An Essay by Priyanka Tawde
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I had this unshakable urge to shift things in my life, and I left my job. The last time I had such an urge to shake my life was when I changed the entire direction of my career, and oh boy, was it beautiful? Staying true to my gut has cost me days and days of self-reflection, with no regrets. I went from an overly obsessed career-driven person to truly understanding where my influences and definitions of success come from and most importantly what I truly want. This shift amplified in the lockdown and it came with a realisation that the world has been shifting in terms of career strongly and rapidly, for everyone. Back in 2006, more than half of the social media platforms did not exist, and nor did more than half of the most sought jobs that were born out of them. My observations say that this shift was so fast and unpredictable on a time scale, especially for millennials and generations before that they faced one big challenge they weren’t prepared for.
Unguided Mind shift
Generations before the millennials, especially their parents, were coming from a space of valuing a certain life, a stable life. The wars had shown them the disruption of instability and desperation to get back to stability. Well, when something so intense, global, baleful, comes as a part of your life experience, foreseeing or planning for the future is mostly uncertain. Haven’t we got a diluted dose of that in recent times? Now that we see why stability is so valuable to them and how they hold close to ‘getting your life together’ feels so safe and successful to them, let’s try to understand why we are considering them in the first place. This is the generation that raised millennials, as teachers, as parents, family, leaders, influencers of prominent fields and mentors in any context. They were the source of the ideas of the world millennials built on, and so did the future generations. While the stability seemed fair, the world wasn’t prepared for what was to come.
The internet was truly born after Google entered the story, and yet, it was just getting started. The internet was evolving faster than the people’s adaptability to it. When early social apps evolved, millennials were entering their prime teenage years. Take a moment to realise in this span while the internet evolved, these teen humans planned and dreamed of their career on the lines guided for stability. But when they entered the market to look for jobs, the idea of jobs was already shifting and changing as they knew. From absolute thin air (metaphorically) appeared job titles that never existed before, and that was just the start. This is where the chaos began.
Millennials were in the middle of wrapping their heads around evolution, while later generations were born into the evolving social media era. Meanwhile, the generation of stability was struck by this unstable, ever-so-evolving world at the fingertips era. More and more new-age people turned to new ideas of what life and career meant to them, and it is still evolving, changing much more rapidly than a lot of generations of the old can wrap their minds around. Do you know why this is essential to consider and understand? For a while, while the world shifted, there were suddenly young minds with no solid guides to follow but an arena of wild possibilities to run to. When we realise this, we see why millennials were often quoted as ‘directionless and lost’.
The Progressing Shift & What It Looks Like For Millenials
Deep diving in the Ocean, that’s what I can best describe how it may feel to ‘ride the wave’. I personally think every generation comes with a purpose of its own too, just like individual purpose, there is a purpose tied to generations too. And my guess is, Millennials are the generation of healing, while the following is of redefinition. While the millennials gamble their healing with the outdated past and unfathomable future, they are becoming the transition generation. Transitioning to adapt to a new world, create one’s own space, find one’s own idea of life and achieve what they define as success. Their generation may manage to walk on their self-defined path but the subconscious predefined ideas of safety, success and life, have often been found to challenge self-worth, resulting in an increasing number of people with imposter syndrome.
More and more people are turning to wellness, therapy and self-improvement in all senses. The millennial generation is shaping the new age work culture when it comes to careers. From work-life balance, paternity leaves to purposeful work culture and more shaping the career aspect. Each is set to define their own career and life path often swayed far away from traditional lives. This in turn will result in sometimes failing on expectations laid on by the previous generations. This looks like a constant loop of self-actualized life game tropes. This transition generation often will thus look like they’re in the middle of chaos. Although, the chaos is resetting the world slowly.
The world in terms of career and life seems to move towards more personal sense than done for family, country or an industrial revolution. This seems to be on the rise as we head on into future generations. It may sound selfish but this very transition of valuing individuality may lead us out of the herd mentality and ironically closer to a sustainable community.
The transitional chaos set by generation Y or millennials seems like the necessary thread of the evolution of emotional aspects of humanity as a whole. And while we understand practically why each generation stands where they do and why they face what they do, it is important to keep in mind that these give birth to powerful individual stories. So, whichever era you belong to and whatever shift you are a catalyst to, your individual story will always impact the big picture. And that, I think, is pretty cool!