The Snowflake Generation
I think there's a time for everyone, when your generation gets a little bit of stick.
Right now, there's no doubt about it being the turn of millennials. The 'snowflake' generation.
Millennials sit between Gen X and Gen Z, with a birth date range of 1981 to 1996. It's a hard place, to be a millennial. We were born into a world where the internet consisted of dial-up connection, and using the landline was only possible if somebody wasn't on the computer. We remember the dial-up tone, having 5 channels on the TV, and mobile phones relying on pay-as-you-go.
However, we are also the generation who grew up alongside tech. Our teenage years were littered with awful Facebook photos and mobile phones could suddenly be used to browse. The huge acceleration of technology has brought about 'early-onset nostalgia' - our childhoods feel so out of reach, because of the differences in the world around us - and yet really only a decade or so has passed.
As a millennial business owner, there's a huge expectation for you to know everything about the online world. The ins and outs of social media, the latest trends, the how-tos, it's a result of the assumption that we were born into the digital world.
However, there are plenty of millennials who don't necessarily know how to navigate the online landscape, or how to use it to their advantage from a business perspective. When Coronavirus hit, this became more obvious than ever - those who were not online, who didn't know how to make a name for themselves without word of mouth, floundered beneath the world of online shops and products. They couldn't jump into working remotely, or building a business online, despite there being this belief that millennials know everything because they were 'born digital'.
I'm a very proud millennial. I love that I'm a part of this generation - the generation who are now coming up as leaders in the world. Whilst I may be considered a 'younger' millennial at 28, it's not a label I shirk off. I believe it is being a part of this generation that has led me run a successful online business which works with people across all age-brackets, abilities, skillsets and passions.
The millennial mindset is often spoken badly - we are the first 'snowflake generation'. However, at the core of the snowflake mindset is simply a shift. It's a shift in the traditional way of thinking 'accept what you're given' and instead is a cross-over between yes, taking what you're given, but also going out and getting what you want.
I don't think there's anything strong or admirable about putting up with things that you shouldn't. Whether it's discrimination, long working hours, unrealistic expectations or lying in business to get ahead. As a generation, we're looking at how to do things differently, and how to do things better. We know from our own experience and pushback, that if you're in the right mindset you can grow and change and be an example of what the world could be. If not putting up with crap makes you a snowflake, then I'm extremely passionate and proud to be one.
The relationship between millennials and tech has positioned us as the pioneers of grabbing opportunities as they're presented to us - and they've never been presented so readily, thanks to the instancy of the online world. It's never been easier to build a brand and or build a business, anyone could start a business and launch it within a couple of weeks if they know what they're doing, and millennials are at the heart of those who are doing this.
You can never generalise an entire generation based on the actions of thoughts of a minority, but this seems to have happened. As a proud millennial, I say that we're wanting to do things differently, to shake things up and make things better for the planet. Culturally, socially, environmentally. We want to make the world a better place.
I very much believe in the impact that our generation can have. If you're a business owner, you should be taking guidance and inspiration from all walks of life - all ages, all ethnicities, all demographics - everybody has something to offer that could improve your business or teach you new things.
The sooner we can stop putting ourselves into generational categories, and start looking at ourselves as people with a passion, the sooner we can create a future that we all want to be a part of.