It's a gen above the rest...

Last Updated 20 September 2013, 15:38 IST

The Gen Y neither needs nor accepts establish­ments of any sort - they are growing without one. This is perhaps why their older generations live in the fear of being fossilised, observes Rachna Chhabria.

Risk takers. Always on the move. Known for their lack of patience. You can easily spot millennials in public places by their head phones plugged in and a lost-in-their-own-world look. They sit next to one another at restaurants, malls, and campuses, seriously focussed on texting away on their gadget (read an extension of their hands). They interact 24/7, almost always through a screen. Their calm expression is a smoke screen for their deep anxiety about missing out on something better. That’s probably what glues them to their cell phones to check out what is happening with not just their friends, but also the rest of the world via the myriad social platforms.

Net Generation. Web Generation. Global Generation. Gen Y. Gen Next. Each of these is a synonym for the uber cool generation of Millennials. The population born between 1980 and 2000, was born with a gadget for a (flaunt)toy in their hands, thus earning the name “Millennial Generation”. The last generation to be born in the 20th century. Tech savvy to the very core. A cut above the rest.

Confidence defines their every move, both professionally and personally. No wonder some say millennials are narcissistic, overconfident, maybe even cocky. The Time magazine even had a cover with the millennial generation tagged as “The ME ME ME Generation”! Well, modesty is definitely not their middle name. This generation believes in tooting their own horn and blowing their own trumpet. They are self-obsessed, profiling their work skills on LinkedIn, having a personal website to highlight their talent, blogging their views to the world, airing their opinions via tweets, and Instagraming for instant gratification. Their self-obsession is propelled by their strong sense of entitlement. They love their video games, devour popular fiction and dote on current movies, as it depicts their yuppie lifestyles, bindas attitudes, and snarky behaviour.

Gen Y is extremely savvy when it comes to turning themselves into brands, something that took their previous generations decades to achieve. They thrive on their “friend” and “follower” tallies. They judge their popularity by the number of hits, likes, and followers that serve as sales figures. Both the sexes position themselves to have a steady eye on their keen and faithful followers who lap up their one sentence wisdoms. Some people would say that millennials don’t exhibit the prudish attitude of the earlier generations, nor do they adopt the judgemental stance. ‘Live and let live’ is their mantra. So absorbed are they in their own lives that it leaves them with neither the time nor the energy to keep tabs on others, except maybe through the cyber space [signs of withdrawal symptoms may show up if their daily dosage requirement of internet or the social media is not met].

This generation is unique in their individuality. Secure in their place in the scheme of things, the Net Gen is the first set of teens who aren’t rebelling against their new-age parents. Because most parents consider their millennial offspring a friend: a gadget guru who solves their problems in a jiffy or a style diva who provides instant makeovers, fashion, and fitness tips. The world has shrunk for these globally connected individuals. Millennials of every country maybe different, but they are made similar by the tech-web. This generation is more connected to their friends than either their siblings or cousins. More often than not they will have a cyber-sibling (another millennial who can be their cyber soulmate somewhere in the world). Their rites of passage into adulthood is quicker than the previous generations: the first date, first kiss and the first relationship all happen by the time they are 15, 16 and 17.

Confident. Self-expressive. Liberal. Upbeat. Versatile. Experimental. These tech-savvy millennials have great expectations from their workplaces. They are disdainful of stodgy institutions and enterprises that cling on to the ancient way of doing things. They have no qualms about stepping outside their comfort zone. Nor do they buy the theory that hopping from one job to another makes them look unreliable. Suits them? Lap it up. Misfit? Hop on.

Gen Y may not respect authority, but they don’t resent it either. You see, authority and the authoritative figures have a healthy place in their lives - a distant place. One thing that can be said about the Net Generation is that they have no interest in trying to take over the establishments, they are busy making establishments of their own. For they are empowered by the information revolution that aids them.

They prefer to invoke justice through silent protests, set up youth led non-profit organisations, tech start-ups, and other innovations. They believe young people can step up and be the leaders of today. They endorse social entrepreneurship. They work outside the government to create innovative and successful solutions to the nation’s problems, albeit on a smaller scale.

Writers. Bloggers. App makers. Game developers. Musicians. Singers. Directors. This generation has seen an avalanche of young achievers. Many chuck their lucrative jobs to go into business with their BFFs. Millennials are perhaps the most exciting generation, going by their interesting choice of careers.

They crave speed in their careers, relationship, and life. Stagnation, be it professionally or personally, scares their wits out of them. They are haunted by their fear of becoming “unhappening” if they are in one place for too long! Their behaviour, values and attitude are distinctly different from the previous generations due to the technological and economic implications of the cyberspace. Millennials with their liberal beliefs, don’t practise organized religion. Nor do they believe in hard core fundamentalism.

The older generations that are bent on seeing the world through their caveman eyesight will find no takers for their views. More tolerant of same-sex marriages, inter-racial marriages, and live-ins, the millennial generation is making older generations insecure.
Because millennials neither need nor accept establishments, be it professionally or personally. And that is what threatens the older systems. For with their “bring it on” attitude, millennials are ever-ready to take on the world...

(Published 20 September 2013, 15:38 IST)

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