I was born in ’94. So, when I say my generation, I’m including Millennials and early Gen Z kids. Basically someone who’s already an adult by 2018. 

If you quickly Google “the most depressed generation”. Results suggesting that our generation (Millennials and Gen Z) pop up along with some research papers trying to explain why. 

And, to add to the misery of the situation, articles such as “Millennials, Gen Z depressed and sad — boo freaking hoo” don’t provide much insight either. 

Your generation sucks ha..ha.. ha.. You folks try to look perfect on social media, you all are fucking perfectionists and you all are depressed ha.. ha.. ha. Maybe try some charity, losers.. does not particularly provide any guidance or explanation to why this is happening. 

But that article did help me find this research paper. P

perfectionism in millennials
Perfectionism Is Increasing Over Time: A Meta-Analysis of Birth Cohort Differences From 1989 to 2016

Although this research focuses on the USA, Canada, and England, I’m still going to use this paper to base my further arguments as the pursuit for multidimensional perfectionism isn’t limited to those countries.  

The paper defines “Perfectionism” as such

Perfectionism is broadly defined as a combination of excessively high personal standards and overly critical self-evaluations.

Multidimensional Perfectionism

According to the paper, Hewitt and Flett (1991) developed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale which includes  three dimensions to it: self-oriented, socially prescribed, and other-oriented perfectionism.

  • Self-oriented perfectionism: It involves striving to achieve perfection and trying to avoid failure at all costs. It is the most complex of three and is linked to growing depression and suicide rates. The debilitating effect of self-oriented perfectionism is that we tie our self worth to our achievements and fail to derive any lasting sense of satisfaction from our achievements. 
  • Socially prescribed perfectionism: This turned out to be most debilitating. The perceived expectations of others, makes us feel like crap. It can be often witnessed in college students. You cannot afford to fail at any costs. This one raises the depressive symptoms and the suicide ideation to a much greater degree. 
  • Other-oriented perfectionism: This involves our narcissistic tendency to seek admiration of others. We want people to say nice things about us. We want to look perfect in their eyes. This makes us become hostile and vindictive to others and makes us blame others.  

The paper points out that as our expectations have increased, so have the demands placed on us. Education was about gaining knowledge in the past but now it has also become about the employment. A college degree is now an equivalent to a high school degree. College admissions have gotten tougher, and so has an entry in the job market. We all have been put a market price on our heads and we have been fighting for that market price. 

I come from an IT background and recently had an opportunity to look for internships, the set of skills modern organizations look for in their interns is highly unfathomable. Articles such as Who Killed The Junior Developer? and Should We Worry the ‘Junior Developer’ Role Is Dead? show us the pressure that is put on us to not be mediocre. 

Foremost, there is evidence that recent generations of parents are responding to pressure by spending far more time with their children on academic activities. This trend sits alongside a reduction in the amount of time parents report spending with their children doing other activities such as leisure or hobbies.

The paper concludes that the 3 dimensions of perfectionism have increased in the last 27 years. They speculate it is due to increasing individualism, materialism, and social agnosticism.  

It also doesn’t help our case that we are now facing more competitive environment with very unrealistic expectations put on us and our parents are way more anxious and controlling than the generations before.  

We as a generation only find time to evaluate who we are by the time we are done with universities and I think the one way to deal with this quarter-life crisis is to sit back and ponder that if sacrificing own’s mental health for some superficial idea of success really worth it? Maybe it’s time we start finding areas of interest where we can comfortably make a living without giving into this rat race. 

Please follow and like us:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *