{Confession of a PRetty Social Girl} Is the Recession Good for Gen-Y?

Image by Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved 2009.

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times in these cities to which we, Gen-Y, are living.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the Baby Boomers were described as flower children. They were radical, they wanted world peace, heck, they wanted to change the world. They were obsessed with the environment and hugged trees. This was a generation that felt they were entitled. Most of all, what was up with the fashions: bare bellies, shaggy hair and Twiggy eyes.

Whoa.

But wait a minute, does any of that sound familiar to you? Are the Boomers describing themselves when they describe us? I mean I don’t think my parents are so bad… I don’t know what they were like before I was born, but I think they turned out okay. So why can’t I?

On that note, while the recession is a hindering factor in the job hunt for so many Millennials (80 Million Strong anyone?), maybe it isn’t such a bad thing?

Someone told me that I sounded more than frustrated recently and that maybe my hurt for the current state of affairs ran deeper that just frustration. I cannot say that they were right, but I cannot say they were wrong either. I feel like we have choices, and we make them the best that we can given our circumstances.

Karma has a funny way of going full circle and life has an even funnier way of working out. Go on a outlandish philosophical thought with me for a minute here…

The recession is trying us: our pockets, our freedom, our livelihood, our day-to-day activities; you name it.

Efficiency

We cannot be left behind or we will stay behind. Therefore we have to be efficient. A lot of 20-somethings in the work place are efficient. When it comes to technology we’ve pretty much got it “down.” I know I’m ready and I’m more than willing to automate and tech-create everything in front of me…including grocery shopping (not a fan of those carts, sorry future-husband.)

But here’s the thing, it isn’t laziness – it’s a new level of efficiency. If it’s one less thing to do, imagine how much more you could get done. That is how we think; this is how I think.

If you left it up to me, I’d colour-code everything, organize and make my day efficient, playful and oh so worthwhile.

There is a balance, I believe it’s there … no, I know it’s there.

The Learning Curve

Spend enough time with us, get to know us or just pay attention to us and you’ll soon realize, that like each generation, we’re no different — we want information and we want to learn. But there are some stereotypes that still hold true. I once wrote a piece called “Welcome to the Age of Geek” and I meant it. But little did I know when I wrote it, how much I really reinforced what the ‘experts’ are saying about my generation; myself.

We want information instantly, we crave it and treat Twitter like a pseudo-RSS feed. We spend at least two-thirds of our time connected to something – anything: a Blackberry, an iPhone, our laptops.

We crave information. We want it. We’re willing to help you get.

Work. Play. Work. Play. Play. Work. Play. Work.

We were forced to multi-task as children and trained from a young age to battle multiple projects and extracurricular activities. This is something our parents didn’t have the luxury (or curse, depending on your POV) of participating in when they were our age. We did all these things, while, maintaining an ‘A’ average in school. I think our parents did more than just turn a lot of us into a generation filled with a good chunk of overachievers.

I think that they created kids, that are now adults, who can really get that work-life balance down. Technology, especially, is a driving factor behind this. But it’s something we are comfortable with.

It breaks down to efficiency, but not the old Ford model. No, I’m talking about a new hybrid, optimistic efficiency, where people are people and work is work, but they can meet happily in the middle.

I’m ready, are you?

Plan C.

Being that we are a generation of information seekers, a lot of us, including myself, as not settling for Plan A and Plan B anymore. We’ve move on to Plan C.

I network on Twitter, I follow-up on LinkedIn, I blog, I Facebook – I’m getting creative and trying everything in my power to land “the job.”

Maybe someone will see me? Maybe they won’t? But at the end of the day, I’m trying. I’ve gained this new, hybrid glass of perspective.

I once said, “creativity squashes risk” and you know what? I still believe that. I still believe that even in the worst of times, these best of times we live in – we can do it, I can do it.

~*~

Not everyone is the same, and I get that, we should hire based on talent, rather than age — but generally speaking…

is the recession actually beneficial to Gen-Y?

We had to be efficient and come up with a “Plan C,” considering “B” hasn’t worked. This “Plan C” is forcing us to learn and push ourselves harder. By being our toughest critics we’re trying to make our way in the world.

I don’t want to be the exception to the rule, I want to be part of the rule. Maybe it’s rose coloured lenses that I’m gazing out from underneath and that’s so Millennial of me. But I want to be a Muskateer, “all for one and one for all.”

We’re asking questions, so we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. Most of all, we’re trying to be 20-something while taking on responsibilities that are supposed to come at a later age. We’re starting businesses at 19 and marketing ourselves on a whole new level…

That being said, this is September 2009 and I’m featured in Business Week for all of the above.

The hope is one day, sooner rather than later, someone will answer the question, “Hi, my name is Gen-Y, will you hire me?” with a “yes.”

–

Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida (’07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami(’08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima.

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. You make some good points here. I think at the end of the day, the older generation will ALWAYS criticize the younger. I'm sure our grandparents generation criticized our “hippy” and “disco dancing” parents, and they in turn criticize us. They turned out okay, and so will we.

  2. Exactly — every generation does it. I don't think we're special or different, just a product of what is around us and the times we live in.

    Thanks Sheema for your comment 🙂

  3. Another great post, Sasha! I agree with Sheema…everyone just criticizes us because we're the youngest in the business world right now. Yes, it's annoying…but it just means we all have to work even harder to prove everyone wrong…and I think we're doing a pretty good job 🙂

    Hope the job hunt is going well! I'm proud of you for not settling 😉

  4. Good perspective here, Sasha. It's definitely a different world out there for us Gen-Yers. This recession may define our generation and, from what I can see, we're doing a pretty good job of finding alternatives and new ways to succeed. I think you and Sheema are right, the older generations always criticize the younger. Even I, a Gen-Y guy, find myself criticizing the high school students I teach, but can normally catch myself and remember that, hey, in high school, I was at a very similar stage.

  5. I completely agree with Sheema. I'm sure there is a trickle-down effect of each generation criticizing the next. In a way, it may make us better because we're always working hard at trying to disprove others' misconceptions. It's also evident from your “Plan C” that Gen-Y is busy trying to find better and more efficient ways of getting things done, so maybe you're right. Maybe the recession is bettering our generation. Despite this, and as a fellow Gen-Y job-seeker, I know how frustrating the added obstacles can be, even if they're good for us in the long run.

    Way to point out the positive in what mainly seems like a negative situation, Sasha.

    @abschoff

  6. I've been following your blog for some time now, but this has got to be my favorite post. I think you are the ideal spokesperson for Gen-Y; I couldn't have put it better myself.

    I'm exactly the same way when it comes to efficiency and having the desire to color code and organize my day. 🙂

    As for benefiting from the recession, I agree it is making us, or more forcing us, to be creative in our job searches and redefine our career objectives. Since I'm graduating in May, I still think the recession “sucks,” but it's good to be reminded of what we are gaining from it if we play our cards right.

    @MShahab

  7. I think many generations go through these sorts of times. I'm a Gen-Xer and there was a recession on when I graduated in 1991… so I got a job in a grocery store bakery with my advertising degree until things got better. You just need to ride them out. In the meantime, keeping your skills sharp with this blog is awesome! It's an ongoing advertisement that says you are the best in your field!

  8. I think many generations go through these sorts of times. I'm a Gen-Xer and there was a recession on when I graduated in 1991… so I got a job in a grocery store bakery with my advertising degree until things got better. You just need to ride them out. In the meantime, keeping your skills sharp with this blog is awesome! It's an ongoing advertisement that says you are the best in your field!

  9. I think many generations go through these sorts of times. I'm a Gen-Xer and there was a recession on when I graduated in 1991… so I got a job in a grocery store bakery with my advertising degree until things got better. You just need to ride them out. In the meantime, keeping your skills sharp with this blog is awesome! It's an ongoing advertisement that says you are the best in your field!