This is being termed as the age of millennials. The young generation which will take the world by storm and put humanity forward in a new round of growth and prosperity. A lot of hope is being attached with the present lot. I consider myself to be amongst them but am a prey of committing the same nonsense which others do. I am no celestial being who is free of sin. But that doesn’t mean I am unaware of the stupidity which percolates my kind. This rambling of mine is just from my observations and can be accurate or plain boo hoo. But this was something which needed to be said and I ain’t keeping quiet.
What defines a great career? What defines exemplary work? Is it the money? The power? The status? Or is it the impact? The change? The happiness you get? What is the measure to define good work?
Millennials are career-centric. No one denies that. They want to make a name for themselves and achieve a certain amount of status. They have knowledge, work and apply the skills they have learnt over time. With the drop in gender barriers (at least in urban areas) the battle has heated up and the competition has become breakneck. But sadly the only thing that matters to them is the almighty job and the paycheck. Or to some the profile they are in.
Job is what drives them and a few lack the vision or foresight to look beyond it. Few actually care about building up a world which is better than it is now. Few care about learning things for the sake of learning. Few dream of solving real-life problems even in a problem-ridden country like India. If no work can be found in a country which lags behind in all respects, where exactly can work be found? Any sector you pick up and there is monumental amounts of work to be done. Yet the only thing we are taught in our education system is making nonsensical presentations and learning outdated theories. The spirit of learning and thinking is missing and hardly anyone fosters it in the youngsters.
Having money is a necessity without which life can be pretty bleak. But is money everything? Is the next and bigger car really what you should live for? Is the flat on Nariman Point the only sign that you have had a great life? But that seems to be the only thing which millennials seem to be focused on. Yes, a large part of the urban youth come from middle-class families like I do. Yes, money is a determining factor. But is money or the job God?
A country of job seekers and no job creators is a country which is doomed. And I am not talking about quasi-job creators who create a technology which is pretty worthless. Pushing a button to make the curtains go up? Really? Is that the need of the hour? A start-up to make things online when there is no need? How can development be focused on this when our country has not even achieved a basic level wherein everyone has their daily needs fulfilled. Beats me!
First focus on developing your skills. Focus on building something, creating something, learning something. Not for the rewards but for the process itself. Is it too tough? Why do you wish to succeed? Why desire things providing pseudo happiness when you can have things which give you a lifetime of happiness?
How about working as a political worker who brings about a new and positive dimension to politics? A scholar who espouses deep learning and spreads it? A person developing techniques to fulfil hunger? An independent policy-making organisation researching new ways of public policy for the country? A company which provides authentic and unbiased news? An institution which trains sportspeople across fields based on merit? A company working for harnessing renewable sources effectively? Somebody bringing new dimensions to media? Working as an independent and headstrong and honest government worker? The list just goes on and on and on.
This is not to say that people are not working on these things. But why are the majority focused on tried and tested fields (CA, MBA, MS) and not venturing into the unknown? Why don’t we support such people? Why not?
Let me ask a simple question. Has the proliferation of education and the rise of so many literates saved our country? Has our country radically transformed? A simple look around and you would know. Then isn’t that a wake-up call that we are headed in the wrong direction?
Endless rounds of discussions have taken place about the malaise of social media. From young kids to adults we spend aeons of our time on these sites. Millennials prefer chatting to talking. We are creating a world of likes and silences where conversations and self-esteem are dying a slow death.
It does not go without notice that our households are where everyone is busy on their phones and not talking about any random stuff. Why? Social media was supposed to enhance our consciousness with better availability of data and information. Yet, the exact opposite is happening. Endless rounds of jokes, memes, stupid messages and false news spread like wildfire in a medium which was supposed to develop us. There is a bombarding of information which makes us feel we know everything when the only thing we know is to be stupid. Millennials feel they are the smartest species to walk the Earth but reading your Facebook feed can never make you smart. Abusing people on Twitter is not the key to worldly knowledge.
In the race of fame we have epidemics of photos, videos, write-ups wherein everyone is expressing and no is listening or understanding. What can you say about a generation which has to watch stand up comedy videos just to laugh? The rise of funny videos just shows that there is a dearth of laughter in our daily lives. Aren’t we a sorry lot?
The other side effect I notice is that our brain is constantly engaged. It is constantly doing something. So much so that silence or not doing anything makes people awkward and restless. People cannot just sit doing nothing and instead prefer to scroll through their feed. Why the restlessness? Why cannot millennials just take in boredom and let their minds wander? Why is there that urge to reach the phone and become a zombie? Why not take a chill pill and just sit and observe?
Millennials view the world through a screen not realising that the actual world unravels when you shut that screen off.
We grow up early nowadays, don’t we? It does not come up as a surprise when I spot young teens dressing up and trying to look much older than they are. When 14-year-olds are going through heartbreaks instead of playing on the field or studying. The fruit is getting ripened much early than it should and that is a cause of trouble my friend.
In a constantly connected world, there is flaming loneliness. To cure that loneliness millennials hop from one relationship to another. They already have low tolerance levels and are an arrogant lot. Relationships are seen as a give and take. As a means of having some acceptability. Who wants to be single when no one else is?
But are we seriously cultivating deep and meaningful relationships? Are we getting down to understanding the other person? Do we have the decency to wait for the other person? A late reply, a late revert leads to break ups. Not giving time leads to break ups. Where couples do not adjust and want things to be done their way. Where endless WhatsApp chats or calls are seen as showing love when in reality they are just a way of curing loneliness.
Why is there a rising fear of being alone? Why don’t millennials give time and space and let relationships nurture slowly? Why do they wish to have everything within the blink of an eye? Questions which I have no answers to.
I think we are losing the simple ways of building relationships. Patience, understanding and compromise are the hallmarks of relationships. But they are in short supply for millennials.
I fear that an epidemic of loneliness will engulf youngsters. They have been handed down a deteriorating world and have no clue of how to fix it. On top of that, there are endless distracting technologies which further add spice to the burn. Unless the issues are fixed at the core, we will lose a generation. A generation which will be too caught up non-essentials and forget the essence of life and growth. And that is a sad future indeed!