Yet, despite all the extra privileges accorded it, Generation Y remains the unhappy generation. Tim Urban tried to get to the root of the problem in his oft repeated article ‘Why Gen Y is Unhappy’. It is written in the popular ‘Ladybird’ style so Gen Y and Gen Z children can understand it.
Lucy is part of Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s. She’s also part of a yuppie culture that makes up a large portion of Gen Y.
I have a term for yuppies in the Gen Y age group—I call them Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies, or GYPSYs. A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.
So Lucy’s enjoying her GYPSY life, and she’s very pleased to be Lucy. Only issue is this one thing:
Lucy’s kind of unhappy.
To get to the bottom of why, we need to define what makes someone happy or unhappy in the first place. It comes down to a simple formula:
Happiness = Reality = Expectations
Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has ”unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.” He says that ”a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.“
Lucy’s extreme ambition, coupled with the arrogance that comes along with being a bit deluded about one’s own self-worth, has left her with huge expectations for even the early years out of college. And her reality pales in comparison to those expectations, leaving her “reality – expectations” happy score coming out at a negative.
And it gets even worse. On top of all this, GYPSYs have an extra problem that applies to their whole generation: Gypsys are Taunted.
Social media creates a world for Lucy where A) what everyone else is doing is very out in the open, B) most people present an inflated version of their own existence, and C) the people who chime in the most about their careers are usually those whose careers (or relationships) are going the best, while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation. This leaves Lucy feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well, only adding to her misery:
So that’s why Lucy is unhappy, or at the least, feeling a bit frustrated and inadequate
The boomers gave a collective groan followed by ironic laughter when the Youth Council spokesperson opened her speech with the pompous and delusional words ‘I feel the weight of all my generation on my shoulders’. The audience offered similar feedback to the Generation Zero spokesperson when he said he wanted to live in Remuera, and he wanted to live there NOW, and he wanted someone to give him a house there that he could afford.
Unable to take the feedback offered by the audience the clearly shaken lass and lad took to social media afterwards to complain about the nasty oldies.
It was the sad, but inevitable, outcome of Brown and Hulse pitting one generation against another, giving ‘yoof’ the delusion that they are ‘special’ instead of helping them face the reality that, like the rest of us, they need first to work hard and save.