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Generation Y or Millennial : why are we misunderstood?

I graduated with a master’s degree from the Solvay Business School and just like some of my ex classmates, I have decided to leave the big corporate world and I am trying to follow my own path...

Who are we?

We are children of Nirvana, Chernobyl, AIDS, ecology and globalisation who have grown up with the World Wide Web. We are Pokemon masters in Game Boy and our cult saga is Harry Potter. While there is no defined start/end date of this generation, it most often refers to people born in the early 1980s, all the way up to the early 2000s. We are the first generation to be digital native and seeking a work life balanced with achievement.

I have read many articles about the Generation Y. Only to refer to a few of them; we are perceived as lazy, impatient, social media addicts, dreamers without any notion between reality and enjoyment. What about if we were simply misunderstood by society?

What’s happening to our generation?

I graduated with a master’s degree from the Solvay Business School and just like some of my ex classmates, I have decided to leave the big corporate world to try and do what I want to do. I could give you ton of examples of my ex classmates starting something else: one started jewellery design, another cooking, video producing. Even a humorist…

We have been growing up with this feeling and pressure that we have to succeed, that we have to get into a famous university, get a good job and become rich and powerful. This pressure comes from society, TV, education and the success story that we have been listening to and watching since our childhood.

After my Masters I worked for a Cypriot NGO that works toward the peace building process of Cyprus, within the no-man’s land of the island. Coming back to Brussels from this enriching experience, I felt the pressure that I needed to work in a big company if I did not want to see my diploma loose its value. I felt the pressure that I needed to succeed immediately. So I decided to apply to one of the financial Big four. After one year and half, I started to feel depressed by the routine of the job and the hierarchy of the company. I asked myself the following question: « Where do I want to be in 5 years time? ». I understood that I didn’t want to follow the same routine until my retirement, that I needed to achieve and create something. When I announced my decision to my parents, my mother supported me and understood my choice while my father complained about it. He only saw the financial achievement and security the job provided. I explained to him that I was happier when I worked for a Cypriot NGO, even if I did not earn any money. Still, he didn’t understand my choice… I decided to stay for a while and prepare my departure. I started working on my own project at night.

So why are we leaving our job?

After having graduated and attaining a well paid job with a christmas package (car, phone and computer), I realised that what society wanted to bring me was not what I wanted to do. I needed something else…

We are currently living in a crazy world ruled by crazy people. We are pessimist about what tomorrow might bring. America started as a new world where everything was imaginable. Now, it is ruled by one of the most stupid people in the world that does not even believe in the global warming effect (not to only mention him and this).

How can we think positively when we see all these things happening around us? How can we live in a such routine (metro-boulot-dodo) when we don’t know what tomorrow will bring?

What do we need?

We need to find a balance and not always eat, sleep and breath work. We need to feel that we are achieving something, that we are creating and bringing something positive to our world.

I understand that we are less interested in financial security and more concerned with job satisfaction. The Generation Y views a job not just as a means to pay the rent, but rather as a route to exploring their passions, hobbies and philosophies. We are not day-dreamers, we are conscious of the work required in oder to achieve and follow our path and make it work.

I decided to leave my job, and renounce to my comfort and my job security. I realised that I was surrounded by a lot of creative talents that belong to this Generation Y. Some of these talents have a lack of visibility and need management. I then decided to found “Noûs”. An offbeat marketing agency composed of this generation Y and united across an ethical chart that express the values of our generation.

I think it’s really important to help, this generation and the next one, choose something they want to do and not guide them towards a security job with a comfortable situation. Rather, help them build, take the time to try, fail, start again and move forward because there is nothing more valuable that one’s happiness in life.

Three months later, I got some clients, I still don’t know if it will work but I’m staying focused on the project. Sometimes I do small jobs to pay my rent at the end of the month. However, I feel as though I’m doing something that make sense and I feel free to pursue my own path. Tomorrow may be the last but I know that I will never regret this enriching experience.


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