The world always had a problem with the actual youngest generation, the millennials.
Veterans (born between 1925–45) surviving the horror and consequences of the world wars were frustrated with their hippie Baby Boomer (1946–65) kids wearing funky clothes and going to Woodstock. When Generation X (1965–81) was young, people thought that they would become antisocial and brain-dead because of watching MTV, listening to weird music with their walkmans and reading comic books.
Now Millennials a.k.a. Generation Y (1982–1995) and Generation Z (1996–2007)
are said to bring on the end of humanity with their smartphones and use of social media. Oh, and don’t get me started on Alphas (born after 2008) growing up with tablets and being online from the moment their navel string is cut.
If you Google the world Generation Y or Millennials you find something like this. That we are the worst and dumbest generation ever, we are unmotivated, overconfident, lazy, entitled narcissists still living with our parents.
Well, thank you. But you know what? These articles clearly suggest something. That there is tension out there. The older generations are frustrated because we don’t work the way we are supposed to. And we are frustrated, because we have the feeling that we are not understood. And this situation isn’t helping anyone.
There is only a single difference between generations. That we grew up in different ages. We were socialized in different environments. We know different tools, and because of this, we start to solve problems or situations in a different way. What comes naturally for a generation it’s not the same for the other. It doesn’t mean that one way is better or worse. It’s just different. And that’s totally OK.
Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just the natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between you’re 15 and 35 is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re 35 is against the natural order of things.
Douglas Adams — The Salmon of Doubt
Let me give you a sneak peek into our world.
We are used to things changing around us all the time, so we are always ready for the hammer to drop. We experienced 9/11, saw the Twin Towers collapse in 2001 and erase our sense of being safe and wars break out. We saw the Internet finding its way into our homes and opening the whole world for us. We saw the iPhone revolutionise the way we share, communicate, as well as our customs in 2007. We saw the world go down during the 2008 financial crisis and our parents lose their jobs even after being loyal to a company for 20 years. We saw the Ukraine crisis break out and status quos shatter in 2013. And this all happened while we were teenagers and young adults. These events have shaped our world view.
So why are you surprised?
We are not an entitled, lazy and disloyal generation as the media loves to portray us. We are just prepared that we have to stand our ground whatever comes. Out of the blue. We are used to the fact that nothing is taken for granted anymore. It’s no wonder we work differently.
The speed of business is always changing, the economy is unpredictable and there are simply too may factors we can’t control. We have long bid goodbye to career safety and settled in for uncertainty. Our basic mode is adaptation. We are chameleons always changing, blending and learning new skills to stay alive — we are just following the constant changes of our environment.
It’s pure evolution.
Previous generations had a more or less visible plan laid out for them. After graduating from college they got a job, started a family and bought a house. It’s not that simple for us anymore. We are entering adulthood, building a career and starting our own families in an insecure age where not only technological but socioeconomic changes are coming down on us with baffling speed. Anytime, anything we have never ever dreamt about can happen — and turn the whole world upside down. In this environment it’s impossible to plan ahead for 20–30, or even 5–10 years — as the generations before us did.
But it doesn’t mean that we don’t have a vision.
Only the meaning of vision has changed. We can’t plan ahead for more than a year or two. So we have a single chance left: we have to climb the mountain ahead and regroup from there.
I know that it’s kind of trendy to trash us nowadays. But guess what. We are not that bad. We want to make the world a better place — just like you do. So why not do it together?
Generation Y expert & Presentation Trainer
My ebook (co-production with Generation Why blogger Steffi Burkhart) on Generation Y is out! Download it for free here. Or stay tuned here for my new book on debunking the Millennial myth and giving a sneak peek into what the future has in hold for us – and how to prepare for it.
Original post about millennials can be found here.