If we all knew what we wanted to be when we grew up, then what’s the point of growing up? Where’s the beauty in the journey?
When I say “beauty” I’m not talking just about the literal kind of pretty, I mean the mindful presence of learning to own your life decisions, your failures, your successes and your over- and under-reactions, your disruptive passions and your nonchalant, middle-of-the-road actions…your life. Let me digress sentimental…
Growing up (aren’t we always growing up?), I wanted to be an architect. And a poet/novelist. And a rock star drummer. Quite a combo I know. What started as drawing Snoopy and other Peanuts characters then cars and hot rods led to drafting classes in high school and a love for designing homes and buildings. And what started as writing sweet little rhymes led to dark prose of teenage questioning angst then hopeful short stories of love and redemption into adulthood, with a few “novel” beginnings to boot. And lastly what started as air drumming and eventually practice pads has never gotten any farther than the love of drumming.
Instead I went into philanthropy, then marketing communications and business development with a college degree in psychology. Note to future grads: Not getting work experience, including internships, prior to graduating is a mistake. Don’t ride it all out a la academic — get real-world experience along the way as well as finding mentors to guide you. Remember, a college degree doesn’t equal an automatic paying career. Not anymore. In fact, in this job market, working multiple contingent jobs ain’t a bad gig if you can get it. It’s great “stretch” experience, too.
I read at the end of last year that millenials (i.e., Gen Y, those born somewhere between the mid-1970′s and the early 2000′s) will have at least 7-8 careers in their lifetimes. I’m a Gen Xer and I’ve already had 6 now. Many of my peers can relate to the path of “I wanted to be this but I fell into that, and that, and that.” As I wrote yesterday, there are five generations now in the workplace who are scrambling to stay afloat in this post-apocalyptic economy.
And while I agree that for the most part it still takes time and experience to build a better mouse trap and mouse trap management, there’s nothing wrong with a little impatient hurry-up-and-fail attitude to build one’s fortitude. Some of the most exciting business startup activity in over a decade is coming from a mixed generational group, young and old alike, all re-imaging the way and why of work within an emotional connectivity context and cultural inclusivity.
That’s why it was so poignant that I awoke with this passage from famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright:
“The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.”
Own your career management, fail and learn, and champion your mentors. Then become one. In the world of our work, we are the architects.
There’s lots of beauty in that as far as I’m concerned.
You can read the #TChat pre-cap titled Meet the Workplace: World of Work for New Grads, as well as review the questions from last night:
- Q1: Should 2011’s new grads follow their passions, or focus on finding a stable career?
- Q2: What rookie mistakes are new grads in danger of making in the workplace?
- Q3: What are some tactics a new grad needs to employ in a troubled employment market?
- Q4: Do you think a four-year degree (at least) is necessary for career security?
- Q5: What makes this generation of young workers different from those of 20 years ago?
- Q6: How do you think this decade’s crop of new grads will transform the workplace?
- Q7: What’s the best piece of career advice new grads need to hear right now?
A special thank you to Charles Purdy from @Monster_Careers for moderating last night!