Recommended, 2023

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"We are serious": The new way of generation Y.

Report: Search for meaning

They grew up as "digital natives". They know that the limitless freedom of the Internet is not everything.

Generation Y
Photo: Thinkstock
  1. Four o'clock in the morning
  2. Generation Y wants more than fun
  3. She wanted more than just job and free time
  4. Politics without a party
  5. Marie broke off her steep career
  6. The solution: independence
  7. Work without a boss
  8. Responsibility and resistance instead of the thirst for adventure
  9. Home and the love
  10. She wanted to pass on her knowledge to children
  11. Knowledge for all
They want more than fun. Four women tell why charity, homeland, nature or self-determination are important to them.

Four o'clock in the morning

The basses are roaring, the dance floor is shaking. We will not go home for a long time. The clique meets outside. Who wants to move on? In the end everyone stays here, dancing to "Just Dance". It's a party night like almost every Saturday. On Sundays at two people meet for hangover breakfast.

What the "Sinnsucher" generation recommends and what they care about is shown here:

That's how it was every weekend. Going out was considered our religion. Today we put on the mountain shoes at five in the morning. And find the supercool. Hiking is no longer stale. It's about nature, not the only value we discover right now.

Generation Y wants more than fun

Anyone today between 20 and 30 years old wants more than fun. He wants more closeness in relationships. He wants more sense and self-determination in the job. He longs for home, intact environment. He does not want to stick to the glittering surface of life in search of sincerity, security and attachment.

"Generation Y" refers to those who were teenagers or younger around the Millennium years. What unites this generation? They are "digital natives" because they grew up with the Internet and mobile phones. That's what has taught young people: "Anything goes, " explains Philipp Riederle. The 19-year-old is considered a "Digital Native" expert and advises large companies. The Internet offers unlimited opportunities: "No suit carrier has to decide if I can publish a record or if I am in a great project."

But the variety of choices also leads to a change in values. Martina Gille of the German Youth Institute stated: "A generation that has never been part of a major protest action is just growing up. And she covets with supposedly stuffy values, "says Gille. Those who grew up with the boundless freedom of globalization want security, meaning and security. Four women tell what is important to them.

"The sense of life? Lived charity "

Claudia Reimers, 33, pharmacist from Berlin

Soon it will start, in a few weeks Claudia will be in the health camp. In the middle of the countryside in Nepal, 300 kilometers west of the capital Kathmandu, in a difficult to reach low mountain region. The Baglung district is one of the poorest parts of the world, the sanitary conditions and the supply of medicines are catastrophic.

Claudia will work with Nepali doctors and pharmacists to provide the locals with vaccinations and medicines at the health camp. She will also visit scattered health centers and train staff.

She wanted more than just job and free time

They expect: exhausting marches, simple camps, simple food, cold, poverty, illness. That's her way: "I'm really looking forward to the mission, my first abroad for pharmacists without borders, " says Claudia. About six years ago, she sensed that more had to happen in her life than just job and leisure time: "I missed real commitment, lived charity, " she says.

Many of her closest friends are doing something about animal welfare, ecological tourism or better climate policy. After a long trip to Asia three years ago, the 33-year-old knew where she wanted to go. She became a member of Apotheker ohne Grenzen. In Germany, she organized collecting actions for the various projects of her association, but she longed for more: "I want to learn while passing on my knowledge and skills, " she says.

Dream assignment: Claudia goes to Nepal for pharmacists without borders.

Both will be the case in Nepal. She will deal with a foreign culture and help others to help themselves: "For me, the purpose of my life lies in life itself, " says Claudia, "so I'm always on the lookout for insight and personal development."

Politics without a party

Young people do not feel like engagement? Not true, my experts. They are only looking for new ways instead of conventional party politics. They follow a different motivation: "We have found out that the younger generation is no less political. But she is not so interested in parties and their hierarchies. Young people want immediate, spontaneous and short-term support for actions such as the Occupy movement, "says researcher Martina Gille.

So: engagement yes! But only if you can move something yourself, the goal is clear and clear. Often the use is short-term and related to a specific project.

"I want to be self-determined and work for heart projects"

Marie Rienecker, 28, PR consultant from Hamburg

One-hour yoga at six o'clock in the morning. When the city is still asleep, Marie is watching the sun. Then she makes herself a lemon juice, having breakfast in silence. At eight o'clock, the 28-year-old sits at her desk in her own study. And that is just as set up and organized as she loves it.

"Now everything is going so well that I feel good, " says Marie. Only three years ago, she was employed by one of the most renowned PR agencies in Germany, working in a large office, fixed working hours, meetings and travel. Although she led an exciting life between chic office and exclusive clients from the luxury industry, she advised on press matters. But the work took her whole life.

Marie broke off her steep career

After five years, Marie was at a point where she wondered if she wanted to go on - and can. "The working hours were completely against my biorhythm. The agency was in the morning at ten o'clock start of work and at the earliest at seven. But if you're the most productive person in the morning and I like getting up at six in the morning, that's because of the substance, "says Marie. And all this just for money and glamor? She broke off the steep career and joined the public relations team of the Sternenbrücke Foundation.

The Hamburg Hospice cares for children and adolescents who are terminally ill - until their deaths. The association relies on donations. And so the 28-year-old took care of a professional external representation of the hospice from now on. Although she felt less alienated from work, she still was not at her destination: "I felt that I wanted to work independently and, as a freelancer, could do even more good with my craft."

The solution: independence

After a year, she quit again, went out on her own. Today, she also works as a lecturer, organizes yoga retreats, writes a book and at the same time supervises several projects "that are close to my heart - occasionally the Sternenbrücke, " says Marie.

Diversity: Marie as a lecturer in fashion journalism, just one of many tasks.

What makes her happy above all else: "That I'm no longer controlled by others, " she reveals. In addition, she has sought many different tasks: "I am still dealing with beautiful things like fashion. But in addition, with my knowledge and my contacts, I can look after projects that are important to me. "In addition, there is another point that is also not insignificant:" In the meantime, I can pay my rent, "says Marie.

Work without a boss

Rigid rankings, fixed working hours, an ugly office where one does not feel well: "Young people want to work differently today, " says Philipp Riederle. Generation Y demands more permeability, more teamwork, more transparency.

That's what she learned from the Internet: If someone has a brilliant idea, he is looking for fellow combatants worldwide. If he needs money for that, he can be financed by crowdfunding. "The companies have to adapt to changing demands in the future, " predicts the young expert self-confidently. "We do not let ourselves be locked up ten hours a day and pressed into a meaningless hierarchy. We do not work for those who do not make our eyes sparkle, "says Riederle.

"I realized: home is where friends and family are"

Angelika Zahn, 30, journalist in Donauwörth

The hand shakes as she grabs the pen. "You have to sign here, " says the notary. For a moment she hesitates. Then she reaches for the pen and puts her name under the contract of sale. When she gets back on the street everything feels like a dream. I! Have! One! House!

Actually, Angelika always wanted to live in a big city. But now the 30-year-old has canceled this plan. It is fixed: She stays here - in her homeland, only 25 kilometers from her birthplace. She had been thinking about her friend for a long time. Both are self-employed, theoretically could live anywhere.

Responsibility and resistance instead of the thirst for adventure

On many journeys they have satisfied their thirst for adventure, met people from all over. Angelika is often on the road as a freelance journalist, today at the Bambi Awards in Berlin, tomorrow for an interview in London. "I could lead a real nomadic life, because I do not need a permanent office, only mobile phone, laptop and Internet connection, " she says. Then the decision came spontaneously.

Nest building: The new home is still being renovated

And that's when, half a year ago, they came upon an empty detached house with business premises from the fifties. "Suddenly it was clear to us: we stay in our home Donauwörth near Augsburg. Here's everything we love, "says the 30-year-old. And so they bought the house. Currently they are still renovating it, with friends and family over the weekend. In the summer, the collection should be celebrated. "We suddenly felt the deep desire to have a real home. With everything that goes with it: responsibility, consistency, sense of belonging. "

Packed: Angelika on a typical weekend.

The parents live nearby, many very good friends still from the kindergarten too. You help yourself and you are there for each other. And the big wide world, the adventure? That does not have to be lost, says Angelika. "If I miss the city too much, I'm going to Munich. So far away from the shot we live here now again. "

Home and the love

The longing for security is connected with the nomadic life of this generation. "We do not covet a sexual revolution but covetous values, " says Philipp Riederle. "We grew up in a permissive world where it was normal for us to go everywhere.

Year abroad in America, internship in Asia, friends on all continents. Since it is understandable that we long for fixed constants in life and like to look the "mountain doctor". It makes us feel that the world is still a bit manageable, "he explains. Having a home that was hardly as important a generation ago as the young people of today. Homeland, in times of globalization is not self-evident, but something special.

"I'll put the next generation on the right track"

Marie Herrmann, 31, environmental educator from Munich

That does not matter to her: rain on her face, her jacket soaking wet - she has been cycling through the city for three quarters of an hour. In the best of spirits, Marie arrives at a Munich school at eight in the morning. There she will give a workshop for the environmental organization Green City eV "What I do as an environmental educator is a real affair of the heart. I do not just want to make money, "says the 31-year-old, who rides all routes in everyday life when the weather is wind and weather.

Favorite subject: Students are thrilled with Marie's lessons.

She explains to her students what seasonal fruit is, how to make their bike winter-proof and why it is so important to protect the environment. "As a child, I lived near a nuclear power plant. From an early age, I sensed that there was a danger from such a nuclear plant. Even then I saved electricity, "says Marie.

She wanted to pass on her knowledge to children

While hiking, the teacher relaxes.

After graduation, she studied forest science and learned there, among other things, how to make forests stable for the future. She could also have taken a well-paid job in the industry, but above all she wanted a job that fulfilled her personally. Since 2009, Marie has been working in the field of environmental education. "I'm not doing any job, " she says. They pass on their knowledge and conviction to children, because they are crucial for our future. "I want to show you that it depends on each individual."

The best is when the kids rave about the lesson. Many say they would like to be there again. The fact that the students are really interested is the most rewarding thing for the environmental educator. Then she knows she has reached her life goal: "Accompanying the next generation on the right path, that fills me completely, " says Marie.

Knowledge for all

Money, status and power, that used to be the most important thing. Today, more and more people are asking what sense it all makes. A worldwide study by the consultancy firm PWC ( came to the conclusion that the "Millennials" training and development opportunities are more important than money.

And that those companies that think sustainably and socially responsible are clearly in favor of young workers. "Surveys show that meaning and self-realization are at the top of the agenda, " confirms Philipp Riederle.

You want a life according to your own ideas, but do not have the courage to do so? These six women did it >>

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