This is that time of the year, when there is frenzy all around about the future of millions of young adults. These children along with their parents are equally crazy about what course/stream they should pursue, what will have more scope 3 or 4 years down the lane when their children graduate, what opportunities will come their way while they chose to pursue a particular course and last but not the least what social status will the course attribute to the kids, their parents and the families. Sadly enough, very less bother to ask “What is that interests my kids enough?” or “What’s that where my kids will create enough scope for themselves?” At the core of so much being done for education and overall development of generations, there’s some basic building blocks still missing.
Well, I do not wish to ponder upon how we as a society can overcome all of that. I write this piece directed towards the millennials on how they are at the cusp of freedom of choice and liberty to do what makes their life more fulfilling and enriching. Millennials – the group of kids born between 1981 and 2001 – are at an edge today.
Dear Millennial folks, there’s nothing that is going to stop you from making your own choices. There’s more to what you think you can achieve and aspire for in life. I belonging to the same set of plethora understand that what bothers you more, what is that you stand for and what do you seek. While you will be consistently pressed upon to make big in life, you should know that the world right now takes a bow in front of us – the millennials. From politicians to economists to marketers; everyone is busy working on a plan and a strategy to woo us as their loyalists. After all millennials in India alone account for 440mn of the population.
The world understands our urge to be independent, being able to identify our choices and interests without any time pressure. It is ok if the right thing comes late and by experience instead of taking shorter-faster-easier route that at the end is not fulfilling enough. Unlike previous generations, millennials like to have a value system of their own and at the same time respect the value system of others. Challenges do not deter them, nor do moving away from home to accomplish their dreams. There is a desire to make a difference.
They are not there at a workplace to cater to a boss but look for a mentor instead. While they are more than willing to adopt a social norm per se, they are the first ones to rebel if that comes at the cost of common good. Competition is good but self-esteem is valued more. Ambitious – yes but at the same time they love to maintain a healthy work-life balance too. Technology single handedly has played a huge role in letting millennials interact with different cultures and lifestyles and filter out the best for themselves. They might be wanderers but they are not a lost generation. Probably they do not believe in toeing the black and white lines and feel absolutely comfortable in hovering in the grey areas in life. And all this makes MILLENNIALS so special and un-ignorable a generation.
Undoubtedly, some of the biggest political campaigns such as Swacchh Bharat, tobacco free zones, literate India, gender equality or party campaignscould not have made big if not launched on the digital platform where the millennial presence was the most. Political parties are well aware that it would not take time for these individuals to trickle away if they do not align themselves with their values and vision for a develop India. So it becomes imperative that all good work that is done reaches out to them and also millennials are not just considered a voter but a major stakeholder in the entire journey because that is what makes them feel consequential at the end of the day.
The problem remains the same when it comes to corporate houses. A hefty pay-check alone cannot attract the brightest of the millennial. They are under extreme pressure to give the millennial the liberty to explore opportunities within the organisation, have a work-life balance, learning avenues and enough to satiate his appetite to grow as an individual. The businesses need to have a philosophy, vision and a mission that gives them an anchor. Though we see finding a job opportunity to be a daunting task, it is becoming equally tough for the companies to find the right candidate with ease. Because company alone is not selecting a candidate, the millennial is also rejecting a company at the same time.
While it becomes tough to assimilate all of these thoughts, this is the other facet to the story. No wonder, the biggest and the legacy brands are facing the heat of the millennial power. The brands these days while maintain the emotional connect ensure that they are reaching the millennials at the right platform.
A lucrative offer or an ad is not enough; the brands need to stand for what the end consumer – the millennials – stand for. The boundaries are blurring, there is more information exchange and the millennials are leading the change.
They seek information and reviews about the products online, talk to the peer group before making a purchase. They ensure that there is value for money and not just buying a product.They are the influencers who are going to make or mar the business.
While there is so much brainstorming happening behind the scenes as to how to cater to these set of individuals, it is for us to understand that times are changing – there is less need to play safe and get education just to secure a safe job. We are living in the best of times which gives us an opportunity to explore the world and ourselves. So this admission season, dear millennials and parents, do not fret over which opportunities were lost, or force feed your children into something that doesn’t strike a chord with them. Stand by their side, let them explore themselves and then take a flight.Believe in the millennial power, bring on the millennial power!
(The writer is an IIM Shillong Alumnus)