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Generation Y - have you bothered to find out what makes them tick?

Updated on March 22, 2012

This generation will be so different to anything you've experienced before and it will certainly pay to understand and get a grasp of what influences their psyche.

To understand our Gen Y's we can do a sweep of the influences of our three main generations. Besides the social and political backdrop of the period, what we experience in our formative years sets our playing stage markedly. Baby Boomers were influenced by TV, Rock and Roll, the Cold War, Vietnam War, the threat of nuclear war, and the decimal currency.

Generation X saw in the Personal Computer, AIDS, single parent families, more multiculturalism, and the downsizing of companies.

For Generation Y's we have the internet, cable television, globalization, September 11, and environmentalism. Such shared experiences during one's youth unite and shape a generation. There is an old saying "People resemble their times more than they resemble their parents." This shows a more global effect of influence. that molds our wants and needs.

Baby Boomers were hell bent on thriving for monetary independence and material gain, having seen their parents struggle through the depression. A work ethic was and still is the dominant focus for the Boomers, along with financial planning

There is a more community based value system the Gen Y's are looking for. The cost of seeing their parents achieve financial freedom and providing everything the Gen Y needs materially, is the high level of broken marriages, absentee parenting, as well as watching them stressed and medicated.

There is no doubt Gen Y's have been left disillusioned by materialism. The American dream, the Australian dream, the dream of many which was to attain security through material gains is not the prime focus for these guys.

Some Gen Y's are still caught in the consumer treadmill and the instant gratification that comes with the credit card. It's this consumer driven materialistic Gen Y who is getting the media attention. Media as it is, you may have an imbalanced view of our younger friends. As a whole Gen Y's are looking for those things the Baby Boomers intended to get, but only a few were able to achieve; and that is the non-financial rewards that came after 40 years of service to the company. Mind you Gen Y's are not saying no to financial rewards either, but that does not seem to be the greatest agenda.

Gen Y's do not want to live to work - they want to work to live. This goes against the Baby Boomer work ethic of loyalty. It must seem like the opposite end of the spectrum to the older generation. But hey, this is what the Baby Boomers wanted also. Did they get too caught up in the doing and forgot to smell the roses along the way? The machine can be hard to drive against.

Gen Y's want fun, they want quality friendships, they want fulfillment and a spiritual meaning behind their endeavors. Believe it or not, Gen Y's wave banners more now for environmental issues, social injustices and human rights than those in the 60's. Also volunteering is common among the Gen Y's.

I like the term Gen Y Genius - I just thought of it, though no doubt someone has already said it. This new wave of scholars are going to make mammoth leaps in technology that will make invention of the computer look like pre-school finger painting. We are on the edge of seeing advances in medicine through nano technology and biotechnologies, new sounds in music, more advances in communications and more and more and more.

The SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for a Gen Y is to address them with openness. Show a genuine interest in them - doesn't matter what generation you are in, this is a trait we all like. Be genuine, upfront, straight. It seems Gen Y's have an inbuilt radar which picks up bull easily. If you don't get the respect of a Gen Y, perhaps it's you they don't respect in return!

Gen Y's are going to make a huge impact on the world. Change and flexibility is not a common trait of the Baby Boomer so I'm sure there will be resistance and complaints aplenty.

Do yourself a favor Baby Boomers: find a Gen Y and stay friends with them. You are going to need them to fathom more than how to pay your bills online.

Do you have any observations or comments about our Gen Y's. Please share.


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    • Jewels profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Australia

      Thanks Kelsey. There are a lot of innovative young minds out there in this generation. Given the opportunity great ideas can come to fruition.

    • Kelsey Camille profile image

      Kelsey Boydston 

      4 years ago from Boulder, CO

      I think this hub brings up some very relevant ideas and what we can all come to expect in years to come. Mostly it gets you thinking about it, and that's ALWAYS a good thing! Great hub!

    • Jewels profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for your comment grinnin1. I'm privileged to know several Gen Y's who are into ground breaking technologies of a humanitarian bent. All you hear is the negative stories on Gen Y's. It's good to know there are some fantastic young people out there doing there bit.

    • grinnin1 profile image


      6 years ago from st louis,mo

      What a great hub. Really interesting and thought provoking ideas about what the next generation holds. I often wonder about what the world is going to look like to my children- hard to put yourself in their place and see from their point of view. Thanks for a great hub

    • Jennifer Grana profile image

      Jennifer Grana 

      6 years ago from Plainfield, New Jersey

      This hub is very interesting. There are many people that talk about us indigo children and the like but not many people seem to address the difference between Gen X and Gen Y as you have here. It is the truth that Gen X were the pioneers and paved the way for our work to be possible. Thank you Gen X'ers. The technology part of it is just a huge sign of the forward, complex thinking Gen Y has through evolution. What our souls have used elsewhere is now beginning to show itself here. Thanks for the hub.

    • Jewels profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for dropping in breathe2travel. Respect is one of those traits lost on many and so many who deserve it don't get it. And those who have not been taught respect will possibly not receive it. I hope that last statement is wrong.

    • breathe2travel profile image


      8 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      I am a Generation Xer... but much of your description of Gen Y describes my friends & me. With the respect issue -- I think some sects of people deserve our respect regardless if they have the time to invest in familiarizing themselves with us. Yes, all life deserves respect -- however, honor type of respect is owed to those who lay their lives down for our protection and future -- when they do so with integrity -- people in education, law enforcement, military. I am not a member professionally in any of these sects. Their value is self-evident.

      Interesting read. :)

    • lxxy profile image


      8 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      "Gen Y's do not want to live to work - they want to work to live."

      My life, however fleeting in this corporeal form is forever. I would rather enjoy my time in this stage of being than fritter about amassing wealth with no reason.

    • Jewels profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Joe, you are one guy I need to befriend. Nano technology and its associated arms will offer so much that we don't have now. It will alleviate much suffering and discomfort for many I'm sure. I am concerned about ethics but that's another discussion I'm sure many will be. This is a field which will leave allot of people scratching their heads - lots of Baby Boomers of course as to what is possible that was never fathomable only 10 to 20 years ago. Thankyou for contributing Joe.

    • profile image


      9 years ago


      As a 25yr old Gen Y graduate student of biological design I just wanted to personally shed alittle light on what is in the works for a healthy future. Research in materials science and molecular biology is rapidly progessing faster then many expectations. Exsisting biological models have become very manipulatable to investigate many questions. Plus, with the newly developing feild of synthetic biology it is no longer science fiction to create a fully artificial organic system capable of self-repilcation. These "designer" synthetic organisms have great promise in the fight against various human disease and could even aid in neuronal repair. At the same moment, the work in material science continues to make leaps at discovering novel properties at smaller and smaller scales. Nano and Pico scale bio-compatiable materials used as vectors for specific drug delivery will open new doors on how we will all get treated and serviced. Advances on nanoscale processor based devices and materials will give options to prosthetics unlike anything in commercial today. Everything from the deaf receiving the news on demand via satellite through a cochlear implant to former amputees controlling mechanical limbs fluidly via a nanowire synaptic interface.

    • WeddingConsultant profile image


      10 years ago from DC Metro Area

      Jewels, thanks for shedding light on Generation Y. I, too, wrote a hub on this generation of which I am a part:


      It's definitely important for everyone to understand this generation especially since we're now entering into the workplace and having kids ourselves!

    • Jewels profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Australia

      I think there are several factors that contribute to the obesity epidemic with the younger generation. Lets face it, the older generation are not a very good example either! Diet plays an enormous part in obesity. Here is a link to a transcription on obesity in children, and of course it is effecting us all without us realising.

      Our lifestyle is changing enormously, technology is as addictive as cigarettes. Perhaps another hub will ensue from this.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I don't hold any special knowledge.. but in discussion maybe we could find it between the two of us.

      I've had the discussion before with someone on mylot, about the lazyness of today. I think the example was.. cell phones store our phone numbers so now we don't have to remember these strings of digits.

      The way i see it the onnes is on the user to not be lazy. Technology makes things easier, but at the same time it gives you more space in your brain and more resources b/c you don't have to remember all of these things. So if all of this extra space in your head goes un used then yes you're lazy.

      But whos fault is it? To me its a bit like saying the invention of the car is why obsiety is spreading around n. america

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      For many baby boomers the technology gap is already too wide to bridge. So much IT info that it feels impossible to get a grip on it. So much so that lots of people don't try and they are being left way behind. That can make a person feel powerless and dare I say it - just plain stupid. Paradoxically it is not a good thing that Microsoft do everything for us because in the process we have become brain lazy. Yet no doubt if they didn't there would be allot of chaos around. Open Source is definitely a plus and a step in the right direction to get people to think for themselves again. Only so many will not because of the "I couldn't be bothered factor." And I'm not immune to this either. I write about things like this because I have fallen way behind myself. I was given a great compliment by a Y Generation person who said she was impressed at my computer skills. It was lovely to hear, but I have such high standards that I could not take the compliment seriously.

      But having blurted all the above out onto this page, I will be looking forward to your technological projections and predictions with much interest. And I will swallow hard when I don't understand you and dare to ask for your help.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I like this topic a lot.. later on I'll make a hub about some thoughts that've been brewing on technology. I like to think about the gap we are trying to close, whether it is a gap or whether we are just reaching. If its a gap then what happens when its closed? But yeah I think I've found my new mylot! More room to layout ideas and develop content.

    • Jewels profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Australia

      Hello Howhigh, good to see you again. I have a vested interest in getting as many Generation Y friends as I can. Wisdom tells me that you guys will be our saving grace in the technology department. It will be like having friends in high places that the Baby Boomers can't reach. LOL.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Hey I'm Generation Y, I get myself.. lets find some Zs

      My take is that baby boomers did a lot of hard work for us (n. americans) and now generation Y is one of the first new wave aristocrat population.. i use that word lightly.. but basically the boomers were too busy to examine life.. and now generation Y is going to dd some major pruning. Generation Z i guess is the result of our work.

      Another difference is that we woke up in the information economy. where knowledge is some form of capital. We get it. boomers don't as much. So i think we are about change and pruning.

      Gen. Z should be interesting.. around 2010 we'll get a sense of them.. maybe earlier.

    • Jewels profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Australia

      Thanks timmes. Is interesting to be moving forward and seeing what's coming our way. Generation Y will soon be creating new waves.

      For those who were or are talking about the Fabulous Babies, or the Indigo Children, this is their generation. Said to be innovators, and involved in an era of major technological changes.

      People in the earlier stages of Generation X and all the Baby Boomers will need to keep up with techonology or get left far far behind. As if it has not been difficult enough to keep abreast of IT to date.

      What is coming next???

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This is a really pertinent topic for people in my generation (hint: I grew up in an era when hippies were just starting to see what was really going on!!). Generation Y are our future, and surely the least we can do is understand them as we hope they understand us.

      Also found the link extremely informative. Thanks for raising the question Jewels!


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