I was reading (of all things) this week, a floral industry magazine that talked about the quirks of today's 20-somethings, more formally known as Generation Y. Of course, this particular magazine talked about how we up-and-comers differ from our parents and our grandparents when it comes to flower shopping and working as flower arrangers, but it got me thinking: How does my generation's perspective affect the way I live my life and approach my future career?
If you ask me, we 20-somethings are a spectacular species with a unique spin on life. Here are just a few ways the experts define my generation:
- We want our activities (including our work) to be meaningful.
- We value a work-life balance.
- We take pride in social responsibility.
- We work independently but appreciate a structured overhead.
- We are optimistic about the future.
- We expect immediate results.
- We question unnecessary rules and traditions.
- We are tolerant of diversity.
- We are expressive and our point needs to be heard.
Am I, by this definition, a Gen Y-er? Absolutely.
All you have to do is take a look at my approach to job searching for a clear example. I graduated from university two years ago, and yes, I would have liked to be working in my profession immediately following that June 2007 commencement date (hence the instant gratification that my generation craves), but my life took small, unexpected diversions.
I was not willing to settle for a job to "pay the bills." I needed to find myself working in a place where I connected with the people and was passionate about my work. This find doesn't come easy, so as a result I lived at home, worked in a coffee shop, drove cross country to live in California, flew across the world to live in Cambodia, and two years later I might finally be circling in on that first "real job."
Along the way in finding the position that suited me, I've learned about the world and all the amazingly different people who reside in it. I've taken an interest in new hobbies, like making my own yogurt and herbal shampoo. I've been able to read more books and learn more about politics and, in turn, analyze my own view of the world. I've begun to blogging, allowing myself to be heard.
How many other 20-somethings do you know who are living this life of displacement? I'm sure you can think of at least one or two. The 20-something way of engaging in life as the adventure it is rather than settling for the status quo set by our preceding generations is a counter-culture ideal affecting the way the world operates. We see things differently. We hear things differently. And we do things differently.
If you are a 20-something, do you find these qualities in yourself? Can you identify with the other members of your generation or do you feel like an outcast?
For those of other generations, what do you think of our generation and how does it compare to when you were a 20-something?
Photo courtesy Veer