I don’t hate young people. Really. Mostly because I am one. I am only half joking. At 38, I am at an awkward age – not really seen as a “young person” from the outside, but believing, on the inside, that I am 25 (when I’m not regressing to 12!).
The “young people” term is one usually reserved for Gen Z: those born from 1995 to 2010.
While millennials get their fair share of hate (born in 1983, I am technically a millennial, albeit on the wiser end of this term), the new complaints are now largely aimed at the members of Gen Z aged 25 years and below:
• “What is with this need to know everything and be involved in some sort of cause?”
• “They are fixated too much on ‘work-life balance’, instead of just putting their head down and doing the work.”
(Read also “The Simple Truth To Happiness, According To Jade Seah“)
• “Why is it wrong to label something as male or female, seriously?”
• “They are so open; this kills traditional family values.”
• “Why must they video chat? Can’t they just text?”
Management consulting firm McKinsey has reported that members of Gen Z are a pragmatic bunch, seeing work more as a part of life, instead of regarding it as their whole life and a yardstick of their worth.
While I love my work and spend a lot of time on it, my studies in Positive Psychology have shown me that work-life balance is essential to happiness, as is constantly re-evaluating one’s values, and allocating precious time and energy to things that matter personally.
US think tank Pew Research has found that Gen Z cares more about gender, race and ethical causes than any previous generation. They are also more likely than their older counterparts to say that the earth is getting warmer due to human activity, and more willing to take action to make sustainable choices.
They stand out from older generations in their views of family and societal change, having much more open views on same-sex and mixed-race marriages, as well as on single parenthood. They are a generation that’s said to be socially conscious, entrepreneurial, pragmatic, and connected; a generation that craves human interaction.
Partly because I’ve had the privilege of hanging out with many members of Gen Z, and partly due to my own 25-year-old soul (hidden in this 38-year-old body), I feel like I share and identify with a lot of these Gen Z values.
To constantly question, to know what you want, and to have the courage to reject what does not fit; to insist on as human a connection as we can get in these Covid times (video calls!)… I think we can learn a thing or two from these “young people”.