Apparently, millennials have just discovered that they are going to die. This remarkable revelation comes after their pandemic exposure to mortality and fueled the new corporate notion – the YOLO economy.
It means “you only live once” and the economic phenomenon is blamed for everything from rapid job turnover to the cryptocurrency boom to reckless stock trading. in the The New York Times, Technology columnist Kevin Roose stated, “These exhausted Type A millennial workers in America … turn the carefully arranged chessboards of their lives and decide to risk it all.”
In words that will resonate with some Australian JobKeeper recipients, Roose notes that they are “being encouraged by bigger bank accounts, recovering labor markets, rising asset prices and rising vaccination rates.”
Australian chefs may find the next YOLO symptoms all too familiar. Roose says they “scoff at their bosses’ mandates to return to the office and threaten to quit unless they can work wherever and whenever they want.”
COVID-19 cannot be held responsible for this. They were already notorious with employers as the spoiled, self-centered generation with short attention spans, especially when it came to careers. One recently Microsoft survey found that nearly half of them planned to change jobs in the next year, and a Gallup poll found that their constant job changes cost the US economy $ 30.5 billion a year.
Some trade with their actual jobs to trade everything from Bitcoin to Reddit stocks to the new virtual Non Fungible Tokens (NFT) that are booming in the crypto art market. Or some want to be real artists. But online newsletters Artnet warns “The YOLO economy actually means trouble for the fragile art ecosystem,” while artists weigh up whether the sacrifices are worthwhile in sustaining an artistic career.
YOLO is hardly new. It’s just that the Me Me Me generation thinks they made it up and cites rapper Drakeake’s song The motto from a decade ago. Six years earlier, The Strokes launched Operation YOLO to promote their track You only live once. And the original YOLO was probably “carpe diem” – use the day – coined by the Roman poet Horace. According to scholars, it is “one of the oldest philosophical mottos in Western history”.
YOLO was official added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2016, but was first trademarked in 1993 when the first millennial was only 12 years old.