Generation Y Decoded: Why They Are the Way They Are

During one of my research sessions, I came across a video in which Simon Sinek attempts to explain why millennials are the way they are stereotyped to be. Now, it is a given that not everyone born in the years from 1984 to 2000 share these stereotypical characteristics, but nevertheless, people have their ideas. So, to help explain why they are the way they are, Simon Sinek gave 4 things.

1. Failed parenting strategies. This refers to parents telling their kids that they could have anything they want because they can. Meaning, they don’t have to work for it and they don’t need to put in the effort to get there. What also happened with this generation, is that they were rewarded with medals or trophies for losing or coming last. This may seem like a good idea, but it isn’t. Because they know they don’t deserve to receive a reward, they feel bad and their self-confidence is negatively influenced. As a whole, the Gen Y kids tend to have much lower self-esteem and self-confidence than the generations before and after them.

2. Technology. Gen Y has become addicted to technology. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. are all their drugs. Engaging with social media and getting ‘likes’ releases dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a happy hormone and is associated with the feelings of pleasure we get when smoking, drinking, having sex, or gambling. No wonder they got addicted.

3. Impatience. The millennials grew up with instant gratification. No matter what you want, you can get it online or by delivery, etc. No need to go to the movies or wait for a show time. You can just go online and watch. The same with series. No need to wait until next week, just watch everything now. Heat up a frozen dinner or call for take-out. Unfortunately, this has set them up for disappointment. Job satisfaction and strong relationships don’t play by those rules. It takes work and time.

4. Working environment. Clearly, these poor kids were dealt a bad hand as Sinek says. Corporations are more concerned about numbers than training and building employees up. The result is that they feel like failures and further lose confidence.

With this combination of factors, it is easy to see why Gen Y is the way they are.

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