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16th May 2023

Billionaire says young people are ‘too busy on TikTok’ to work hard and start a career

Steve Hopkins

‘The harder you work, the easier it gets to win’

A billionaire businessman has put the boot into Gen Z, saying they’re “too busy on TikTok” to work hard enough to build a career.

John Catsimatidis, CEO of US supermarket chain Gristedes Foods and the Red Apple Group, claims to have put in 70-hour weeks in his younger days to build his empire.

But the 74-year-old, who was a college dropout and worked menial jobs before he made it, says young people invest too much time in social media, to really get a career going.

Working at a supermarket, Catsimatidis told working in a supermarket taught him the value of earning an honest paycheck.

“If you’re working 100 hours a week, and it’s not working, you’d better work 120,” he told the publisher. “You can’t win if you’re afraid of losing.”

After graduating from Brooklyn Tech High School, after moving to New York from Greece as a baby, Catsimatidis was pushed by his mum into taking a job at a local grocery store.

At the time, he recalled to the Mail, “I was ready to sleep on the couch for the whole summer and watch television.”

Instead, he soon started doing 70-hour weeks.

Catsimatidis, who is now worth more than $4 billion today, said he would end every day by making sure everything was set up right for the next day, a habit that became “one of the building blocks that set up his future success”.

He attended New York University, but dropped out just short of graduating, to take part-ownership in his first supermarket, from which he grew an empire.

By age 24, Catsimatidis claims he was making a million dollars a year.

His advice for young people: “Hire people that know more than you do. I had zero financial background, but I hired well. And I built a great relationship with people in the food business and real estate business, and I ended up with a lot of mentors.”

Education is also key, Catsimatidis said; “I made sure both my kids got the best education, and it helped them make friends worldwide. Then, it’s just a combination of a good education and keeping your nose clean and working harder.”

But it all boils down to hard work: “That’s one of the problems we are having in our country these days, the kids are busy playing TikTok.

“The harder you work, the easier it gets to win,” he added. “Look at people only working three days a week, and I’ll show you failures.”

Read’s interview with John Catsimatidis here.

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