CHAPTER 2 Y the Misunderstanding?

Charlie Caruso

It seems like everyone's got a label for Y, and if you believe any of the recent media portrayals, Millennials are an unreliable, spoilt, directionless, narcissistic, self-entitled (epidemically so), leeching cohort. The media laps up the various authors and academics who seem to be hell-bent on framing such characteristics as quintessentially ‘Millennial’.

However, it appears that most accusations lack substance and struggle to be anything more than a blanket lament that proposes today's 20-somethings are quintessentially naive. Young people — naive? What a shocking revelation!

Finding a theory that accurately encapsulates the quintessential archetype of Y is a contentious proposition. Yet many have attempted it and dedicated a significant amount of research to better understand the ‘echo Boomers’ and their so-called divergent qualities. Somewhere between the academic studies, media reports, blogs and various books, certain Millennial traits have fashioned the popular belief about who Ys are and what they stand for. But how much is true — and how much has been contrived in order to sell magazines and newspapers? The truth is difficult to distinguish, and hidden behind a cloud of chaotic contradictions and clichés. Because of this confusion, there has been a growing divergence between the reality and perception of the Millennial ...

Get Understanding Y now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.