Zillennials, in pursuit of the Xoomer life


Zillennials, in pursuit of the Xoomer life

Pooja Parekh

The apple really wanted to fall far from the tree, but did it?

As marketers of today, we have it etched into our minds that the Zillennials (Gen Z and Millennials) have been consciously choosing a life that is far different from that of their parents’ (Gen X and Boomers).

The older gen worked to make a living, and to eventually retire comfortably. But their offsprings?
Boy, they couldn’t be more different. They couldn’t run further away from that meaningless, dull life (as can be quoted by any zillennial around us). They wanted to make their work their life. A passionate, purposeful, guiding light that would lead them toward finding meaning in their lives. Well it does lead them alright, not so much to the meaning, but definitely to burnout, each and every looonggg working day. If you were to ask this same zillennial about what they want in life now, you’ll find most of them singing along to the tune of an early retirement.

Wait a second,
the zoomers chose to work and eventually retire,
And now,
the zillennials are working harder, sure, but want to retire even earlier?


Image Source: Know Your Meme

The younger generation is envious of the good ole days. All they want for themselves is to live the calm life that their parents lived. They dream about leaving work at work, about having their weekends to themselves, about taking long vacations away from work.

Yet, the hustle culture that the same Indian millennials have built now, can hardly be turned back. With a 1.3 billion population, if one person chooses to put their foot down and push back on the > 12 hour work days, companies won’t have to take a setback in their profits. Someone else will just fill that position in and keep the wheels turning.

With the way inflation and the costs of living are shooting up in India, taking pay cuts and compromising on one’s standard of living is also not a worthy trade-off for them.
They want a certain life, but the possibility of that life is not within reach.

What’s a Zillennial to do in this case?
Here are the culture codes that Zillennials’ wants and needs are trickling down into:
(Well, we are marketers, ofcourse this essay leads to codes we can address through marketing!)

1.    Fare-thee-well India

The years post 2016 have seen a seismic shift in the Zillennial culture. Their hustle and the resulting burnout has led them to the need of a cultural escape. India saw an approximate increase of 105% in immigration to countries such as Canada, New Zealand and Australia between 2016 and 2019. The main attraction for the ‘Brown Munde’ immigration wave is not just the pursuit of a better lifestyle – that was what compelled their parents. Sharmaji’s son already sees a decent lifestyle for himself in India, enabled by his hardwork and a little help from his parents. What he doesn’t see is a fulfilling personal life - the promise of which comes alive through his Canadian dream.

2.    In the hills I’m alive

In an attempt to break free from the rut of the city life and have a fulfilling life beyond work, Zillennials are figuring out ways to base themselves out of country sides and hill stations. We all know that one co-worker who has moved to Goa since the beginning of the pandemic, and is finding ways to sustain her career in her beachside house, even after the muchly dreaded ‘work from office’ begins. Psst - Her side hustle years are definitely gonna come in handy to set up her distanced consultancy career… Watch out!

3.    Conquer the mind

All of us are grappling with the constant feeling of inadequacy. What we earn isn’t good enough for the life we dream of, what we do isn’t good enough for the hustle culture we are part of, how we feel isn’t good enough to be at peace with ourselves! An antidote to these enervating emotions has been long overdue. Let’s be real, all of us have been considering therapy and the periodic meditational retreats, haven’t we?

4.    Make money work harder

Those of us who choose to continue the grind are ensuring that we maximize every penny earnt to make it grow fast enough for us to switch careers, or retire earlier. We have a much diverse portfolio than what our parents did. An average Jay’s investment portfolios no longer covers just term deposits, no. That will have him losing money to inflation. He’s diving deep into the investment market by allocating his money on all kinds of assets – stocks, bonds, real estate, and decentralized digital currency. You name it, he got it.

At the face of it, sure, Zillennials are doing things differently - choosing more contemporary physical realities, seeking mental wellness, investing differently.
All of this is different from what Xoomers were popularly known to do. But, when we dig deeper and think about the ‘why’ of their actions, we realize that they are, in fact, just doing things differently in an attempt to chase the same life they’ve seen their parents live all along!

The journey may be different, but the destination is pretty much the same…
So my fellow Zillennial friends, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree after all.

Pooja Parekh

Senior Brand Strategist


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