Generation Y

The Huffington post recently published an article that caused quite some discussions. The article, which you can read here, is called “Why generation Y Yuppies are unhappy’, and tells the (very recognizable I have to admit) story of Lucy.

Even though this article touches some really sensitive points about my generation (the Facebook Generation, Gen Y, the Me Me Me Generation, whatever you’d like to call them), it misses one crucial point.

Just as the other articles about our generation being lazy, not willing to put effort in what they do, expecting instant success and gratification, complacent and so on, this post was (just as all the other posts) clearly written by someone who not only isn’t part of this generation, but also doesn’t understand it.

When these articles talk about success, working, gratification and happiness, they’re usually talking about how their generation perceives these things. Succes is defined by a good carreer in which you make a lot of money, happiness is being able to meet with friends and family in the weekends and working is doing something (really anything is fine) for money.

What happens is this: my generation isn’t motivated to be the next generation that works in a system where feeling good and being happy is something you can do after your hours. We want to be able to meet with our friends anytime we want. We want to create things that are truly meaningful to us (not just to the person paying us). This generation wants to do things differently, in the hope to finally get a better outcome. To create a flourishing, thriving society, filled with challenges and opportunities, rather than our current society filled with hate, envy and anger.

Of course, there are people that are just plain lazy. There always are, and there always will be. But I think it’s not a generation that’s lazy, it’s a system that’s not yet adapted to this new generation. This thinking is extremely well explained in this post by Micha Kaufman on Forbes.

Instead of just picking out those who are good at complying with the old system, try to create new ways of working that’ll enable the full potential of this generation. You’ll be amazed how motivated we can actually be.


About leyssensjan

Jan Leyssens is a designer and entrepreneur who strongly believes you can’t turn sustainability into a positive story if your main focus is on negative impact. When designing, he is always looking for the overlap between activism and entrepreneurship, technology and community. His main expertise lies in strategic business model development, Circular Economy, the makermovement, and social innovation. With a background in Industrial Design, Jan quickly shifted his focus towards business design and using the design process in strategic management. Jan is the father of two kids and founder & CEO of Regenerative Design, co-founder of Full Circle, ImpactBoost, and the Circular Design map, podcaster, storyteller, and changemaker.

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