Everybody has an opinion of today’s younger generation, or “Generation Y,” as Strauss and Howe would label us. A 23-year-old myself, I’ll admit it’s pretty rough constantly hearing: “You youngsters don’t know you’re born,” or “The young of today are going nowhere fast.”
According to many, we’re far too content, tweeting celebrities and checking our Facebook notifications, than to get off our lazy backsides, break free from parental reins and pursue high-flying careers.
I stayed in my home city of London for university, not simply because I wanted to be near my tight-knit family, but because it’s a world-class establishment, with a brilliant reputation for the degree that I so desperately wanted to study.
So does the fact that I am still living at home, whilst attempting to make myself a name in the advertising industry, mean I am sedentary and uninspired?
The world seems intent on painting a picture of my generation that is completely contradictory to the one I know to be true of my friends, colleagues and myself. Yes, we are of the “technology obsessed” generation; the Internet and social media form a massive part of our lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be just as engaged, dedicated and ready to work as hard as previous generations.
I recently read the Forbes article, “20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get,” written by entrepreneur Jason Nazar. Whilst there are some things that I would certainly agree on, I have to say that I find it to be somewhat blinkered at times. Where is the praise and support for all the things we do well and for the talent we possess? Nazar is exactly right in saying we are part of “the most capable, creative, knowledgeable and multi-tasking generation yet.” So where is the celebration of that?
The advertising business is well known for being a young industry, and there is good reason for that. My peers bring fresh thinking, innovation and a new sense of creativity into the mix. I am surrounded by hard-working and talented young people who create amazing things every single day. I have colleagues who travel up to four hours every day just to get to and from work because they are so passionate about what we do and what it means for the future.
I also can’t help but disagree with Nazar’s statement that “Your generation consumes information in headlines and 140 characters: all breadth and no depth.” Young people of today are more educated than ever before; we have more university entrants and graduates than ever before. These are people who actively choose to further their education and broaden their minds, and that involves extensive reading and researching. However, that is not to say we should disregard headlines and tweets. Some of the most poignant and influential things can both be said and learnt in very few words. Few words have the power to ignite thoughts and reactions unlike anything else, which is one of the reasons why social media platforms like Twitter are so influential.
I am a firm believer in the idea that making mistakes is important, if not fundamental, for personal development. Whilst we may have our flaws, we need time to learn what they are before we can learn from them. So maybe it’s time we stop chastising the younger generation for the mistakes that haven’t even been made yet and applaud what they bring to the table. As singer Kanye West said, It’s time for the rest of the world to stop musing over ‘back in the day,’ because … “Homey, this is my day!”
Georgiana Foster is a new business assistant at gyro London.
Follow Georgiana @giorgianafoster