Are Gen Z and Millennials similar

Pic Source - Stripo

Most mentions of Gen Z tend to be clubbed with millennials. Several research reports from notable authorities do the same. As a millennial, this feels a bit inaccurate. In the 10 odd years that separate the two generations, the whole reality of the world underwent its first tsunami of technological transformation. In that time, we went from the world wide web to search engines. From chat windows to social networks. These changes impacted more than just how the world operated. It caused a foundational shift in how people perceive the world and themselves in it. No wonder that Gen Z is largely an enigma, even for most millennials.

Below are four overlooked facets which make the casual clubbing together of Gen Z and Millennials sound a little out of tune:

Career: I can speak for most millennials when I say that while we did have greater opportunity to pursue careers beyond the conventional options, we still always had to first apply for engineering, medicine, chartered accountancy or in the least, for a degree in computer applications, before setting out to explore options that seemed to be opening up for us. If we passed the entrance test, we typically spent 3-5 years obtaining the degree first, however unrelated it was to what we really wanted to pursue. Gen Z on the other hand, is the first generation that was largely free of this obligation to their parents and could explore careers of their choice from the start. This age advantage makes them completely different to millennials who mostly bloomed later in life, if we did.

Marriage: By the 2000s the mainstream cinema narrative focussed on friendships and family bonds with love as an overriding or underlying theme but parents were no longer the enemy. This coincided with the times, when research revealed a surge in young urban people preferring love-arranged or outright arranged marriage because of the trust they place in their parents and family. A stark difference from the attitudes of just 10 years prior. Going by popular cinema of the mid 90s, love marriages were an act of rebellion and revolution against a ‘zamana’ touted as being enemies of love.

Attitudes: Gen Z is unfazed by allegations of being entitled and lazy. The generation most irked by this empowerment of Gen Z are millennials, who have just got where they have after at least a decade of putting office, family expectations and a need for societal validation before self.

Mental health: Men didn’t cry. Neither did any strong person. Millennials need greater assurance that there indeed is no taboo in acknowledging our mental struggles and seeking help for it. We used to be wary of people with known mental disorders. Gen Zers, on the other hand, are wary of people who have never been in therapy because that in all likelihood could mean that they are clueless about their own mental issues and tend to be blissfully unaware of their own lack of basic insight and resulting harshness.

Mindset: Gen Z only knows of a world that keeps giving them more chances. Something we didn’t have in our formative years. The cost of error in present times is close to nil. Gen Z is unafraid to give anything a go, even if ill prepared. Millennials on the other hand tend to be weighed down by the fear of failing and looking stupid etc.

Till 2 decades ago, targeting the age group of 20-30 yrs simply meant learning their lingo. The rest we knew, because we had lived through their age in similar circumstances. However, nobody before GenZ has lived through their reality at this age. Not even millennials. Every generation today stands to benefit from the freedom and facilities the present times and technologies offer, but only Gen Z is mentally free from the metaphorical baggage that every previous generation including millennials struggle to shake off.

To best cater to Gen Z aspirations, we need to start with keeping aside our differences, go easy on the sweeping judgment and respect their reality. We better start listening and understanding because soon, the Gen Z voice is all that will count.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pooja Nair
Pooja Nair has over 20 years of experience as a branding consultant across leading global Ad consultancies. Pooja is also known to be an ex theater performer, actress and model. Since September, 2022, she has focussed completely on her passion for the changing face of business, brand-building and reputation.

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