it's... These things can exist to a certain degree and I think there might be other forces that are impacting those numbers.

Chad Sowash: So in a world of generative AI you have created a ChatGPT I mean literally a chatbot to be able to scale your knowledge. Tell me about the impetus of that. You were probably pretty excited and what did you use data wise to be able to train the bot so it didn't just start hallucinating and giving out crazy ass recommendations to people who're using the bot. So tell us what the bot is and then tell us how you trained it et cetera.

Anthony Onesto: Yeah and just so you know you mentioned generative AI. So the AI gods will save us today. We have to say it at least once.

Chad Sowash: Thank God.

Anthony Onesto: So that they'll not come down on us or when the... As the group of Roman Aideman...

Joel Cheesman: Skynet.

Anthony Onesto: Skynet, yeah I don't know how I forgot that. So to your point...

Joel Cheesman: Two out of three Gen Xers can name Skynet. We just proved that point.

Anthony Onesto: Exactly, exactly with very little context. I have book debt. I wrote this when I launched it. I love books of someone will say Chad and Joel wrote this really cool book and I'll be like all right I'm going to buy it and then it sits there. It's just honestly and it's not a knock on you two. I don't even know if you have a book but...

Joel Cheesman: Coloring book. Yeah.

Anthony Onesto: It's just... It sits there until I'm ready to read it but I'll buy 10 books and read one. So I'm like people might be buying my book. There's one person in the Midwest that basically threw it out. She wrote a review on Amazon and said it was junk gamut. I'm like okay I'll own that. I can't make everyone happy.

Chad Sowash: Transparency. Okay.

Anthony Onesto: I like pulling that out by the way I screenshotted it. Because listen whatever everyone has their opinion. But folks may buy it and not really use it 'cause they're like me and they're just like oh that's an interesting book and never get to it and that's audio books too. 'Cause I ride bike and so I like audio books too. The ChatGPT was an opportunity to take the entire book infuse it into the chatbot take the research we did on Suzy all the data we put in there and said okay let me throw this in there and see what happens so when they first launched it before it went public it was sitting in the backend where I would just test it. I shared it with a couple of friends in the HR space 'cause as your point. We see I think there was one that was just spun up in the UK. It was a customer service bot that the person convinced the bot to convince them not to use the company that it was a terrible company to use. So you've got to be careful with these things. And I don't even know now that it's public there might be... I think it's controlled guidance but I thought it as an opportunity to make an extension. Okay all right if you want to buy the book yes no one's getting rich off of that but I want my knowledge to be out there. Here's another way it's another avenue. It's kind of like when the app store came on and everyone started creating apps and most of us never passed that first screen.

Anthony Onesto: Well for Chad your Google phone or whatever it is you're using there. But for the iPhone we very rarely go to the second or third screens. It's the same thing right? We're going to see a proliferation of these things. Most of them are going to be useless. Mine might be useless. Hopefully someone will find value sit in a meeting with the Gen Z-er and chat while they're meeting and saying they're saying this and how do I respond? And maybe it becomes helpful to them. But it was an extension of the book in a very... I would say a unique way so that was really the spirit of it and I don't even know what'll happen with it. There's not a lot of data or transparency around this whole GPT store. I don't even anyone is using it. But that was the purpose. Let me take the book and see if I can create a different experience.

Chad Sowash: Sounds like a genius way to get out of parenting. Just have your kids ask my generative AI bot what you should do and not do. And I can just watch Netflix and eat Chipotle.

Chad Sowash: That might be a real world by the way.

Anthony Onesto: I want to go back. You mentioned Professor Galloway 'cause he also has a professor Galloway AI that you can ask him questions but he talks a lot about young men being sort of lonely opting out of the general norms of society. I talked about college and you said that people are going to college women more so than men today. I want you to just talk about Gen Z men where their head is what they expect out of life how are they different than other generations 'cause I think that's something that's worth noting.

Anthony Onesto: Yeah it's a great question. I mean I'll be perfectly honest we didn't really do too much gender split in the research. I mean there's some that came about in the research but we didn't dive heavily. We wanted more of a I would say a holistic view of the generation but specifically what we saw I think one of the elements we haven't talked about. So we talked about mobile and other things but really the gaming element with this generation is huge. And that's both male and female. Traditionally male traditionally male on the gaming side in terms of the company and the engineers. But there is a large amount of female gamers that are starting to enter the space. I think gaming has a real interesting when you think of the male and again most of it is male. They're interacting online so this is again a custom norm. We didn't have this stuff before AOL chat rooms and all that sort of stuff. So we'd have to go outside knock on a door or I think there's a great meme it said... It had a bunch of bikes in front of a house and that's how you knew where everyone was. So those were just norms we were used to where we're here the gaming and the interaction and I have this with my own son he's 17. Big gamer has always been a big gamer and we're like go outside. And I think those things are important don't get me wrong.

Anthony Onesto: I think it's important for exercise get out. It's been proven. There's science behind it. But I'm not judging him for having his interactions on a gaming system. He's comfortable. I hear him in his room has his headphone which I should probably borrow for our next podcast probably gonna be helpful. And he's talking to his friends and he's laughing. But it's unusual for us because we like this. We like the in-person interaction so while I agree with Professor Galloway it's clear the numbers are there. Every active shooter that's out there it's nine times out of 10 if not 100% male. It's a young male. There is a problem there's a real issue here. A lot of folks always point to gaming and other things. I don't know I'm not that sophisticated to name that but I think from a Gen Z this is the norm. They like the gaming they like the online elements they like that kind of thing. And then I think if they do go to college or other things I think we have to figure out what is if it was church or going outside or community events I love sports. I love the idea of sports. I would infuse almost what Israel does with Professor Galloway talks about the Peace Corps and things like that. I think those are great ideas like forcing people into these things into a community where they connect as a team 'cause I think that's the element that is going to be missed.

Anthony Onesto: And when you go to college that's obviously forced on you. If you don't go to college it's not. But I think it's an important element of success is that ability to have that. So there's got to be the way to infuse that. And I think young sports any sport is a great way to do that. But in the data that we're seeing they're very comfortable in that space. And it's something that I don't have a solution for but it was definitely something we saw in the data especially around the gaming elements.

Chad Sowash: Excellent. Well that's Anthony Onesto everyone. So Anthony if somebody wants to buy the book write you a bad review or I don't know just connect with you where would you send them.

Anthony Onesto: For the bad review you can go to the Barnes & Noble on Route nine. No.

Joel Cheesman: Your local library.

Anthony Onesto: Your local library and throw it in the binder in the front of it. Don't do that it's a fee and you'll get in trouble. Amazon has the book. We don't have an audio book yet. We'll get there at some point. But Amazon Kindle you can get it there. You go to my website You can learn more about me, you find the book all that sort of stuff.

Joel Cheesman: Thank God we've stopped talking about the fucking millennials. That's another one in the can Chad we out.

Chad Sowash: We out.

Outro: Thank you for listening to what's it called a podcast the Chad the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting they talk about technology but most of all they talk about nothing. Just a lot of shout outs of people you don't even know and yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about cheese. Not one cheddar blue nacho Pepper Jack Swiss. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Anyhoo. Be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play or wherever you listen to your podcasts. That way you won't miss an episode. And while you're at it visit Just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. It is so weird. We out.


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