How does the millennial generation define success different from the generations before and how are we achieving it?
For many generations success has been a clear path; a good education, a good job, marriage, a house and a good retirement plan. This path still works for a lot of people but most of us millennials are just not satisfied with the traditional layout of a successful life. The day I quit my job was both the most terrifying and exhilarating thing I had ever done. I was terrified because I had no idea what my next step was but exhilarated because every option was now a possibility. There was no time frame or key performance indicators that I had to abide by; I simply had to decide what my next step would be.
This generation of millennials is severely judged by those before us. We are branded as lazy, lost and irresponsible. The fact that many of us choose not to do things the old way makes us seem reckless to generations that have spent their entire lives planning each step and each expense. This more carefree or bold approach to life is why more and more millennials are opting out of 9 to 5 jobs, starting up their own businesses and making use of their talents. According to a study conducted by Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the UAE is among the age group 25-35. The study also shows that both young age groups 18-24 and 25-35 are more likely to leave full-time jobs to pursue entrepreneurship opportunities.
I conducted a survey on young millennials both employed and unemployed to determine how they measured success in terms of their professional lives. When asked what requirements they looked for in a job, 88% of them chose exciting as the main criteria. The results also showed that 50% of them would stay at a job they are unhappy with for a maximum of only two years and 90% of them planned or already owned their own business. The majority, almost 86%, answered that having a job that did not make them happy meant that they were not successful. They explained in different ways, that success came through being passionate and finding the right job or opportunity that made them content. What I learned from these results is that the quality of life and self-fulfillment these young people feel is how they measure their success whether they were employed, self-employed or unemployed.
Chelsea Krost, a millennial spokesperson and expert in millennial mindset marketing explains in her ebook how she believes success by millennials is defined: “success could mean being financially independent and debt free, working in a space that you are truly passionate about, or getting married and having children. A millennial has the flexibility and resources today to really create what they define as success.” If you are like me starting over and looking for a new path, starting a new business or maybe stuck at a job that makes you unhappy, remember we are part of a generation that is breaking the mold and doing things in a new way. Find that job, business, hobby or lifestyle that will make you feel content. Let the success of your life depend on the little things that make you happy and all the risks that are waiting for you to take on.
Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development. (n.d.). Youth and Entrepreneurship in UAE. Retrieved from Emirates foundation : https://www.emiratesfoundation.ae/Content/en/files/Youthentrepreneurship.pdf
Peterson, L. (2015, March 18). Millennials Are Redefining Success – Why the Rest of Us Should Pay Attention. Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leisa-peterson/millennials-are-redefinin_b_6489766.html
Survey Monkey. (2017, June 19). Measuring Success. Retrieved from https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-ZHYDBCQP/