Why Millennial Need to Do, Not Try: A Lesson for My Peers

Its not what you know or who you know;
but how you create value out of the world around you

A quick lesson for my peers, while you are bowing out, playing video games and making excuses, those of us with determination to play the game are changing the rules in the job market. One more piece of paper or letter behind your name won’t get you anywhere; demonstrated experience, determination and connections (on and offline) are the name of the game.

Background: Our Families

The priorities of our grandparents following the great depression, and resonating through today have been, “It is your responsibility to do whatever must be done for the good of you family, your community, and your country without question.” This idea sprang from the shortages in life, the demanding times, the hard losses experienced and the need for a solid footing in an ever-changing world. Our grandparents laid new foundations for the war-ravaged world.

Our parents, having the liberty and luxury of a solid foundation, grew to question everything regularly accepted and provided for. Many of their priorities focused internally with, “How can I  be the best version of myself by seeking out adventure, practicing self-control, mindfully contemplating, and questioning reality?” They swore that they would not be so regimented as their parents. They swore that they would show their children the love and adoration they constantly sought and seldom knew.

Our School of Thought

As young children we discredited our grandparents as being old-school depression children in a high-tech world that was booming and would be forever. We bent our minds trying to convince them that it was okay to waste, that they needed technology, and that we were in a new peaceful and endlessly profitable world. Boy were we wrong.

Turn to the present, end of May, 2012… News media is saying, “The Great Recession is over,” though in real life we aren’t so sure. Everyone is holding their cards close to their chest as they have seen, experienced, or heard the stories of life-long homes lost and friends and family that cannot find work within the past few months and years. “You can tell me its over; buts its not over until I say it is.”

Where does that leave my generation (Millennial, Gen-Y, whatever you want to call us)?

We are inheriting a world that has been sold to us as a lie. “This is a new world. Growth is endless. Styrofoam, paper plates, and plastic silverware are the way to go. Growth is sustainable. Build fast. Triangle Schemes. Blah blah blah. Buy Real Estate. Find a way to make a quick buck.” Deep down our generation respects Gen-X (between us and our parents) as they are working hard to build from the ashes and unlearn the traditional approaches handed down in the workplace to them by our parents. In the end, however, we know that they mostly have 10-15 years of productive work left in them before they start looking to retire and move on as well.

The Lazy Hero Complex

Overall my generation has a lazy hero complex. We have been told our whole lives that we are special, that we deserve a trophy and should get credit just for trying. Today and in the midst of global financial crises my generation has largely made excuses, said, “I’ve tried to get a job, but in this economy…” My generation has been taught that to try is to succeed. Perhaps a quick lesson is needed from Yoda:

Do or do not, there is no try
– Yoda

So instead of fighting the good fight, my generation is making the excuse (though few will accept this point), bowing out for the time being, living with parents and waiting for their extra-ordinary situation to force them to be a hero in their own eyes. “If only I could get a lucky break like Mark Zuckerberg,” comes the thought. “Maybe if I just get another degree at this University, someone will recognize my talent and pay me a huge salary.”

The Lesson

A quick lesson for my peers, while you are bowing out and making excuses, those of us with determination to play the game are changing the rules. One more piece of paper or letter behind your name won’t get you anywhere; those of us fighting the fight know that demonstrated experience, determination and connections (on and offline) are the name of the game. So go ahead and boost your resume and email it off to another garbage bin, because what you don’t realize is, you don’t have a job because you aren’t trying hard enough. Survival of the fittest my friend. Make opportunities for yourself where they did not exist before out of your own determination and passion. In my humble opinion:

Its not what you know or who you know;
but how you create value out of the world around you

Thank you for reading my blog – Daniel S. Herr.
I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @DanHerr
Or follow to my blog 

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Comments

  1. Some great backup I just found for my post about Shama starting the Zen Marketing Group in Dallas and the trend of new, young entrepreneurs: http://www.nbcdfw.com/video/#!/news/business/New-Grads-Starting-New-Businesses/155154135

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