Do you also feel sometimes that we are all Generation WHY?
All of our lives we’ve been told that we’re special. That we can do whatever we like with our own lives. I still remember getting my first ‘best and fairest’ award. I felt special, because I was encouraged to. We’re told to “follow our dreams” although when we try, we are accused of being overambitious and naive.
As a generation we were programmed for instantaneous praise, setting us up to be demanding and un-realistic… but we must remember who made us this way.
We are described as self-indulgent yuppies by the Baby Boomers who created the culture of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll and called lazy and un-productive by their children who were more worried about their careers.
Gen Xers were more likely to put pen to paper than save the trees it came from. Although their parents were raised in the Civil Rights era, these kids had no intentions of changing the world. Coming from parents who skinny-dipped in streams and stuck flowers in each others hair, this generation exemplifies the radical change that can occur between two generations.
Baby Boomers, they had it all. Raised post-war and coddled by parents who lived through the Great Depression. This generation’s witnessed their parents bravely fight in WWII and then watched on as their children entered another. Free tertiary education was introduced and housing costs were a lot lower than the years to follow. While the Baby Boomers have lived with their heads down, we’ve spent our life living in the clouds. I believe we were made this way.
Our generation is often illustrated as narcissistic, a word that is derived from Greek mythology. The young man named Narcissus “pined away in love” from his own image reflected in a pool of water, transforming into the flower with the same name.
Can you remember the last time you stood in a puddle and fell in love with yourself? Our optimism and confidence in self is wrongly identified as self-indulgent. We believe we can make a change, because we were told we could.
“You kids are always on your phones!”
Yes, yes we are. But when was the last time you used the mailbox to send a letter to inform everyone you’re having a bad day. Technology has evolved, and our generation with it. It’s not the time to send letters or yell over the back fence. We were the first generation to grow up with technology, a computer or smart phone has always been within our reach.
Our apparent unrealistic expectation of the workplace is also a topic that everyone prefers to discuss. “A career will not be thrown at you, you have to work hard for one.” Is that before or after we spend three to four years at University? Many of our generation are the first ones in the family to finish our Higher School Certificate let alone go to University. So excuse us for lazing around and sitting on our phones all day… It’s probably our only day we aren’t attending a lecture or working a casual job at minimum wage.
Dan Schawbel, bestselling author of Promote Yourself, and researcher of Generation Y said that seven out of ten Millennials (also known as Gen Y) have participated in volunteer work and eight out of ten donated money, goods or services last year. More than eight out of ten said making a positive change in the world is more important than professional recognition.
“Millennials are the largest, most diverse, most educated generation (in American history). Instead of getting frustrated with them, support them as they make positive change in our world.” said Schawbel.
So to the Gen Ys out there who are slammed by the generations before us I advise you to stay ambitious, the world is heading in a direction different than ever before. You aren’t alone in your journey to make the world a better place.
As a generation we should cease from believing we are special and instead prove to the world why we are.
And if it all goes sour… We can always blame Generation Z.