Do not, I repeat, do not buy so much as a bunch of tulips. Do you hear me? They will all be reduced the next day and I’ll buy them myself after dropping the kids to school.”
So goes the exact same conversation every year prior to February 14. As if the man I married would contemplate even purchasing said blooms in the first place on the ‘Hallmark Holiday’ that is Valentine’s Day.
‘How very Millennial’, I hear you cry! To eschew such obvious and distasteful consumerism. But alas it is more budgetary constraint than principles which stay my hand from procuring the coveted bumper bouquet and forces me to run the gauntlet the following morning for some heavily discounted, crimson hued teases.
Yes, not only am I a Millennial, or a Gen Y(er), but I am the lesser known sub-category of same… a Millennial with a mortgage. On occasion. we might be partial to a bit of notions chutney when we are feeling a bit flush but, on the other hand, we have a solid working, and borderline obsessive, knowledge of negative equity, pension plans and scroll the ‘Top 100 Schools’ list with all the frantic fervour of a chemically addled ferret.
We are the Traditional Millennials if you will. Those who have had their beginnings in conventional employment but who have also benefitted from advances in education, tech and the development of more fluid career options. Often deemed, ‘soft and coddled’, by Gen X; we also have to be mindful of our other peers who have yet to gain a foothold on the property ladder or indeed, who may never get an opportunity to do so. It is, in essence, a limbo of sorts: one where we defend the opportunities, we have garnered for ourselves to the previous generation while listening and attempting to support our Post-Millennial counterparts, also known as Gen Z.
Gen Z is the newest generation to be named and were born between the years 1995-2015. This is also the generation of my children.
Women’s Wear Daily has gone on record as saying that Gen Z are ‘…the next big retail disrupter’. A bit of a grim summation in its totality but, broken down, only serves to highlight that this may well be the case for the positive as the landscape has now changed dramatically as opposed to the one viewed by Gen Y. Others have stated that in comparison to their Millennial bedfellows, Gen Z are conscientious and mindful of their future and that of the planet they inhabit. Which is an entirely more optimistic analysis of our veritable hope for the years to come.
Gen Z is now taxed with the heavy burden of righting our wrongs. Which considering that the eldest of this generation is now only the grand ol’ age of 23, makes is seem all that bigger of an ask. If my generation has been attributed as having ‘…no memory of life without computers or the internet’, then how Gen Z will proceed to harness same has yet to be fully known. They are living in an era where a start-up cash cow is at their fingertips via social platforms. However, they are conscious of only taking risks to a certain degree as they are aware that employment is hard to garner and that they need to box clever with the information they share across platforms so as not to damage potential job prospects.
The list is never-ending. Is there an end in sight? Is it beyond selfish that we must now task our children with seeking solutions for where we failed to be accountable? Or, given the knowledge that we have of our failings, are we now in better position to support Gen Z as they move for change in the coming years?
One of the most discussed motivators for this generation is that of security. Many will have witnessed their parents navigate financial hardships during the recession and are therefore willing to work hard to secure their future. Their ability to multitask and cultivate a communicative and entrepreneurial environment has also been identified as the first wave has entered the workforce. As for the tulips? With a strong focus on sustainability, Gen Z will have revolutionised the marketplace as we know it. Not only will there be even greater weight behind local suppliers but we can expect to buy our blooms in season and with a significantly reduced carbon footprint. For me, the Gen Z vision is worth investing in.