That’s so extra! Over-45s use Gen Z slang in bid to get down with the kids at work, survey finds 

That’s so extra! Over-45s use Gen Z slang in bid to get down with the kids at work, survey finds

Does your use of modern slang hit so different that it’s goals? Or are you just basic?

Older workers are increasingly adopting Generation Z phrases such as these to try to connect with their younger colleagues, a survey has found.

More than one in three middle-aged people say they are using the language of those new to the workplace to fit in. And even one in four over-65s have changed their vocabulary to match the youngsters.

The survey does not record whether the attempts by the over-45s actually work, or whether Gen Z – teenagers up to those in their mid-20s – find it ‘cringe’.

New phrases include ‘I’m feeling it’ to express agreement, ‘hits different’ to describe something much better than usual or ‘sleep on’ to describe something being overlooked, as in: ‘My boss has gone to sleep on my skills.’ 

A survey has found that older workers are increasingly adopting Gen Z phrases to connect with their younger colleagues

Other slang being taken up by the older generation include ‘goals’, which can be used to compliment an achievement such as ‘that’s goals’, and ‘extra’ to describe something over-the-top.

And ‘basic’ is now a critical term to describe someone devoid of any interesting or distinctive characteristics or tastes.

Simon Wingate, managing director of jobs website Reed – which carried out the study – said: ‘When people use shared language at work, it’s about making them feel closer to their colleagues. 

‘It’s a natural development that new phrases used by younger workers also get adopted by older employees who want to be able to create common ground with their younger colleagues.’

But researchers also found some older workers may be using slang as a way of teasing Gen Z. More than one in 20 over-45s said they used new phrases as a joke.


HITS DIFFERENT – To describe something significantly better than usual, for example: ‘Lunch just hits different when someone else is paying.’ 

THAT’S GOALS – When something has gone well, such as: ‘I passed my driving test on the first attempt! That’s goals.’

IT’S GIVING – A glowing, positive affirmation, for example: ‘I love your outfit, it’s giving.’ 

SLEEP ON – Not giving something the attention it deserves, eg: ‘My boss is sleeping on my talents.’ 

EXTRA – Over the top. As in: ‘He lost his temper when they were out of chai latte. That’s so extra.

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