The Indecisiveness of Generation Y

My sister recently got into an argument with my mother. My sister, who is approaching the critical age of 28, had told my mother that she would like to apply to study photography at a tertiary institution. Would that not work out, she would “drop out and think of something else”. My mother was enraged. She could not comprehend how any one could set up a goal and not pursue it if that was what one truly desired. Either you want to become a photographer or you don’t, and if you do, you work hard until you reach that goal. Afterwards my sister admitted to me that she had lost passion for everything; she had nothing that she really wished to achieve nor was she exactly happy with the way things were. Like a dog that has finally managed to catch its own tail, she had no idea what to do next. The whole Millennial Generation seems to be characterized by having the same problem: they spend their childhood saying they will become astronauts, get diplomas as economists only to realize what they actually wanted is to become gardeners instead. Their incapability of deciding what they want to do as a profession has turned into a problem that costs money for the governments as well as the young people themselves… And it also causes a major headache to my mother. One of the reasons why people like my mother are having issues understanding our situation is because the problem didn’t exactly exist for the previous generations: if you were a son a miner, you would probably become a miner. Alternatively, you would try to become an apprentice to whomever willing to have you. If you were lucky enough to be born into a rich family, you might actually be provided with an education to learn some fancy trade in medicine, law or philosophy, although that wouldn’t really matter because you would probably find employment through connections anyway. The famous Katherine Whitehorn -quote: “Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it” has been enthusiastically adopted by the youth of this era. The whole concept of ending up working an office job for a greeting card company is not only mocked by the youth but also by the medias. The idea of finding yourself in a dead-end job that gives you no other pleasure than financial security is modern graduate’s worst nightmare. Although Whitehorn’s advice was well meant and something to be aspired to, the reality is quite different for most people. An astonishing number of people wish to become superstars, talk show hosts, professional photographers and published authors, the result being that the majority of these people will never achieve the dream they’re chasing. Finally we yield to the demands of the society in order to pay off mortgage. Perhaps we have forgotten the whole essence of a job, which is being paid for doing something that someone else can’t or does not want to do. In other words, the work is usually either difficult or unpleasant. Despite of this it’s not impossible not to enjoy working; you feel purposeful and sometimes take pride in doing what you can do well. And then, of course, there is the pay cheque. But the blame is not only on the shoulders of the youth: as Sir Ken Robinson once suggested, we are educating our children for no particular purpose, leaving them clueless when the time finally comes to decide what to do with themselves. First you go to school because you have to and then you go to school because it didn’t provide you with the equipment you need for the working life. Instead you’ve gained knowledge on mathematics, science and literature, which may or may not be relevant to your employment in the future. Meanwhile in New Zealand, the youth seem fairly decided about their future jobs, because they’ve been informed by their career options early on and began acquiring the necessary qualifications from the age of 15. If Zack wished to become a police officer, he would know what to study and to what level. Unlike many European kids, the Kiwis do not lack direction in their lives. While it is clear that something has gone fundamentally wrong in the education of the Generation Y, the question remains whether we should be allowed to explore or should we be thrown into the job market. In my opinion, anyone with a chance to explore should do so: it’s as much of “waste” pursuing a dream that may never materialize as trying out alternatives. Eventually we, like everyone else, will realise that sometimes it is easier to pursue a dream whilst receiving a regular income. So I guess what I’m saying is: “You go, sis!”

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4 thoughts on “The Indecisiveness of Generation Y

  1. Great topic and fascinating observation. I wonder how indecisiveness ties in with the fomo (fear of missing out). Perhaps that’s something you could address in the near future? 😉

    1. Thanks! I have to consider that but at present I’m not quite sure if I would be the most suitable person to talk about it as I do not think I’ve personally experienced it for at least a couple of years. Perhaps it’s more prevalent among the people in late teens and early 20s? But it’s something that might definitely contribute to the indecisiveness of the generation at hand. Great idea!

      1. I’m afraid that post would be very short. I simply went with what I felt most comfortable with and where I thought my strengths laid. Career-wise it wasn’t probably the best decision I could’ve made but I’m sure a diploma in languages can’t exactly hurt me either. I’ll just go with the flow and see where it takes me. Naturally, that’s not for everybody.

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