How to be Gen Z and Well?

Jun 20, 2023

How does Gen Z see the working world? With trepidation.

McKinsey

If McKinsey is right and Gen Z sees the future world with trepidation, how did the world see the generations before them?

Baby Boomers would like to be remembered as idealists creating the credo of the Hippies, and would probably be remembered as selfish greedy narcissists like Trumps. Gen X was more practical, cynical, and equally selfish family breakers. Millennials were considered entitled with attitude. Now in their forties, they would probably like to forget the last decade. Gen Z is in a petri dish of accelerating change on all fronts, political, social, environmental, health, technological, and behavioural. Would they turn out to be the most resilient of the last 100 years?

A 2022 McKinsey Survey, https://tinyurl.com/ybxz84nh, had this to say about the Gen Z workforce.

  • 50% experienced mental ill health issues
  • Over a quarter are affected by workplace adversely
  • More than half do not ever expect to own a home
  • About half feel unstable in their career progression
  • In almost all the above criteria, Gen Z’s negative scores are higher than the general population.

In contrast, they are vague generalizations about the Gen Z mindset not dissimilar to what was said two decades ago about the millennial generation, dusted and wordsmithed as:

  • They are ‘woke’ and care about DEI
  • Autonomy and positive feedback are important to them
  • They seek work-life balance, purpose in work, believe in DEI, etc.
  • All these are as American as Mom and Apple Pie

Based on what one sees happening with the early millennial generation now in their midlife crisis, and the state of the world, one would take the McKinsey report seriously. Numerous studies have emphasized mental ill health and the need for workplace wellness. The US Surgeon General has warned of loneliness and social media as health disruptors. Many studies cite toxic work environments as a major issue.

Baby Boomers grew up knowing very little about computers while Gen X pioneered the digital age. Millennials were natural users of digital technology. Now, Gen Z is likely to go beyond and see AI as a way of life, thus setting them apart from other generations who use it as a search engine to get information. This, coupled with wearable digital devices will change the landscape of how one learns, works, and experiences life.

Change by itself is a constant in a general sense, yet variable in the way it manifests. However, the last decade’s changes have been significant. More so, they have been coupled with climate change effects, and the impact of the pandemic, which occurred after a 100-year lapse. Together, these have far overshadowed the traditional challenges of technological advances and localized ethnic conflicts.

The changes we experienced since the year 2000 are cataclysmic and for which the human race had no solutions. Such natural cataclysmic changes are likely to be more common for the next generations unless their mindset changes.

Wellness, health, and stress, whether at work or in the personal space are internal derivatives. Much of this is within our locus of control. Trepidation arising from an external source can be faced as we know the enemy. It is far more difficult to cope with the anxiety within, arising from a gap between our expectations and what we see as possible outcomes. Acceptance based on a deeper understanding of why we want what we want helps.

Coaching, especially self-coaching, to evoke this self-awareness leading to self-realized acceptance is a pathway experienced by many. This can be meditative, contemplative, emotional, or cognitive, but it needs to be sensory to connect with the deepest levels of the mind-body system. This is a learned behavior.

In this series of posts, let’s look at how future generations can be wiser than we have been thus far. So far, we let our senses control our mind and body. It’s time we used our mind-body to direct our senses to a larger purpose. This could be the positive psychology we are looking for rather than multiple definitions of happiness and challenges to overcome.

Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC

Ram

Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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