By Kimberly Garcia
Blog Content Contributor
Going through school, I’ve always known that I am categorized as a millennial. I knew that people believed that I didn’t know how to communicate face-to-face and that I would always want to keep my face in my phone than have a conversation with another human. Although this is true sometimes, I have never completely related to the stereotypes that were directly related to millennials.
I learned that I was not a part of this generation when my friend told me that there was an up-and-coming generation and that it’s made up by people born from 1996-2010 (depending on who you ask). It’s important to note that generations are determined by major events that occurred during their teens and pre-teens. This is where the lines between generations become blurred.
I can remember milestones like when former President Obama was elected or when the stock markets crashed, but since some of Gen Z was born after those events they obviously don’t remember these occasions. Millennials most likely remember 9/11 but I can’t tell you where I was based off my memory because I was a small child when it happened. Generations don’t just end and begin; they transition and in turn can lead to a lot of confusion when comes to learning about which generation you may be a part of.
Generation Z (Gen Z) or iGeneration is a mystery because its oldest members are sophomores in college and its youngest are in the second grade. According to Growing Leaders.com, Gen Z kids are better at multi-tasking. They are also quite entrepreneurial and cynical.
I thought that it was interesting that members of Gen Z were thought of as cynical. Most articles note that this is the case because, unlike millennials, they’ve never lived in a world where there wasn’t a constant threat or fear of being under attack. After 9/11 many attitudes changed about the world and how much safety it could provide. This impacted Gen Z because they were always warned about terrorist and their looming presences.
In addition, social media became a large part of their development as sites like Facebook and Twitter were created a few years before the oldest Gen Z members could sign up for them. The constant flow of information and the ability to know anything that is happening, at any point, anywhere in the world may give the perception that the world is worse off than it was at earlier times. The impact of seeing constant negativity definitely plays into the overall attitude of the audience that sees it, and the largest and most active audience is Gen Z.
Since technology has been a big player in the development of Gen Z, it has taught them that there is always an easier way, but hard work is still required. They’ve also seen pioneers like Mark Zuckerberg become billionaires with hard work and determination but without a college degree. According to the same article by GrowingLeaders.com, 72% of high schoolers said that they could see themselves opening a business. Knowing that someone was able to create something out of a passion and the dedication inspires Gen Z to do the same. I think that this says that Gen Z is will to take risks in order to pursue what they’re passionate about.
Thinking about a new generation and the characteristics they have can be overwhelming to understand, but Vision Critical has great infographics that explain the differences between the generations that are currently in the work force and the habits that distinguish them. Learning more about the new generations that enter young adulthood can be helpful when deciding how to best market the newest product or understand their way of thinking.
So before you label a 21-year-old as a millennial, understand that they probably fit the standard of someone in Gen Z much better.
Featured illustration by Joseph Wallace.