For those who haven’t yet read my previous post Entrepreneurship: a universal mindset, the inspiration behind this blog series is a New York Magazine article What we give up when we become entrepreneurs.
In this edition I’d like to discuss this quote from the article: “…today’s 20-somethings think of entrepreneurship as a mind-set, rather than as the explicit act of starting a company.”
For the record, I’m a 20-something, though older than younger, and my entrepreneurship endeavours have me collaborating with ranges of 20-somethings, so I see many forms of truth in the above quote.
Nowadays, majority of high school students are graduating at the very young and vulnerable age of 17 or 18 (depending which month you were born – I was 17 having been born in September). There are many studies that have analyzed the impact and result of leaving high school at a younger age (compared to when schools had grade 13 and OAC), and having to jump right into college or university, because that’s what we’re supposed to do…right?
Putting aside these professional studies and theories, I have experienced first-hand the post-high school effects as a Gen Y, and still see the effects through the eyes of my Gen Y colleagues.
The “ideal” 20-something scenario is this: graduate high school at age 17 or 18. Enroll in college or university thinking you have chosen the perfect course/career path. Spend 2 to 4 years (or more) becoming an expert, then successfully graduate with high-hopes of finding an awesome job and making lots of money.
The “realistic” 20-something scenario: graduate high school at age 17 or 18 without ever paying rent, or a cell phone, hydro or gas bill. Enrolling in college or university thinking you have chosen the perfect course/career path, having only bagged groceries or served coffee, or not having the opportunity to intern or co-op at your “dream job” to get a taste of what it’s really like. Spending 2 to 4 years (or more) becoming an expert and either using thousands of dollars your parents have graciously saved for you or having to borrow from the government. Then successfully graduating with either thousands of dollars of debt (or no debt), and hopeful of getting hired for an awesome job and making lots of money, but competing for only a handful of available jobs against hundreds of graduates just like you and realising you need to make money and fast.
Related article: The expectation gap: Students’ and universities’ roles in preparing for life after grad (Globe and Mail)
And so the mindset of an entrepreneur naturally blossoms into reality. But, there are underlying mindsets of 20-somethings I witness on a regular basis which have not settled well with me.
I have met Gen Y who are pursuing entrepreneurship and I’m confident they will succeed. There are some pursuing a professional career and I’m also confident they will succeed at whichever path they choose. Then there are Gen Y whom I’m unable to believe in their success. Here’s why.
- Lack of respect for other people’s time
- “Me” thinking instead of “how do my actions affect others?”
- Individual mindset versus thinking like a team
- Following the pack instead of leading their own goals
- Thinking skills are more powerful than personality
- Being comfortable is better than trying something new
Going back to the above quote about entrepreneurship being a mindset, so is your professional brand. The list above will hinder your career and success no matter which path you choose. How about changing the above mindset for the sake of your future:
- Time is money; don’t waste it, especially when it’s not yours to waste. Those will only invest their time in you if they know their time is being valued.
- “Your actions, and your action alone, determines your worth.” – Evelyn Waugh
- Success does not come from working or acting alone.
- Be a leader; only follow YOUR dreams.
- “85% of your success is due to personality and ability to communicate, negotiate and lead.” –Carnegie Institute of Technology
- “Those who are willing to take risks and step out of their comfort zone will reap the biggest rewards.” – Stop Playing Safe
Are you a 20-something pursuing entrepreneurship or a professional career? What has your experience been like? What advice would you give to your Gen Y cohort?
“We get to be 30 years old and yea, we have a kick-ass career, but what about what’s REALLY important?”
Written by GenY_Girl (Kayla Cruz), this blog post reminds us to not forget about our lifestyles when building our careers.
Jobs are important, but what’s also important is other aspects of our lives which are essential in helping us grow, being happy and at peace, and living a valuable life:
The main concern is with Millennial’s. For those in college or about to graduate, being taught to primarily focus on a career is great, but be very careful to not expend all energy on building a career and forgetting about the other awesome parts of life.
Be successful, but in a balanced way.
Read Pursue a Lifestyle, Not a Job here