Nov 17 2014
Recently I attended a number of events populated mostly with people substantially younger than myself. Among the many things I gleaned from these experiences is that there is hope for tomorrow. The energy, exuberance and enthusiasm of today’s young people is intoxicating and I always find being around them a great learning experience. They are filled with new ideas and creativity, perspectives and insights probably not fully shared with their predecessors. But above all else, they appear to be positive and encouraging.
From these numerous encounters, as is often the case from many of my excursions, I gather material for this blog and other content I create, as well as good stories to share with family and friends. But no matter who I spoke with at recent events, it was evident that today’s younger generation seems to genuinely care about the planet, the environment, engaging in good conservation and respecting the people around them.
Millenials and Gen Y’ers appear to be interested in education, both formal and informal, and dedicated to their learning. With all the distractions available from electronic devices, I found it refreshing to see so many students using their time wisely on trains and planes, actually studying, instead of playing video games or texting. No doubt there are some who do not take their learning as seriously as others, nor use their “down time” as wisely, but the majority I saw were showing great concentration, even ignoring the beautiful scenery that went by their windows from the trains we shared.
Frequenting a number of cafes and coffee shops, with and without WiFi, both close to, and distant from high school and college campuses, I readily detected they were predominantly occupied by students with open books and laptops doing actual work and making good use of their time. This was inspiring because we too often see young people congregating leisurely and unproductively.
I also noticed a great deal of motivation by these individuals to find meaningful and rewarding work. Not content to settle for just a job, the young people I met wanted jobs in the sciences and technology believing they could contribute their knowledge and drive to find the next wonder drug or a cure for Alzheimer’s, or create functioning artificial limbs. They want their work and efforts to have an impact on the greater good, not just their own pockets. Yes, they are motivated to earn good wages, but it seems that their contributions to society were more important than how fat they could make their wallets before they turned 30.
And this is even more impressive when you accept the reality that life and school are expensive! Just ask anyone who lives in any major city in the US or Canada! These young folks can’t all be living off their parents’ generosity or be tuition-free thanks to endowments, grants and scholarships! You must be willing to work hard and put in long hours to pay for a place to live in any urban environment in North America. And today’s young people DO want to live in the urban centers because they want to play as hard as they work, and they want access to the momentum and opportunities that life in the Big City provides.
I also met a few folks who were having second thoughts about their initial career choices. It can’t be easy coming to the conclusion that you don’t want a career practicing law after graduating law school with honors, doing your time as a junior partner and sacrificing all that accomplishment for something seemingly unrelated! Those are hard choices that many have faced in an effort to “find themselves” and do work that more closely relates to their core values and personal interests, as opposed to pursuing just a career. If they are lucky, these people will find a way to incorporate one discipline with another and find the satisfaction they seek.
Choosing a career and putting in the dedication required to succeed has never been a short-term affair. One must be willing to apply themselves in their learning and their job search for the long haul to be successful, no matter what endeavor is being pursued. That’s the difference between a job and a career – wanting to dedicate years of your life in the pursuit of a single set of related goals. And you can’t help but applaud anyone who puts in the hours and years it takes to make that happen.
In order for today’s young people to retain that hope for tomorrow, it is imperative for the older generations to set good examples for them to follow. Those who precede them must inspire, encourage and motivate them, demonstrating convincing actions of conviction, faith and positivity. When positive examples are present, finding hope for the future and the motivation to succeed will be more inspired.
For more ideas about your job search and other career development topics, please search this blog and visit: hanklondon.com or contact me.