No matter how old you are, you’re probably familiar with the term “American dream.” But depending on your age, different definitions for the phrase might come to mind.
Among those in older generations, chances are it involves owning a home and raising a family. Younger adults, however, are increasingly aiming for their own unique priorities.
Whether due to changing sentiments about family or an economy that has put purchasing a home out of reach for many workers, Gen Z believes that the old-school American dream either isn’t feasible or isn’t attractive.
So what are young adults trying to accomplish with their lives? Well, Business Insider sat down with a group of folks from this generation (born between 1997 and 2012) to discuss.
Here’s what they found:
- A desire for freedom: Instead of being tied down by a home and a decades-long career with one employer, many Gen Zers crave flexibility. As 23-year-old Genesis Gutierrez explained: “For me, that success comes with having the freedom to work wherever I want, whenever I want, with whomever I want. I don’t see myself climbing the ladder.”
- The pursuit of happiness: While previous generations might have followed their parents’ leads, Gen Z is willing to rewrite the script to match their own goals. Jenna Gestentner, 20, said: “Today, our generation and society is more open to accepting other paths. Before, if you said you didn’t want to have kids, that wasn’t accepted.”
- A realistic approach: Social media might highlight those who live a lavish life, most Gen Zers seem to realize that it takes hard work to achieve success, and many are attracted to an entrepreneurial path. Sam Farber, 22, landed a job at JPMorgan but said he’ll be working on his own startup company “outside of the 40- to 60-hour workweek.”