Gen Y Too much choice!
The Financial Times recently published a thought-provoking article called Tribal Workers. The author describes a phenomenon common amongst today’s young adults – Gen Y – in their late 20’s and early 30’s who are frustrated and “angst-ridden” about their future and the inability to make the right choices due to “an excess of possibilities”.
I turned 30 not so long ago and I sometimes find myself in that dilemma. Yes, I am one of these young women who is torn between the endless possibilities but at the same time afraid of not making the right choice. I was born in the Soviet Union. My childhood was not influenced by popular culture and the idea that one could “do anything”, “be anything”. Instead we were taught that we were all equal. Our society was a place wherein no one would strive to ‘have’ (or ‘be’) more than another. My family’s decision to move to Germany caused all this to change radically. Life became different. Fast, challenging, competitive.
As a ‘child of immigrants’ I felt I had to prove myself, to study hard; harder than the rest. Successful completion of high school in Germany followed by successful accomplishment of high school in the US and a year of study and work in Spain.
Coping with an excess of possibilities
And there I was, in my early 20s, with 4 languages spoken fluently, with high intercultural awareness after having lived in 4 countries, a young woman who had always aspired to become a successful lawyer. However, to my dear parents’ chagrin, I decided to become a professional dancer. I decided this after realizing that dance was a passion that had lain dormant in me for years. I left to Buenos Aires, Argentina where I trained day and night. As a dancer you learn to live under pressure, you get up each time you fall, continue even if you’re tired, even if you’re hurting. You learn endurance the hardest way, you become stage-ready, you acquire subtle skills, and you learn to adopt and adapt and stand out at the same time. To this day today, dancing has an impact on me like nothing else in my life does or ever will.
Plan B becomes Plan A
Unfortunately, the dancing career was over sooner than planned due to a dancing injury and there I suddenly found myself with my Plan B of studying becoming my Plan A. I studied, learned and taught. Lived in New Zealand for a couple of months, taught German at the University of Auckland, received a BA from the University of Hamburg. Regained strength got back on my feet. Applied to the London School of Economics (LSE), completed a MSc degree in European Studies and International Relations and before I knew it I was out there in the big world with a degree from a prestigious university and in a completely new role. I went to China for work, to Israel for a Summer University before I finally arrived in Brussels in October 2010, where I am now, working in public affairs.
I think I still haven’t found what I am looking for. I am not sure about where I want to be and what I want to do in the future. I am still working on the internal question of my identity. I know I want to impact the world significantly in distinctly positive ways. I want to put as much “me” as possible into everything I do. However, I must admit that life has been interesting, overwhelming , sometimes difficult, but never slow. And very beautiful.