Generation Y, sometimes referred to as Millennials, are perhaps the most researched and written about generation in history. Now the young generation is starting to enter adulthood, with all the anxieties of dating, entering the workforce and parenthood. Christine Hassler follows up her successful Gen Y self-help book, 20 Something, 20 Everything, with 20 Something Manifesto, an entertaining, introspective how-to manual for twenty-somethings looking for self-reflection and direction.
I must admit, as a woman in her 20s, that I came to this book with skepticism. The twenty-something crowd has been characterized as lazy with unrealistic expectations for their careers and love lives. Most self-help books targeting Gen Y focus on common yet superficial problems like how to make a standout resume. Hassler, however, takes the generational critique to the next level, not only explaining why people in their 20s feel the way they do but how to overcome the anxieties of their age.
Hassler focuses on two key concepts that sum up the modern twenty-something experience: the expectation hangover and the self-awareness continuum. The expectation hangover is based on Gen Y’s high expectations of “having it all” before they reach 30 and failing to meet their goals. The self-awareness continuum is a thorough analysis of the transition from late adolescence to adulthood in forming their own values and developing a strong sense of self. The author doesn’t linger too long on theory but instead gives practical advice through journal exercises and practical advice.
In a generation where social networking was born, Hassler fills 20 Something Manifesto with testimonials of struggling young people trying to work out their self-identity. These stories fill out most of the book’s content and add much-needed emotional appeal. Their tales range from feeling lost post-graduation to gaining self-confidence at work. At times Hassler comes off as condescending; at one point she uses the old catchphrase “get over it.” However, the varied and interesting stories help the reader relate and reflect on their experiences.
So, who should read this book? Upcoming college grads, recent college grads, adults living with their parents, young people going through their first real job, and anyone else you know who’s in their twenties. Hopefully it’ll lead them through the murky times of young adulthood.