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Discussion Starter #1
I was thinking about this at work while listening to my '00s throwback playlist. Young people of that time were motivated "horizontally" -- which is to say it was an era of exploration of self and life. The defining song of that era would be Boulevard of Broken Dreams, imo, which exemplifies this attitude spectacularly. There was a sense of adventure, of going out and finding that which fulfills you.

Nowadays, that motivation isn't at the foreground. Instead, young people are driven by success, by being the best, by climbing the ladder. People denigrate those who marry early or cut themselves off from being more successful. "Receipts" matter.

I'm honestly not 100% sure if this shift really happened or if my age is the real shift (adventurous kid to stuffy adult), so that's why I'm asking, but if very much feels that way. I would guess it happened around 2009 when people had to stop fucking around and start focusing on getting a job in a failing economy.

Opening this up to the floor: has youthful motivation transformed from horizontal exploration to vertical success?
 
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The cases of people attacking those who marry early or otherwise narrow their options probably has a lot to do with horizontal motivation, actually. When I was in college I had to defend my choice to avoid alcohol and drugs to other people who insisted that I needed to get hammered; that probably doesn't have much to do with attaining success.

On the other hand, there are lots of youths who idolize the concept of working for non-profits or otherwise "living well". People do have to look out for their own backs more than ever to wind up in a good place and it is very convenient that some of the fashionable paths through life happen to pay very well (e.g. tech), but I think you'd get criticized pretty badly if you just came out and openly embraced financial success as a goal.
 

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I can see the marriage thing as both, but I'm more pointing out that people are putting their careers over a family. And it's not just "I need a stable income to have a family" -- it's that starting a family isn't on the brain until later. (I think this is mostly a good thing in society, but it has made everything feel less romantic on a subjective note.)

I absolutely do not agree that someone would be criticized badly for saying they're doing something just for the money. In fact, I see people around me BRAGGING about that sort of thing. Even here on PerC, people idolize the take-no-shit big boss type. In fact, this is kind of what got my train of thought started. Vanity and image were once viewed poorly ("sellouts") but now it's openly embraced. I do notice that attitude more in Gen Z than Y (I think Y still has that "you're a sellout" instinct deep down). Commercialization isn't viewed with disdain anymore if that makes sense.
 

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Maybe it is a geographic difference? I live in the Bay Area where startup culture is strong, and I see its influence all around me. I see people my age and younger put a lot of emphasis on wanting to do something meaningful (not necessarily in their careers, but the ones who want to make a difference elsewhere tend to be less career-focused), and it all strikes me as very pie in the sky. I'm not in it for the Benjamins either, but it's obvious to me that I need to pay the bills.
 

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Maybe Gen Z is more serious and work oriented. I see it in the tv shows of gen z the attitude is a lot darker compared to stuff like Hannah Montana of millennials
 

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I can see the marriage thing as both, but I'm more pointing out that people are putting their careers over a family. And it's not just "I need a stable income to have a family" -- it's that starting a family isn't on the brain until later. (I think this is mostly a good thing in society, but it has made everything feel less romantic on a subjective note.)

I absolutely do not agree that someone would be criticized badly for saying they're doing something just for the money. In fact, I see people around me BRAGGING about that sort of thing. Even here on PerC, people idolize the take-no-shit big boss type. In fact, this is kind of what got my train of thought started. Vanity and image were once viewed poorly ("sellouts") but now it's openly embraced. I do notice that attitude more in Gen Z than Y (I think Y still has that "you're a sellout" instinct deep down). Commercialization isn't viewed with disdain anymore if that makes sense.
I made a career change at some point in life, so I'm currently in college with Zs, I've had the pleasure of observing them every single day for the past 4-5 years.
I am making a generalization now, but yes, I believe they are blindly striving toward image and social position, mostly through material possession, and material world has always been rather competitive, therefore they tend to focus more on careers. They explore life less, they are in a rush to achieve vertical position and then end up in a tube of emptiness, lack of fulfillment in life. They believe that they have only 2 options: up or down the tube, so they continue doing the same out of despair. They rarely think of breaking out of the tube and searching for answers horizontally. I am a bit worried about them, tbh.
 

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I guess I don't really promote ladder climbing to my children. I do promote an ability to self sustain, hopefully attaining a career which is at least of somewhat an actual interest. I am trying to plant seeds where they excel and I see market trends headed. I also am trying to promote a very practical raw ability to survive as well as education. Youth right now are in a scary time. Clearly as of now technology is the future, but if that balloon pops when my kids are still alive I am trying to prepare them for survival outside the cushion they live in now.

Imo the generation of right now should be groomed to handle navigating a technological society as it is now, but be prepared to become mercenaries and capitalize on any potential survival means necessary should the world as they know it end.

Corporate ladder climbing is not actually how I see most of today's youth being raised to be honest. A lot of today's youth is raised by soft politically correct hipsters who want everyone to be happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I made a career change at some point in life, so I'm currently in college with Zs, I've had the pleasure of observing them every single day for the past 4-5 years.
I am making a generalization now, but yes, I believe they are blindly striving toward image and social position, mostly through material possession, and material world has always been rather competitive, therefore they tend to focus more on careers. They explore life less, they are in a rush to achieve vertical position and then end up in a tube of emptiness, lack of fulfillment in life. They believe that they have only 2 options: up or down the tube, so they continue doing the same out of despair. They rarely think of breaking out of the tube and searching for answers horizontally. I am a bit worried about them, tbh.
Yeah, this is very much what I'm talking about. It's like young folk are less interested in the idea of fulfillment and more interested in the idea of success. I can't tell if it's a survivalist mindset brought on by the economic collapse or if it's an ambitious mindset brought on by the advent of technology. I don't much like it haha. I would find someone deeply invested in success very unattractive but that's probably just me.

I guess I don't really promote ladder climbing to my children. I do promote an ability to self sustain, hopefully attaining a career which is at least of somewhat an actual interest. I am trying to plant seeds where they excel and I see market trends headed. I also am trying to promote a very practical raw ability to survive as well as education. Youth right now are in a scary time. Clearly as of now technology is the future, but if that balloon pops when my kids are still alive I am trying to prepare them for survival outside the cushion they live in now.

Imo the generation of right now should be groomed to handle navigating a technological society as it is now, but be prepared to become mercenaries and capitalize on any potential survival means necessary should the world as they know it end.

Corporate ladder climbing is not actually how I see most of today's youth being raised to be honest. A lot of today's youth is raised by soft politically correct hipsters who want everyone to be happy.
I agree that political correctness is at an all-time high but I don't think that has anything to do with horizontal vs vertical. Although I'm using the terminology, I'm also not necessarily just referring to, well, Frank Underwood types (though I find it interesting that more people to my perception value people like him than, say, someone like Chester Bennington). Even the SJWs are very image focused, openly thirsting for likes on their pictures. It's this underlying, almost instinctive attitude that they have to compete with one another in every realm. Maybe this is what you're objecting to -- maybe you see these people as the sort of people who want everyone to get a trophy, and I wouldn't disagree, but I think they want that because of competition anxiety. The fact that they feel the competition and participate in it -- the fact that these metaphorical trophies exist to them -- places them in the vertical category.

Btw, I agree with teaching your children to get a job you love but that can also sustain you. The message amounts to, "A job is a portion of your life devoted to making money." Meaning 1) it's a portion of your life so you should make it enjoyable, 2) it's JUST a portion of your life, not your whole life, and 3) the purpose is to make money.
 

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I think this actually might be more of a cultural fenomenon. I'm Belgian and I generally see young people enjoying life more than older people. Some want success and ambition but most are more resigned to having an okay job with a very evolved personal life. Younger people around me seem to have more of a nine to five mentality as opposed to my parents' generation who value hard work. Maybe we're just lazy? We want luxury and comfort but on the other hand we don't want to sacrifice our own free time for our superficial happiness. If anything I think the older generations have less regard for their sense of self as they seem to pressure us to be 'succesful' and 'hard-working'. On the other hand my generation is more superficial I think, yet lazy... This all seems full of contradictions, I don't think there is a clear anwser
 

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Socioeconomic factors will be important but vanity is a common one. What I've noticed in my country (Europe) it's either that young people are lazy because they were taught(by parents) that everything comes easy to them or they've focused on the rat race. But all they want is to posses material good. That's their common goal.

There are quite a lot of people in an era of startups, doing what they find "meaningful" but I see it as fake. Just like hipsters. The goal is the same, just their way is different. They wouldn't be happy without their stuff.

What I find striking is how our society becomes unaware of self. Their lives is all about consuming.
 
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