Is Generation Y geographically sensitive?
I recently delivered a presentation on how to manage Generation Y in the workplace. And while I was doing the research for it, I found out that there is a wealth of information on the web around this subject. So much information in fact, that it sometimes seems to make the whole discussion obsolete and with little original insight.
Being almost singularly American-based, the research does not offer that much information though about the nuances that come with the Gen Y geography. One question I received on the subject was whether anybody had done an analysis of this generation in Eastern Europe. Or Europe for that matter. The first time I quietly posed this question to myself was while I was delivering the presentation. Although I am chronologically a member of the Gen Y period, I kept oscillating between referring to the generation members as either ”them” or “us”. After a quick online PEW survey which you can find here, I found out that I am only 93% millennial in thought and action.
So where is this discrepancy coming from? Is it the fact that being born in ’83 gave me the 6 years of communism I needed to keep my head leveled? Is it the fact that I was not the classical “trophy kid” because my parents instilled the sense of duty in me? Is it simply because of my personality?
Discussing with several other 30-somethings my age, I found that I am not a unique case. Most of my friends still find fulfilling their duties as adults more important than following their purpose in life. Most of them are stuck in jobs that provide them with security rather than giving this up just because they do not feel like their job is changing the world. We still have respect for authority and autonomy does not come that easily.
Of course, this is not a constant. But it is the majority I know. The downside of it all is that although we are still “programmed” to make a living for ourselves and to provide for our family, take care of our parents and generally be a stand-alone individual with responsibilities, we have this subliminal desire to surrender to the trend and – quit our job to go on an initiation trip to find ourselves, talk to our parents about talking less and keeping the distance, not getting married and fighting ”the norm”. And this creates a dissonance that often leads to depression. Let’s not forget that, because of the big gap between their aspirations and reality, Gen Y-ers are the most depressed generation according to some studies.
How many of us are actually taking the plunge into entrepreneurship? How many of us have babies in their late 30s? How many of us think that serial monogamy or partnership is the trend, rather than marriage for life? I would say more and more. But is there a psychological cost attached to it?
The one conclusion I would venture to draw would be that Gen Y in Romania skipped a few years and started in the late ‘90s. If this is a good or bad thing is not for me to say. But what I will say is that the generation gap is the same universally and I believe that the same strategies can be employed to close the gap wherever you are.
Author : Cristiana Stanciu, Senior Sales Support Manager, Oracle Romania