The muppie begins her day with a green juice and some Bikram Yoga. When she starts work at her big name banking/consultancy/law firm, she spends her first hour on blogs and creating airbnb wish lists. She then goes to lunch at a raw restaurant and instagrams her meal with all the right hashtags – some ironic, some not – to her 10k followers. She probably thinks her job is a waste and that her boss just doesn’t get it – and reaches out to her network to find a position at a cool start up.
Muppies are the yuppies of the millennials. They are super driven but (supposedly) a little self-absorbed. They studied abroad and speak four languages, they got the right internships, have a tumblr about tree photography and are obsessed with Paleo. Their bosses don’t understand them because they reject classic status symbols – they value freedom to work on their own ideas over a receiving a raise.
The Huffington Post speculated that without the financial crisis, muppies would have simply become the new yuppies. They would have gone for the kind of power that awaits at the top of the corporate ladder. Only from their lack of choice, they had to find other ideals. Is this true though? Even in the age of globalisation, talent is scarce and muppies are just as much high potentials as the yuppies were in the 1980’s, aren’t they?
Muppies pursue a sort of Sex and the City/Girls image of how their lives should look. They go for great schools and get prestigious first jobs but will move on to other ventures soon. Networks, invitations to a TED talk, funding for their lifestyle app and free stuff over instagram are becoming more important than a classic corporate career and the navy suit that comes with it. Muppies could aspire for those corporate benefits but they simply don’t want to. They prefer to make use of their full talent and their network as a digital nomad, creating new apps for vegan festivals. Productivity for a muppie is directly related to fulfilling their own dreams, not those of their employers.
This is pretty annoying for their baby boomer bosses. Instead of being a loyal employee, muppies would rather work on their personal brand or take an unpaid leave to travel South East Asia. The classic big firm incentives won’t allure the new generation which doesn’t want to work hard to get a Rolex, a BMW and a house. This doesn’t mean they won’t work hard at all though. Once they get to work on projects they are passionate about, muppies are pretty much unstoppable. And isn’t it true: changing the world is a far greater reward than an extra zero on the paycheck.
The current hope of baby boomers is that the muppies will simply lose their idealism and settle for a mediocre life in a big house in a suburb with some holidays on the nice side of Mallorca. But since when is compromise acceptable for high achievers? It will more likely be up to the big players to create the conditions to hold onto those who are disrupting the status quo.
So instead of rolling their eye at the muppie obsession with matcha tea and locally-sourced kale, companies must create roles of responsibility that are inclusive and sustainable to be attractive to the muppie generation – our generation – for whom everything is always uncertain. And in the age of insecurity, passion is the thing that counts the most.