Monday, March 31, 2014

What's Gen Y up to? Catching up over Thanksgiving

We had a terrific Thanksgiving with family and friends on the west coast! What I really enjoyed was hearing about what Gen Y was up to: Our friends' kids, our own kids, our nephews. They are traveling a different road than we did, in fairness, maybe I should say, than I did. I was a user of the Career Placement and Planning Center on campus, signing up for interviews with all different kinds of companies that came our way, the common denominator was that they each had well known "management training programs." I resisted any help from my parents; so no networking, no contacting my parents' friends...I wanted to do it "on my own." In retrospect, foolish. Oh yes, I "did it" on my own, ok, with the help of the CPPC, but it was a circuitous route: interviewing with plastics and chemical firms, retail companies, computer companies...I remember that my Dad said, "you can sell anything. You want the best training to do that." Wait a minute, what? I wanted to manage. Being the oldest, I always knew I liked to be in charge.  :)
Anyway, these days the term is "leadership." And depending on the school, there's either a lot or a little buzz about "leadership programs." A lot of the companies listed have had "programs" for decades, and for some, like me, they were incredibly valuable...continuing education AND you get paid! I had thought Investment Banking was no longer PC, but I stand corrected, it's baaaacccck! And management consulting is alive and well. Also, the Peace Corps and Teach for America continue to have a positive buzz. But it's the "entrepreneurial spirit" that continues to amaze me! These kids are excited about the opportunities. They have vision and no fear. It's great. They also are networking like crazy. I heard continuously from these kids that everybody they know that HAS a job or has gotten an interview is because of someone they know or a friend of a friend. Hardly scientific, but relationships are key. Also, the kids that are venturing out on their own, have gotten really good at networking, brainstorming, and learning from others!
SecondServing is a start up my son is working on!
Marine Layer, a friends' nephew's start up, T shirts!
Other Gen Yers are madly applying to graduate schools, deadlines are looming! Some are now interviewing for that summer internship, intern / residency or just trying to figure out What Color is Their Parachute? The common thread: not one kid I spoke to felt depleted or concerned or was Debbie Downer...they were upbeat, positive, full of hope and opportunity. I sure hope that continues and maybe my generation could take a page out of their book!

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