The Return is a podcast series that explores the challenges and opportunities of the workforce in a post-pandemic world. In season two, the podcast focuses on the experiences of Gen Z, the youngest generation of workers, who entered the job market during a time of unprecedented uncertainty and change. The podcast is hosted by Cloey Callahan, a Gen Zer and senior reporter at WorkLife, a publication by Digiday Media that covers the future of work.
The first episode of the season introduces the listeners to the background and context of Gen Z, who were born between 1997 and 2012. The podcast argues that Gen Z is a resilient and adaptable generation, who have faced major world events and crises throughout their lives, such as 9/11, mass shootings, climate change, and the Covid-19 pandemic. These events have shaped their worldview, values, and expectations from work and life.
The podcast features the story of Jerah Reeves, a Gen Zer who works at the Binghamton University School of Management in New York State. Reeves had to abandon his dream of becoming an NFL football player when the pandemic hit, and switch careers entirely. He shares how he coped with the loss of his identity and passion, and how he found a new purpose and direction in his current role.
Gen Z’s quest for mentorship: Learning and growing
The second episode of the season explores the importance of mentorship for Gen Zers, who are eager to learn and grow in their careers. The podcast discusses how the remote work environment has impacted the ability of Gen Zers to find and connect with mentors, who can offer them guidance, feedback, and support. The podcast also examines how Gen Zers are redefining mentorship, by seeking out “friend-torships”, or peer-to-peer relationships that are based on mutual respect and collaboration.
The podcast features the story of Danielle Farage, a Gen Z entrepreneur who runs a digital marketing agency. Farage tells how she leverages social media platforms, such as TikTok and LinkedIn, to find and reach out to potential mentors, who can help her grow her business and skills. She also shares how she builds trust and rapport with her mentors, and how she reciprocates by offering her own insights and value.
Gen Z’s drive for change: Values and impact
The third episode of the season examines how Gen Zers are motivated by values and impact, and how they seek to work for organizations that align with their vision and mission. The podcast reveals how Gen Zers are willing to sacrifice higher pay or prestige for working at a company that demonstrates corporate social responsibility, and how they are not afraid to challenge the status quo and demand change in the workplace.
The podcast features the story of Aldrin Villahermosa II, a recent college graduate who pursued a master’s degree in public health. Villahermosa explains how he was inspired by his upbringing in Hawaii, where he witnessed the shortage of healthcare workers and the systemic issues in the public health sector. He shares how he chose a career that aligns with his values and passion, and how he hopes to make a positive difference in his community and beyond.
The podcast also features the story of Genessee Floressantos, an associate publicist at HarperCollins Publishers, who was part of the nearly 90-day strike that took place in 2023. Floressantos describes how she and her fellow workers joined a union to fight for better working conditions, wages, and benefits, and how they faced resistance and retaliation from the management. She reflects on how the strike was a learning experience and a catalyst for change, not only for her, but for the entire publishing industry.
Gen Z’s future outlook: Opportunities and challenges
The fourth episode of the season looks ahead at the future of work for Gen Zers, and what opportunities and challenges they will face in the coming years. The podcast analyzes how Gen Zers are preparing themselves for the rapidly changing and evolving job market, and how they are embracing new technologies, skills, and modes of work. The podcast also considers how Gen Zers are balancing their personal and professional lives, and how they are coping with the stress and uncertainty of the post-pandemic world.
The podcast features the story of Maya Patel, a Gen Zer who works as a software engineer at a tech company. Patel talks about how she learned to code at a young age, and how she pursued a career in a field that is dominated by men. She shares how she overcame the challenges of impostor syndrome, sexism, and burnout, and how she found her voice and confidence in her work. She also reveals how she manages her work-life balance, and how she finds joy and fulfillment in her hobbies and passions.
The podcast also features the story of Kevin Lee, a Gen Zer who works as a freelance writer and content creator. Lee explains how he decided to pursue a non-traditional career path, and how he leverages his creativity and versatility to find and complete various projects. He shares how he deals with the instability and unpredictability of his work, and how he sets his own goals and boundaries. He also reveals how he stays connected and engaged with his clients and peers, and how he uses social media to showcase his work and personality.
The Return: A podcast worth listening to
The Return is a podcast that offers a fascinating and insightful glimpse into the lives and minds of Gen Zers, who are the future of the workforce. The podcast is well-researched, well-produced, and well-hosted, and features diverse and compelling stories of real Gen Zers who are navigating the post-pandemic world. The podcast is not only informative, but also entertaining, inspiring, and relatable, and appeals to listeners of all ages and backgrounds. The podcast is a must-listen for anyone who is interested in learning more about Gen Z, and how they are shaping and transforming the world of work.