By Avery Owens |
Let’s get one thing straight— I am not a millennial.
I was born in 1998, therefore I am a proud member of Generation Z. I grew up watching Hannah Montana and playing games on my pink Nintendo DS, and I cannot remember a world without technology.
All of my college career, I have heard older generations badmouth millennials and assume I was one. This assumption followed me to the real world when I interned in corporate America this past summer. Daily, I would get asked what it was like to be a millenial in today’s world. Out of respect, I would ignore the fact that I was not one, but now I’m ready to clarify the next time someone assumes that I am.
During my time as an intern, I saw employees born before 1981 struggle to use devices and software that younger generations can use in their sleep. In many instances, fellow interns stepped up and saved the day. It was as if Superman saved the city, but really someone just put a PowerPoint into presentation mode.
In the office, I saw generational gaps unfold before me. This made me curious to learn more about the generation that I am a member of.
So who is Gen Z?
It is the youngest generation to be named and includes all individuals who were born after 1995. It is also the second largest generation below the baby boomers. Most are still in school, and few have entered the workplace. They are eager and they are hungry to make a difference.
The New York Times ran a special print edition on Gen Z in March and defined the group as, “The most diverse generation in U.S. history.” Additionally, they said, “More than half [of the generation] believe humans are fueling climate change” and “70% want the government to do more to solve the nation’s problems.”
Because this age group was raised in a digital world, they have seen the negative effects of technology first-hand. Also, as a diverse group, they have seen a wide-range of problems. In response, they are fighting for solutions to issues such as global warming and animal cruelty.
In addition to being problem-solvers, Gen Z-ers are pushing past stereotypes. In their book, “Close Encounters,” Laura Guerrero, Peter Anderson, and Walid Afifi said, “Generation Z-ers are very individualistic and less tied to gender roles than any other generation.” Gen Z-ers are steering away from gender roles and giving women a shot at equality. Women of Gen Z, including myself, don’t feel incapable finding success in the workplace. They have been taught to aim for the same goals as men. In return, they are creating a limitless world for women in the following generations.
The last point I will argue is that Gen Z-ers are good communicators. They are known for over-communicating and constantly keeping people in the loop. Some credit this quality to the fact that they were raised in a world of texting and instant messaging. They are always communicating with someone, and they know how to communicate well.
In their research, Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi said the seamlessness of technology “leads Generation Z to be flexible and good at multitasking, as well as able to process information quickly.” Gen Z-ers are able to engage in multiple communication platforms at a time. They can deliver messages quickly and efficiently. This is a unique quality that the older generations do not possess. Ultimately, Gen Z-ers have a lot going for them. They are tech-savvy, difference-makers, inclusive, and good communicators. They are making the world a better place, and still have so much life ahead of them. I think they have the potential to change the world.
I am a proud member of Gen Z. Anyone born after 1995 should be proud too.