Gen Y Wants to Work It!

With the new website coming to life (huge thanks to Andy Merrick) and a few exciting meetings last week, I’ve been tied up and unable to blog as much as I usually do. All of these developments for my business are so exciting but have sapped some of my creative juices away. In attempt to get back into the swing of things, I’ve been sitting here contemplating what topic to kick off the week with.

Thanks to the newest poll feature, I noticed that of the few people that actually took the poll, everyone had the same answer. To the question, “What’s your biggest career fear?” Everyone’s response was: “working for someone else my whole life.” Very interesting.

I know that entrepreneurship has always been a dream of mine, but is it also a dream for the majority of my generation? According to a recent article written by Michael Malone in the Wall Street Journal, “An upcoming wave of new workers in our society will never work for an established company if they can help it. To them, having a traditional job is one of the biggest career failures they can imagine.”

Wow, a career “failure” is working for an established company? That might be a first. What about these shocking statistics: Today, 80% of the colleges and universities in the U.S. now offer courses on entrepreneurship; 60% of Gen Y business owners consider themselves to be serial entrepreneurs, according to Inc. Magazine. Tellingly, 18 to 24-year-olds are starting companies at a faster rate than 35 to 44-year-olds. And 70% of today’s high schoolers intend to start their own companies, according to a Gallup poll.

So as Gen Y continues to get the reputation of being self-centered, obnoxious, lazy and under-dressed, we are apparently also quite ambitious and independent as well.

Owning your own business is no walk in the park. It requires managing money, marketing, selling, paying attention to details, using your life savings for start up costs, making tough decisions, taking risks and wearing many hats at once. In my short time in starting a business, I’ve learned how completely consuming it is. It is definitely NOT something that I can stop thinking about once the clock strikes 5pm.

I do wonder though, what is it about how us twentysomethings were raised or the times that we live in that make us want to take on owning our own businesses so much? Perhaps we saw our parents get laid off from their big safe job after 30 years with no loyalty back from their company. Perhaps we saw large politicians and CEO’s break our trust after we initially looked up to them so much.

Or, maybe we really are just too damn selfish to want someone else to tell us when we can take off work or how we are supposed to run our division. Maybe we hate rules and authority. Or perhaps we are just so creative that we feel stifled when we have to work under someone else’s vision rather than our own. We’re not afraid of technology and we feel we deserve everything that we want in a career.

So, my little poll question quickly gave light to a huge topic I need to spend more time writing about because apparently I’m not the only twentysomething who wants to talk about starting a business. I’m sure many of us are nervous about the economy, nervous about keeping our jobs and also nervous about how to pay down our debt. The answer might be starting a business to hedge the risk and do something you love.

I get super irritated when people complain but don’t do anything about it. If you dream about working for yourself someday, why can’t you start now? You’re the only one who can get yourself to the next level, so start dreaming about what you want and then figure out how to get it. Anything is possible, right?

And if you have questions along the way, ask me and any other person who is passionate about entrepreneurship because we are all willing to help.

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3 responses to “Gen Y Wants to Work It!

  1. I am sure the percentage of aspiring entrepreneurs for every previous generation would have been the same if they had the same resources that Generation Y is taking for granted. The Internet technologies and in many cases cheap offshore labor significantly reduced the start-up cost for any type of business.

  2. Great post! My friends and I have found in our work experience that the most frustrating part of working for an established entity is an overall ambivalence to change. Gen Y’ers seem to want progress and forward movement, where it sometimes seems as if the generations before us are happy to stick to what’s worked. This is just in my and my friends’ experience; I’m sure it’s definitely not the case for everyone.

    Whatever the case is, you’re right, I think you’ve touched upon a topic that begs for additional attention in future posts. And you’re also right in that there’s no time like the present to get started on those dreams!

  3. Interesting that you write about this. I recently wrote a post on Four Fears of Entry Level Marketers, ie the Net Generation. (http://www.tesar-reynes.com/blog1/2009/03/05/four-fears-of-entry-level-marketers/)

    Also, speaking of being your own boss, an associate professor at Hofstra recently interviewed me. She’s writing a research paper on the disparity between men and women in PR.

    Her theory is, there are more men at the c-level in the industry because most women make the decision to become PR majors in college. Men, on the other hand, usually migrate to PR later in their careers with journalism and business backgrounds. She believes it’s the reason men usually advance faster – because they have a better understanding of the business of running a firm.

    Not saying I agree or not; just thought it was interesting. I happily work for a women-owned PR agency. Nice post.

    — Roland

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