So, I noticed an interesting article on Yahoo today called “Why GenY Might Be Too Frugal”. Without giving a while summary, the points that I found relevant were these:
– “GenY has done battle with the economy. “The tight job market is slowing down their path to adulthood even more,” says Ray. “Young adults are saying, ‘I just feel stuck.'” In addition to citing the challenge of finding a job, 20-somethings told Ray and Settersten they feel weighed down by student loan debt. Paying $500 a month toward student loans can make it harder to afford an apartment and other costs of living independently–which is one reason so many young people move back home after graduation.” Yep. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
– “They might be too afraid of debt.” This implies that GenYers may not invest in what they should, being too fearful to spend ANY income; things like further education, saving for retirement, and investing in a small business venture. I was lucky enough to get a huge grant to cover a vast majority of my Masters degree, and I save silently for my retirement…but I’m simply UNABLE to save up for the business venture I’ve got floating around in the ol’ noggin. Honestly, I don’t know how many folks around my age who HAVE the money to spend on things…but I’ve noticed different spending trends between them and GenXers.
– “That frugality could last a lifetime.” You say that like it’s a bad thing! I don’t think we’ll be quite as thrifty as the Silent Generation (y’know, the ones who have money in their mattresses and have saved every newspaper they’ve ever purchased. Ever.), but a very serious lesson is being learned here. It’s painful, but valuable.
– “Job-shopping is different from job-hopping.” I’ve had a ton of jobs. So far, they’ve all been stepping stones to where I am today. In this section, the article clarifies that job-shopping is actually mapping out one’s career and making decisions that will help in those goals; job-hopping isn’t controlled. They also mention “swimmers” (those getting ahead, albeit slowly) vs. “treaders” (most of this generation, who are struggling). I still haven’t figured out which I am.
They also said that there’s more of a reliance upon parent support, and while I lived at home for awhile after college, I worked hard to get out on my own. At that point, I wasn’t getting so much emotional support (not that I needed it — I just think that lots of GenY has gotten coddled by the Baby Boomers, and my mom isn’t the traditional Baby Boomer; she’s more conservative and practical than hip and lovey-dovey), although I was grateful. It just wasn’t how I was raised; I was raised to be independent, no matter what, always remembering what my parents went through as well as their parents before.
After reading this, I was thinking about “my generation”, so decided to look it up…and found out that, depending on the source, I’m either definitely part of Generation Y or just at the end of Generation X. Whuh?! There’s a HUGE difference there. I have three older siblings — all GenXers. Husband? GenX. And, while I’ve got certain interests in common with all of the above, I’d definitely have to argue that I’d agree that I’m a GenYer. It’s kinda like how, no matter what the cosmos may dictate, I was born a Taurus and will die a Taurus, regardless of “the shift.” (Probably what most Tauruses are saying, given our stubbornness.) The Population Reference Bureau, cool name and all, can kiss my hiney.
That being said, what are some of the traits that I share with my generation? Well, we’re supposedly family-oriented (appreciating things like flexible schedules, a balanced work/social life, etc), tech-savvy (whether good or bad we know what we’re doing with our tech tools and would rather text or email than talk — which is very true of me), achievement-oriented (craving meaningful work with a solid learning curve), team-oriented (loyal, committed, wanting to be involved and included — and dedicated to teamwork. Gee, maybe I should turn my attention back to that program for the play I’m acting in ;-D), and attention-craving (generally in the form of feedback and guidance…which I do appreciate…but, I’d say that I’ve, for better or for worse, always been more literal as far as this one’s concerned. Being the youngest, I often felt ignored, so I’ve acted out in many ways, always been outgoing, and it’s now led me to a much healthier involvement at the theater).
After comparing these characteristics to the GenXers, I can see where Generation Y is a lot like the previous group (having some overlapping life experiences, such as parents with a high divorce rate and observing the “Me Decade”), but with its own, slightly more down-to-earth, optimistic-yet-realistic. Generation X is a bright, self-evaluating group of incredible individuals, but can, at times, be more cynical than my generation.
But, that’s how I evaluate it. You may feel differently — especially if you’re part of, heck, ANY generation. Let me know what you think! (Only…y’know, keep it polite, please.) 🙂 Back to the program!