Generation Y

On the Rules No One Else is Playing By

The American Dream speaks the language of ambition and its tongue whispers it is not for lack of luck, but lack of effort that you are a failure. Put in the work and you’ll become a success. Luck nor social constructs or randomness or the genetic lottery create the richest men of the world – and they are men – but an exchange of value. The rules are: work hard and be rewarded in return. Except we know that’s not true.

“The U.S. has the 4th-highest degree of wealth inequality in the world, trailing only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon,” reports former U.S.

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All the Things I Did Last Year

I like to wait until everyone else publishes their New Year’s resolutions, goals and non-resolutions and then publish mine. I want to know I’m not missing out on anything. And, I want to process everything.

So first, accomplishments from 2013. I got engaged, which was quite the celebration; kind of like being welcomed into a club I didn’t know existed: “You’re getting married! You’re one of us now!” I didn’t really get the mania, nor did I understand the constant questions of “When is the wedding?” It is the next logical question to ask, but very rarely have I imagined my wedding and more often I have imagined a non-wedding.

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It’s (Not) Okay to Fail

Generation Y does not need permission to fail. We got medals and ribbons for that very reason as kids. Gen Y normalized failure. Failure is not scary. It means you get to stay in the status quo, which most of us are very comfortable in. You get to keep being who you are, and that isn’t all bad.

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How to Decide Between Money and Meaning

2012 was the year of money. I made a lot of it.

Making money is easy, making meaning is hard. Making money is finding it where you can get it, and last year, I found it everywhere. I had six different sources of income (eight, if you’re the IRS), that made me more than six-figures. Mostly from my pajamas at home, sometimes with a sandwich at a coffee shop.

Making money is fantastic. People that tell you otherwise, I don’t get them. Money feels good, and earning money feels real good. There’s something particularly great when you earn it directly, without a middleman, something about proving your worth.

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10 Reasons to Job-Hop in Your Career

Gen Y came out of school exploring one job to the next, but when the recession hit, many said the days of job-hopping were over. However, there’s no reason to be scared into longevity at your current position. Over at Brazen Careerist, I explore the ten reasons to keep job-hopping. Read it here.

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Graduates: Kick-Start Your Career in 3 Easy Steps

The emails I get most often are from recent college grads who are depressed about their job prospects. I always give them the same advice, and I’ve included some of those steps in my latest post on U.S. News and World Report today. You can read it here and then let me know what strategies you’ve used to successfully kick-start your career.

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Stop Fussing About Student Loans, and Find Gen Y a Job

Student debt is being compared to the housing crisis. Catastrophe? Imminent. We’re thrusting our kids into vast amounts of financial turmoil, and for what? Disaster. And while that may be true (education does need a transformation), debt is not the main issue on a young person’s mind.

“You would think that student loans are young people’s only priority,” argues New York Times columnist Charles Blow. “They’re not. In fact, a cleverly designed survey released this week by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics asked respondents ages 18 to 29 to choose between pairings of issues to determine which ones they felt were more important.

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The Young, Motivated & Unsatisfied

I recently met a young woman who wanted to start a blog from a teacher’s perspective that revealed a teacher’s real and true thoughts. Like how bratty the kids are. How she cusses at them in her head and makes fun of how they dress.

She wasn’t alone; a whole group of her teacher friends were planning to anonymously co-author the venomous expose together. I felt sorry for her students. So very deeply sorry and guilty, but Ryan had left my side and I didn’t know anyone else at the party and I was stuck and uncomfortable and anxious for the future of kids I didn’t know and would never meet.

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Resource Guide: Best of Generation Y

Generation Y has always been one of my favorite topics to write about it. This guide provides a good introduction if you’re new to the topic, or some refreshing inspiration if you’re old hat. Each post contains a specific and articulated point of view, and links out to many more pieces of research, essays and ideas. As a generation, we are defining new movements and ideas.

Twenty-two of my favorites:

1. Generation Y is too quiet, too conservative
To light a fire, you have to have conflict, and to have conflict, you have to have an opinion.

2. Women will lead Generation Y – What will men do?

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3 Ways to Upgrade College

Yesterday’s post on how colleges are failing Generation Y explored the collapse of our education system. There were so many good comments from that post, I incorporated several into today’s post which explores some ideas on how to re-build:

1. Get rid of most tenured full-time professors.

This is already the reality. The New York Times reports that in 1960, 75 percent of college instructors were full-time tenured or on the tenure-track. Today, a mere 27 percent are.

Talented faculty employed purely on a per-course or yearly contract basis don’t receive any benefits, earn a third or less of their tenured colleagues, and are “treated as second-class citizens on most campuses,” the Times aruges.

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No “A for Effort:” How Colleges Fail Generation Y

Originally wait-listed for acceptance at UW-Madison, I remember very clearly the night I finally received my large envelope from the school, with the Badger-red “Yes!” emboldened on the back flap. I was in.

And while the University of Wisconsin may have had doubts about letting a neighboring born-and-bred Illinois resident into their borders, I quickly forgave their hesitation, becoming a dedicated student to the school and its culture. I garnered a 4.0 GPA or darn-near close to it every semester, religiously “studied” at the Terrace, partied at State Street bars, and worked as the school’s top student fundraiser at the UW Foundation.

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