Gen Y is often referred to as the ninja generation, or the instant gratification generation. Some even call it the sheltered generation because it seems like our parents supposedly always kept us sheltered from the reality of life. Perhaps there is some truth to this common allegation and perhaps many of the publications that write about Gen Y being complacent, lazy, and simply spoiled also have some truth to them, but there is yet one perspective and angle that has yet to be talked about.
While there is quite a bit of chatter on social media, overwhelming amount of information on the internet, and even though our preferred way to watch what we consider news is YouTube; I would say we have done quite well for ourselves considering we were setup to fail from day one by our parents, teachers, and guardians. While just about every publication speaks of Gen Y as a lost cause, or with some sort of negative quotation, I would rather focus on some of the most incredible things we have been able to achieve to date and how we as a generation thrive on this idea of making a name for ourselves.
So many great Gen Y entrepreneurs helped innovate a platform that will forever be a strong foundation for future generations to stand on, and yet no one ever speaks of it. While it is true that many of us may not be grade A entrepreneur material, we still do OK despite no one ever believing in us. You see we are what I call the “Shift” generation. A generation whose work is concealed by the change the world is going through and yet we are leading that change without ever getting an ounce of credit for it. We are the reason our parents are on Facebook, and the reason why they don’t sell normal phones at your local store anymore but rather only smart phones and even the reason why anyone can have a voice and be heard. We are the generation that carried that shift and while many take that for granted and never speak of it, I think we should receive a medal for that.
Think about it, how many of your parents believed in your great idea without questioning it? How many told you to skip school and instead focus on the bigger picture and what mattered to you? How many of our parents understood the internet and recommended we expand our minds watching Youtube videos?
Almost no one’s parents understood this “shift” that we helped carry despite their lack of belief in us, what we do and how we do it. While they didn’t understand, many even went out against us by forcing us to go to school, put down our smart phones and stop wasting time on the internet. If you are an older Gen Y-er, then you know exactly what I am talking about. While in their time, most of what we do today didn’t exist and held no relevance, it also limited their understanding of a globalized economy and reach which because of us is now fully integrated in just about everything we do.
The real problem which hurt a large amount of us growing up was the lack of belief by Gen X which simply left an entire generation without the integration of technology in their daily lives and therefore have a very hard time adapting to the fast evolving platforms that our generation learn to use and implement in minutes. This lack of knowledge and understanding was the reason why they sheltered us, and simply felt more comfortable pushing us towards the traditional route for what they deemed to be successful. This lack of belief forced us to focus on an ideology that was no longer applied to the environment in which we were growing up. While many of us were able to break free of this thinking or found a way to connect Gen X to their new found belief and understanding of this evolving shift, many of us didn’t and got stuck in this place full of insecurity, doubt, and were left paralyzed. Think about it. Our parents had to raise us in an environment they didn’t understand themselves, and while some embraced it, many sheltered their kids from it. What was known as the right road to the top (whatever they considered to be the top) was no longer the same road and almost nothing that they experienced could be relatable.
So where do we go from here? Is our generation ultimately doomed by the integration of technology? Perhaps this is the reason so many of us want to make a name for ourselves, a name that will carry past our generation and enable us to be remembered by the next generations to come. Some of us succeeded at this very well, by leveraging technology and advancing the way we think and the way we grow, and the way we transition others into never before created platforms.
I think at the end of the day, we are the generation that helped create and make this “shift” possible and that should be talked about more so that if some of us are lazy or if our parents sheltered us. Our parents did the best they could in an environment that was changing daily and regardless of their shortfalls, we still pulled through and connected people to technology but more importantly to each other. That happened because of Gen Y and should be reason enough to never be known as the ninja generation; unless of course, we never talk about it.