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The millennial generation or Gen-Y is the generation which includes the people born in the period from 1981 to 1996, as per Pew Research Centre, although this range is highly variable. They have been labeled as the “Me Me Me generation”, Peterpan or Boomerang generation because of their self-centered laid back attitude and tendency to delay the major milestones like marriage, kids etc. in life. The question that really stands out is if really the millennials are as termed time wasting slacks? An abundance of research establishes them as self-obsessed and lazy simply based on their overzealous dependence on technology rather than actual labor. Some researchers also refer to them as narcissist and an entitled generation simply because they can survive happily by simply clicking and glaring at their laptop or mobile screens without actually stepping out or sweating it in the so called real world. These opinions in my view are largely biased due to inadvertent comparison of this generation with the previous generations and thus made generalizations for entire generation.
Millennials have grown up in world with rapid major technological advancements. They have experienced the change first hand from using typewriters, radios, giant big computer systems, floppy disks and so on to the use of modern day fast tablets, microchips, handsets, wireless internet and such. Their ability to grasp accept and adapt to this constantly modifying digital age is misread as being technological dependence. Thanks to the modern era technology, they are multitaskers. This simply means that they work and enjoy social media at the same time which can be a labeled as harboring distractions by the previous generations.
It is a common belief that as a workforce, millennials are self-centered and more materialistic than their previous generations. However it cannot also be ignored that the millennials are more open minded and flexible and thus more capable of incorporating changes and adapting than their predecessors. They are more of team workers and this in addition to their advanced communication and information technologies gets work completed faster and more efficiently. They are more focused on making a work life balance which urges them to make time for self and this behavior is often misunderstood as being selfish. If anything more, they do tend to provide a more fresh perspective and a new outlook which when utilized helps them gaining an edge at their workplace. Millennial workforce is often known to be frequent career changers for which they are tagged as unreliable or indecisive. The driving force for them in play here is their work life balance. This has been supported by various open blogs and press articles written by them where they freely admit that they prioritize their personal life over career. However this has led to often resistance between them and their higher authorities which belong to the Boomer generation as they cannot trust the credibility of the younger generation.
Another characteristic that the millennials are criticized for is being arrogant when in reality they are extremely confident and very aware of their abilities. A recent research article emphasizes that the increased emotional and physical presence of parents during formative years of the millennial generation has resulted in a boosted self-esteem. They do not have to face any crisis, be it financial, social, or emotional alone anymore. This leads to an assurance of stability as well in all arenas of life where parents become companions as well. Many of the millennial generation individuals are often said to be staying with their parents for longer duration or frequently coming back to live with either parents. However, the PEW Research Centre reported strongly advocates this occurrence to be frequent in the less educated individuals. Also, it’s interesting to note that while the “Generation Me” has been deliberated as over ambitious and in constant need of self-appraisal, the roots of these characteristics lie in the parents. Due to tough competition, ever since childhood, the millennial children are urged to move forward, be better than everyone and succeed always. They attend more extra classes and coaching to get higher scores, better education resulting in high placed jobs. Parents tend to appreciate and motivate at each step which ultimately leads to a need that is carried further in the future.
The millennials are also advocated as being more open minded individuals which sadly is again misinterpreted as being culturally void. In the present scenario, the whole world has become smaller due to open communication fronts and radical displacement for education and better opportunities has exposed our society to diversification. Hence, I would say that the Gen Y has evolved more conveniently over racism, ethnic dogmas and long standing regional and religious beliefs. They are more receptive towards rights for minorities and gay communities. You may also find families where there is a successful role reversal with women being the breadwinners and husbands staying at home to take care of families. And interestingly it is not evident merely in developed countries but developing countries also present with such radicle changes.
Results of a recently conducted study by Western Union across 15 countries showed that millennials quoted eviction of racism from society, freedom from bias originating from gender, culture or nationalities and their own ability to adapt and settle anywhere across the globe are the most important pillars contributing to their successful and bright future. Correctly so, they prefer to be addressed as global citizens. This new thought process is again a huge challenge for the existing previous generations to accept.
The debate is endless. For the prior generations like Boomer or Gen X which is currently the largest workforce as well, the concepts and attitudes of Gen Y are flaccid and easy going. Where they feel and believe in the rigidity of existing systems, the millennials tend to bend in shape more easily. So the question rises again as to who is right and what will the future be. It is in my opinion that we need a fast adapting generation to match the rapid advancement of technology and skills which is the millennials. They may lack experience but they have clean unbiased mind which provides a newer perspective to old methods creating new ventures for success. Even as a society, the millennials bridge the gaps that have separated us in past by bringing down age old walls of customs by their broad minded ways. Most of all, in today’s highly competitive world, the Gen Y is more than willing to spread their wings and explore new terrains and opportunities while not compromising with their own quality of life. Yes, I believe the “Me” time is utmost necessary for personal and professional growth. In conclusion, the millennials will soon be the largest workforce of the world placed in every functional aspect of growth, and they have much more to offer, if only one can see beyond the tunnel vision of older generations. They may not be perfect but then they are the best suited for today’s fast moving and changing world.
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