The young are different than you and me. They have more selves. According to a recent European study, in fact, Millennials have a “multifaceted sense of their own identity.”
“They change completely their attitude during the day, during the night, during the weekend,” says Alessandro Bigi, one of the coauthors of the study. “It is not like my generation, where I have my professor work and then I go home and have my professor life.” Millennials evidence what Larissa Faw calls “multi-careerism,” holding several jobs at once. She calls them “hustlers” working “angles” in search of their “best bet.”
This multiplicity comes from economic necessity. Having several selves make it easier to make a living. But multiplicity is also driven by creativity. Several selves make you more expressive, give you more opportunities to participate in contemporary culture. For pragmatic reasons or playful ones, Millennials have been adding on.
This comes as news to Boomers, who are inclined to take Millennials at their face. When they show up for work in a business suit, we assume we’re looking at the whole person. But many Millennials are faking it.