in stereotypical self-centered millennial fashion, I have to admit that I’ve been experiencing some serious Gen Z envy recently. what’s so great about Gen Z anyway? they just happen to be the generation currently in the eternally lusted after stage of youth.
as a millennial languishing in the period of emerging adulthood, most of what I hear about Gen Z – scarred by the recession, digital natives – resonates true with me as well. but what’s different about millennials and Gen Zers is the motivations, rationale, and mindsets underlying the similar experiences they may have.
lemonade stand entrepreneurs – millennial fantasy vs. Gen Z lifeline
many millennials and Gen Zers have memories of childhood weekends spent behind lemonade stands, augmenting their allowance. for millennials, these may be fond memories of their first time having an adult experience – a few hours to indulge in fantasy about what it’s like to be a grown-up earning money before ultimately returning to carefree childhood. for Gen Z, however, these memories may be more charged. growing up in the shadow of the recession, Gen Zers felt pressure at a young age to provide their own economic security and freedom. they approached their lemonade stands with pragmatism, determination, and a longer-term plan. what began as childhood play, translates directly to today with both generations maintaining their diverging mindsets – millennials are hopeful and optimistic while Gen Z are conservative and practical.
information at their fingertips– millennial obsession vs. Gen Z expectation
both millennials and gen Zers have been critiqued by older generations for their dependence on technology. but does the term digital native truly apply to both of them? millennials have excitedly embraced and even been behind some of the most popular tech releases like Facebook and Instagram. for millennials, each new app has a magnetic appeal, demanding their attention and that they compete to always have the newest thing – from Snapchat spectacles to beta testing for Apple iOS. Gen Z, though, grew up with technology as an expectation, a part of life just as normal as going to school each morning. for them, technology isn’t a passion, but rather a tool – Instagram is for finding healthy recipes, Youtube is where they take on the world with vlogs. though both generations may always have a phone in hand, it’s clear they use technology differently – for millennials it’s lighthearted fascination and for Gen Z it’s a productive tool.
upon further reflection, maybe there is something to Gen Z after all. their pragmatic mindset coupled with their skill with technology has them on track to solve a number of the world’s problems… that is until the next generation steals their spotlight.
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