A new batch of graduates will soon be pounding the pavement looking for work.
As they do, Gen Y remains painfully aware of the workforce reality they enter: the economy still sucks, the job search process has rarely been more difficult and student loan debt has again reached record levels.
However, many in Gen Y – having seen promises made and broken by preceding generations and our political leaders – now, finally, recognize that quick fixes do not exist.
And… now that college is behind them, they know they are going to have to work their butts off.
Clearly, Gen Y isn’t the only birth generation suffering through our “post-recession” economy. Their parents (perhaps convinced by their own parents) learned to be good employees and work for the same company for decades. Searching for some sort of security, many joined labor unions. Others strove for residency or tenure within their professions. Almost all were willing to start at the very bottom of their generation’s corporate ladder.
Decades later, and for many their nest eggs gone, these Boomers revert to what they know best: get another job. Today, many are working at McDonalds, Wal-Mart or Home Depot. Or they have become “consultants”. Gen X follows closely in their footsteps, and now will have to remain in the workforce much longer to afford retirement.
Many of the new Millennials, on the other hand, are creating options for themselves. Despite everything we often hear to the contrary… those that have finally adapted, are those that remain in control of their professional destiny.
Most certainly out of necessity, many Millennials – especially those who have learned from their slightly older (perhaps unemployed) colleagues – are developing a plan that doesn’t include working for someone else in some arbitrary form of the old “9 to 5”:
- Early in their college years, Gen Y is securing relevant internships and volunteering for service organizations (Experience and a degree? Move to the top of the hiring list!)
- They deliberately work and learn (the old “apprenticeship” model?) within sectors projected to be hiring at graduation (maybe this is where they really learn?)
- They build personal relationships with their employer-mentors, emphasizing a solid work ethic, energy, passion, and results (and built in recommendations)
- While earning a wage or studying, and instead of being couch potatoes in their “off” time, many are working on side projects that combine their passion and entrepreneurial spirit to create their own jobs (no waiting for, or counting on, someone else)
Add personal branding and strong networking – particularly through social media – and the Millennials just now entering college may never feel the effects of our poor economy.
This is not a Jack-and-the-Beanstock style magic bean, or a get-rich-quick scheme. These steps are not the easy way out – quite the opposite. Perhaps born from the “entitlement” issue that keeps rearing its bipolar head, this is an attitude specific to new millennials: “We deserve a good career. We’re going to find a way to make it happen. We’re accountable.”
Millennials, as a whole, may not understand the significance of this achievement. Many within their own ranks don’t yet know that this “Career Version 2.0” is already a repeatable, scalable success mechanism.
They will… and when they do, they’ll text and tweet it until their fingers bleed.
About the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO.com regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Switch and Shift, The Daily Muse and Under30CEO.
Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” and was recently featured on HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and several top blogger lists, including JobMob’s “Top Career Bloggers of 2012”. Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!