Millennial Adaptability Heightened by Rapid Technological Change

Life is never stagnate. I don’t know if it’s karma or just the way energy was meant to flow in this world, but if I have learned anything in 24 years of life, it’s that life will always throw you a curve ball. The second you feel most comfortable and secure is the moment to be wary. Life loves to pull the rug out from under those enjoying contentment.

That’s not meant to be a negative statement. Life changes; it’s just a fact. If everything remained the same, we’d have quite a boring world. As such, one of the keys to happiness is being able to find contentment in uncertainty.

I’ve known this for a long time, which is why I kicked myself for being unprepared for Friday’s news. For those who don’t read my Stream of Consciousness posts, I was laid off on Friday. The past handful of months have been detailed with contentment, and I just knew something would happen to mix it all up.

You can’t predict those events, though. You can’t prepare for everything. As I have been aware of life’s uncertainly for a while, I still find myself relatively content. I have a plan in place that has worked for me many times before and am doing my best to remain confident. There is certainly an undercurrent of inadequacy running through my mind, but I won’t let that affect me. Being in a position where you suddenly have no job is a rather normal occurrence in adulthood. I accept that and I am moving forward.

This post isn’t about the specifics of my situation. I’m writing today to discuss the idea of uncertainly and how well we deal with it. To me, handling uncertainty is a necessity of life. Nothing it guaranteed and nothing last for ever. Whether or not you choose to accept uncertainty is irrelevant.

I know a lot of people who complain or lament today’s economy. It was only a few decades ago that the average 24-year-old would have been married, owned a house and worked at a steady job. Those days are past us, with some saying Millennials, my generation, will average five different careers in their lifetime. One survey even found that Millennials may have 15-20 different jobs over their lives. Gone are the days where most people stayed at one job for decades. Given what’s I’ve seen happen to friends after college graduation, I’m not surprised. Even if Millennials are happy to stay with the company they currently work for, chances are that company will have other plans.

While this all sounds depressing, it doesn’t have to be. I think the Millennial generation is more prepared for this sort of economy than any that came before. We are more used to change in the things that effect our every day lives.

This photo, “change” is copyright (c) 2014 Pardesi* and made available under an Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license

Everyday technology has gone through many rapid changes over my lifetime and it shows no signs of slowing down. As such, I have become extremely adaptable. When I was young, my family had box T.V.s. I listen to music via CDs on my boombox or portable CD player. Just a couple of years later, the VHS tapes I so loved became DVD. The T.V.s became flatter and my CD collection was complied onto a MP3 player smaller than my hand.

Maybe all that seems petty, but I remember my father complaining about DVDs, proclaiming he’d never by a DVD player He now owns a DVD player. I remember him complaining about flat-screen T.V. and HD-TV, claiming he’d never buy another once his box T.V. quit on him He now own, of all things, a smart TV.

People take changes in their personal electronics seriously. My parents’ biggest issue was having to learn how to operate a new piece of technology to do basically the same thing as their outdated technology. This ‘t a problem I usually have. As soon as something changes, as soon as there is something new and better, I am prepared to learn. In fact, I seem to catch on to new technology pretty well.

My mom once looked a me in wonder as I fixed some minor computer problems she was having, asking how I knew what I was doing. What I told her seemed so simple. I was just pressing buttons. Having used computers since Kindergarten, I learned by doing. No matter what new things technology throws at me, I can always lean on my knowledge of old technology to guide me through the use of new technology.

I propose that most if not all Millennials have this skill of adaptation. Those who can adequately translate it into their daily lives will have an easier time adapting to all life changes. That, of course, doesn’t remove hardship. It’s more of mental game and the ability to remain calm.

There isn’t a study I can cite for my theory. Really, I’m just using myself. People seem to think it would be normal for me to be lost in misery as I carry on after being laid off. While I’m certainly not happy about it, I’ve made my list of objectives. I know what I have to do to move on and, while the future is uncertain, fear is minimal. I’m good with change. More than that, I embrace change. I think, all Millennials, having grown up with more change than perhaps any generation before them, are better equipped to deal with dramatic changes more than any other generation before.

How do you handle change? Do you think the rapid pace of technological advancement has made Millennials more adaptable? Is this a positive effect? Do you know of any job openings for writers, journalist or marketers in the Chicagoland area?

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44 thoughts on “Millennial Adaptability Heightened by Rapid Technological Change”

  1. To paraphrase Thich Nhat Hahn, without change a little girl would never grow into a lovely lady, and a seed would never become a flower.
    People often suffer when their unrealistic expectations are not met. Being comfortable with uncertainty, as you have suggested, is a healthy approach.

  2. Someone once said, “Be like water”. Put water in glass it becomes glass put it in bottle, it becomes bottle. Whatever situation you put it in it adapts to it, I just love this perception 🙂 It eases mind.

  3. Sorry to hear about your job but you seem to be pretty resilient, being able to weather the change. I have been made redundant before and I take two things from it. 1, I’ll never commit to a company or something I don’t believe in and 2, change is a positive part of life. It keeps life fresh. One door closes but one will always open

  4. I know exactly what you’re going through, considering something similar happened to me just a couple of years ago. The key is to not get discouraged, and don’t let it take away your smile.

    In the end, I had a job that was much, much better than the one I’d lost. I’m sure the same will happen for you.

    1. That’s what I’m hoping for. I learned today, though, that I need to get out of my apartment to concentrate. Luckily, there are places I can go within walking distance. I’ll make it happen.

  5. I’ve thought about this often. There’s something fittingly human to imposing/expressing peace, order, and stability into a corruptable, corrupting world – to the work the fields, to have a habit of a living, etc. But it’s hardly ever so ideal, idyllic, or pristine as all that; and given our historical context, I’d say a rethinking of the previous ‘stability’ – a stability which was a distortion of what I have in mind as the ideal, that is, cubicles and faceless glass-paned call centres – is a move in the right direction. Thankfully many employers and even corporations are rethinking the 20th-century model of ‘corporation’. On the other hand, in the meantime, the bills need paying, and it’s rough not having a job – so in that sense, I’m sorry for your situation. But I do think our generation (especially your end of it) is best equipped to flourish in this environment.

    1. My now old boss was also frustrated with the 30th-century model. He wanted to instill a 4-day work week and had a bunch of other ideas. It wasn’t even a 9-5 job. It was more of a ‘however long it takes you to get stuff done’ kind of job.

  6. With your positive outlook things can only get better. You seem to be a very smart, composed, goal oriented, and well grounded practical person, which i am sure lots of employers will love. Best wishes and keep up the awesome attitude 🙂

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. I like to think I’m equipped for this change. I’ll just keep riding life and see where it takes me from here.

  7. I am literally old enough to be your mother so am not a millennial but I think as humans we adjust to change in different ways and at different rates. I have found, for instance, that I am pretty adaptable and flexible even when dealing with major life changes (my immigration being just the most recent example) but that I don’t fare especially well with the process of change during the transition period. I think what I have found is that you just need to cling to the little things that are propelling your forward in a positive direction and take confidence from them that things will improve, that stability and equilibrium will be regained, and that the frustrating and anxious aspects of the transition period will be seen as a worthwhile investment at the end of the process. It is easier said than done but certainly focusing on small details is less overwhelming than looking at the change in its entirety.

    1. For me, I just need to feel like I’m moving forward. I like change, so as long as I am moving in a positive direction, I’m happy. Although, admittedly, this was not the change I was prepared for.

      1. My husband is like you then as he too likes change. I think I’m hard-wired from early experiences to crave stability so the process of change unsettles me somewhat even when I am completely happy with the change inherently. I think while right now this change in your life is creating uncertainty, it is also an opportunity for growth and to take your career in a new direction so there are positives inherent even in the acute crisis of sudden unemployment. As a few of us have noted, it’s not uncommon to find a better position at the end of the period of unemployment. Hopefully it won’t be long before you are blogging about your great new job and the serendipity of the redundancy. I will cross my fingers for you.

  8. Any advantage Generation Y has in understanding and appreciating change has likely been counteracted by helicopter parents and “everybody gets a trophy” culture. If the only change one has had to cope with their entire life is getting a new phone every year, they’re not prepared for much. If you, TK, feel comfortable with big changes in your life, it is due to your own personal intelligence and resourcefulness, rather than any inherent qualities in your generation.

    As an interesting aside, I’ve seen it argued that Generation Y really doesn’t understand technology much better than previous generations [1]. They’re capable of using it, but many cannot perform the most basic diagnostic or maintenance procedures — akin to many young adults knowing how to drive a car, but being unable to change a tire.

    [1] http://coding2learn.org/blog/2013/07/29/kids-cant-use-computers/

  9. Good luck with the job hunt!!

    It seems like pretty much my generation and younger handle the technology changes well, the younger the easier it seems to come. I think people are more used to change now. Very generally speaking, over 40s and certainly over 50s really struggle with technology changes (at least the ones I work with). I hope it’s not contagious because I’ll be there before I know it 🙂

    1. Haha, very true. I certainly hope I’m used to the pace of technology. It’d be so sad if things suddenly seemed to be moving too fast for me to handle. I suppose it’s a matter of being involved in what’s new. Eventually, it’s a choice whether or not you stay up to date with the going ons of the world.

      1. Your probably right, I’m sure there comes a time when you just don’t care enough anymore to keep up. Saying that I can’t comprehend a day when I don’t know how to make the basic functions of an OS work 😉

        1. It depends. On T.V. I’ve seen plenty of people my parents’ age and older who are into modern music and technology. I’m sure it’s easy to drop out of it all, but if you want to stay in the know, you will.

  10. I agree with you 100%. Sorry about being laid off–an opportunity will come to you soon. I can relate to constant change, especially with the job/career market. When August arrives, I will being looking for another job and I am actually looking for one now in hopes I can have a job by August. But I will not be surprise if I don’t. Today, nothing lasts forever, things are always changing and its almost better to expect these changes so that you’re not surprise when they happen.

    1. Was there ever a time where something lasted for ever? This is just the way of the world. I wish I would have seen this coming so I could have looked for jobs myself, but I don’t mind this bit of time off. There are positives in being between jobs, so long as I don’t stay between jobs.

      1. You are right on that one. I would not mind having a break between jobs, especially if there are goals I want to accomplish or things I want to pursue that I wouldn’t be able to if I had a job.

        1. like writing a book… although I’ve spent a lot of time working on my blog. I need to shake off my funk and I could finish the first draft of my book sooner rather than later.

          1. That is a good example–I also need to complete a story and short story series, which I hope to continue to work on in August when I have more time. But definitely use this time to work on your story while looking for employment, this may be the perfect time to complete your book!

            1. I haven’t yet, just because I’ve been in a funk. I think I will start tomorrow though. If I can complete the first draft before half the year is up, I might be able to complete the whole manuscript by the end of the year.

  11. Sorry to hear about your job, but you have a good point about adaptability. Sounds like you’re taking it about the way I and most of my friends do — losing a job is just something that happens. You cope and keep moving. It’s the same with technology. It seems like young people are more focused on what they want to get done, not the specific way they want to do it, at least where technology is concerned.

    1. Yep! So long as I keep moving and feel like I’m being productive, I’m happy. The outcome isn’t as important as the journey.

  12. i think you have a positive perspective. but please keep close to your heart the fact that you are smart y not everyone has compassion in her back pocket not everyone can carry more than one idea in her brain at at time y some people sit on the gas station stoop and wait for money and when you ask is it for beer he says no it’s for food and you ask about peanuts but there are not peanuts so you ask what you want and he wants a sub from the closed publix and that’s when you give the mother fucker cash

  13. I’ve always adapted. However, I think we rely too heavily on technology. All of it can easily be taken away, and where would that leave us? I wish we could find a happy medium.

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