By Alison Nelson, Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Sometimes I’ll say a phrase at work and receive blank stares from my colleagues. It’s easy to forget that different generations have varying phrases and slang and, while the world focused on Millennials, Gen Z has slowly entered the work force. According to this article, Gen Z was born from 1996-2015. Having been born in ’96 myself, I’m 25 years old and have been at RISQ Consulting for nearly four years, making me a prime example of how the older members of Gen Z are already starting their careers.
If you find yourself working alongside a Gen Z coworker (and if you’re not already, it’s only a matter of time), you may find yourself a bit off-put by some of the things we say. Below are some common Gen Z phrases and terms, along with their definitions, so you can understand what in the world is being said.
*Say the below terms at the risk of aging yourself and embodying the “fellow kids” meme. Think of this more of a translation guide.
Phrase: What’s the tea?
Meaning: What’s the gossip? The equivalent of “what’s the skinny”
Term: Dead / 💀
Meaning: That’s funny, basically the new “lol” and cry laughing emoji 😂
Meaning: They’re not trying to place a bet. It means “ok” and “yes”, some say that it’s short for “you bet”
Phrase: It’s the _____ for me!
Meaning: Calling out something you like or dislike. This phrase can be used positively, negatively, and ironically. More often than not, it’s used negatively as a comedic insult. For example “it’s the unibrow for me”
Meaning: This means lying. It’s commonly used said like “no cap”, meaning “no lie”
Term: A bop
Meaning: A very catchy song
Meaning: Something that it cool, often used to describe a good song
Meaning: Something that is really cool
Meaning: Someone who is trying to hard to impress another person. This is usually used negatively.
Phrase: Clap back
Meaning: A comeback to an insult
Phrase: Big yikes
Since slang is constantly changing, here are a few phrases that are now considered out of vogue:
- I did a thing
- VSCO girl
- I’m not crying, you’re crying
- The struggle is real
- Sooo this happened
- I’m just gonna leave this here
Before you start to change your lingo, throw away your skinny jeans, or switch to a middle part, it’s important to note that a key characteristic of Gen Z is our value of diversity. Inclusion is also an important value to this generation so I wouldn’t worry about trying to conform to the new norms or fit in. At the end of the day, the divide between the varying generations is smaller than it seems.
I hope you found this guide helpful and enjoy working with your Gen Z coworkers, I promise, we don’t bite.