CHAPTER 23 Current and Future Challenges

Charlie Caruso

Many Millennials (61 per cent) say their generation has a unique and distinctive identity. Although this is not a specifically ‘Y thing’, as validated by Pew Social Trends publication ‘Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next’, which indicates that roughly two-thirds of Silents, nearly six in ten Boomers and about half of Gen Xers feel the same way about their generation.

Are Gen Ys different? Are their collective behaviors more than a product of ‘their’ time? Is Gen Y simply emblematic of a much broader cultural shift — one that is more accepting of sexual orientation and race, one far more connected, yet engulfed by a new level of challenges? It's hard to know for sure.

But let me throw this out there. Is Y a cohort — or a mindset?

I work with countless Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who ‘act’ Y. They are entrepreneurial, young at heart, think outside the square, are digitally connected and tech savvy — but they weren't born in the 1980s (or surrounding years). Like Bernard mentioned in chapter 1, I also disagree with the sentiment that generational theory is like demographic astrology — because I know there are certain unique characteristics that generational cohorts exhibit, which are important to understand in a world where multiple generations are working side by side.

Yet, I have been troubled by the labels branded on the Y cohort, which actually apply to ...

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