Last Friday I went to bed at 10:30pm then woke up at 9am on Saturday morning. The best part about going to dinner and calling it an early night on Friday is I know when I wake up there will be several Instagram pictures for me to look at in the morning from celebrities and average Joe’s alike.
Before my feet even hit the floor, I get up to date on what Kevin Durant did on Friday night (socially and on the court), check my work e-mail to make sure there’s nothing urgent, open my Facebook app if I have a notification, answer any mentions on Twitter I may have, and look up Twitter conversations from my out of town friends to see what they were up to.
Some may think this “extra activity” before actually getting up is stressful; Millennials can barely take care of themselves let alone care about what everyone else is doing, right? However, I think most Millennials would be more stressed if we couldn’t check our social networks. Knowledge is power regardless if you decide to populate your brain with why it took Sean so long to eliminate Tierra, the fiscal cliff and depleting Social Security, or why the Lakers have built the worst “Dream Team” in the history of the NBA (finally now at .500).
Millennials report higher stress levels than Gen Xer’s and Baby Boomers according to a new study by the American Psychological Association and is it because we’re concerned about The Bachelor? I’m unsure, but the NBC article discussing the study points to the unemployment rate and college debt as notable reasons for these unusual spikes in stress for those ages 18-34.
To some extent this is true, however, I think I would be much more stressed if I was a mother of two, Vice President sitting on the leadership team, who just got laid-off by a Fortune 500 company I’ve been loyal to for 15 years but, due to the economy, my employer I was so committed to? Sends me packing. When given that scenario, being a 24 year-old unsure of my entire future seems pretty acceptable.
College grads have been struggling with college debt much earlier than 2013. It’s not specific to this generation. I realize college is more expensive than it has ever been but there’s a thing called inflation that somehow always balances it out. Entry-level salaries are no longer $17,000 and college might not cost $8000 / year either.
The difference in this generation is the amount of information we have access to and the amount of information we want to retain. The more the better; because information is so accessible Millennials have this false hope that there’s no reason we shouldn’t have all of the answers.
Knowing how my company goes to the market, staying up to date on the latest sneaker releases, crossing my fingers Danni isn’t eliminated from Biggest Loser so that Jillian Michaels can stay on the show, making it to my sister’s softball games, finishing my project deadlines on time, failing at baking the latest Pinterest recipe, getting Retweeted by someone on the Glee cast, downloading the newest music, and perfecting the latest and greatest marketing software programs is a typical day and that might only be about 25% of it.
The stress being documented is a direct result from how Millennials go about daily activities in a stream of consciousness manner. I may be filling out a spreadsheet at work and after I’m finished, Instagram a picture that says Excel Master with the X-Pro II filter. Why? Solely because I’m happy it’s finished and want to document it – prior to social media the only people who would know about my “stressful” project would be whomever I meet for dinner that night, not the universe.
Gen Y differentiates itself from the “others” because of their easy adoption of technology. There’s never the next BIG thing for Gen Y, we’re always prepared for the next popular digital tool. Information makes us stressed but without it we’d be bored. We’re not afraid to tell you we’re stressed, because it’s normal. Nothing a Starbucks coffee and new One Direction song can’t cure.
Correlation does not mean causation. Studies reflect Gen Y’s self-diagnosed stress levels. And I’m sure we are stressed. But it doesn’t really matter; it means we’re just going about our daily lives.
What do you think?