Millennials’ lifestyle and self-image projects political, economic, and demographic concerns.
Why is it happening ?
Millennials are the generation currently aged 20-35, born between 1980 and the end of 1999. They are also called Generation Y, because they follow Generation X (born between 1965-1979). Millennials—we—grow up to be independent, ambitious, but also selfish, impatient, and ignorant. With the expansion of higher education, more and more young people chose to continue their studies instead of working. Generation Y is more educated—but older. This means that they become independent later because of their lack of stable material and financial background. This reluctance to secede from the family can be explained by the uncertainty and unpredictability calculated into their lifestyle, as Millennials were in their youth at the time of the world economic crisis of 2008. Since the Industrial Revolution, Generation Y is the first generation that cannot expect better living conditions than the previous one.
Related to instability is the term “post-adolescence” introduced to the scientific debate in 1968 by Keniston. According to him, in modern societies sexual and social maturity started to be separate from each other. Post-adolescence is the modern lifestyle of Millennials. Members of this generation have already reached the age of majority but still do not feel like adults, even if they are legally and financially independent from their parents.
Rapid and substantial developments in technology also largely account for Millennials’ behavior and lifestyle. Members of Generation Y are also called digital natives, because they were born into a world with computers and mobile phones. In some ways, this generation knows more about technology than their parents, hence sometimes they teach them how to use an application, a mobile, or a computer, which may change traditional social and family roles.
Why does it matter?
Millennials are bombarded with stereotypes such as being “lazy”, “politically apathetic”, and “smartphone dependent”. This, in addition to a sharp separation from older generations leads to a much more negative self-image than other generations. Job prospects are becoming ever more challenging due to growing expectations towards them. The rise in real estate prices is also a serious problem resulting in more than a quarter of Generation Y living at home with their parents (including 10% of men aged 30-34). “Mama hotel”, a pejorative term created by older generations, expresses that young people continue to stay at home after becoming an adult while enjoying the benefits of parental care.
The gravest public concern in that less and less young people are interested in politics, and as a result, generation Y makes up the age group with the lowest rates of voting. They lost their faith in politics and surveys of the last 5 years show that they think they are not able to influence results. This phenomenon, the “depoliticization” of the youth is crucial, as the upcoming generation might be unable to make their voice heard or engage in leadership, losing control of their own fate and future.
Finally, the fact that the relationship-commitment procedure takes much longer than a few decades ago poses demographic concerns. Young people get married later (if at all). Furthermore, generation Y have children or they plan to have children later than their parents as they find it more important to have a stable financial background before childbearing. They are the first generation which appears to be serious about “conscious childlessness” or about childfree lifestyle. The outcome: we are less, with less enthusiasm, less faith, and less competence for impactful action.
What can you do about it?
Since the beginning of time, members of the older generations judge young people and their way of life. Conversely, new generations are blaming older people for their situation. The world has changed a lot in the past 10 years. Always look for actions to change and show initiative to get them done. The skills of this generation should be placed in the foreground instead of stereotypes. Millennials are creative, flexible and tolerant. Build beneficial relationships with as many people as possible and maintain a positive attitude whatever it takes. Stay respectful but always ready to change the world.
The Intelligence Brief recommends Simon Sinek's interview with IQ; to watch it click here.
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Dorottya Kosa briefs regularly from Swansea,Wales, UK. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.