I had to write one also…Obama & Gen Y

January 21, 2009

I couldn’t just ignore the round the clock coverage of the inauguration/coronation of President Obama. Don’t get me wrong when I say coronation, I voted for him, first time I voted even though I could have voted when I was 18 in the last election (somehow getting ready to go to college superseded any interest in that election).

This whole election cycle was a changing of the guard both from an idealistic standpoint but also a generational change. I hate to break it to you but America is quickly becoming Gen Y’s America. Don’t believe me? Exhibit A: remember how you were taught to interact with the newspaper everyday. You would study articles in school, you came down in the morning and Mom and Dad were reading the newspaper, your first job was probably a paper route even. These things became habits you still probably use today. Where is the newspaper industry today? My generation has moved past the newspaper. We consumer more information than you could have imagined our age, and we do it mostly virally. From job searching, to reading articles (even the ones in schools are shared electronically), to watching television we’re online.

Ok, I know you know this but have you thought about it before? Obama mania happened because he captured our generation and he did so in the trenches of facebook, not the trenches of stump speeches. While watching all the coverage and listening to all the speeches from him, his supporters, and all the pundits looking for something to talk about, I kept hearing about change. If you’ve read my first post change is a theme in my life, graduating, changing locations, lifestyles, and looking for a job…change, change, change.  Well now here we are beginning change “America Style”.  We all know there’s a lot to change. The economy is broken because we relied on past formulas and got burned. Jobs are scare all over, but every marketing field informational interview I go on, I hear about the need to reach Gen Y, how to diversify your message to reach a rapidly fragmenting audience. We knew this change was coming, and here it is.

Here’s what I, a Gen Y, would like to see Obama and older generations recognize about our generation. He’s woken a beast. Our generation was engaged in politics for the first time and our love affair with it has created a multi headed monster. Forget the 6 o’clock news, when something happens our Iphones, blackberries, twitters, etc. etc. will go off right then. Add that to the current state America has been given to us in, we won’t forget how screw up’s happen and what they look like. A year ago you could say Gen Y’s were needy (well ok I said it last week). That’s over. The flipside of the greed is we’ve seen the promise land. Our generation created the craze of our parents standing in line at Wal-mart for 7 hours to get the hot new Christmas toy. We were raised spoiled and now we want to get back there again. Don’t doubt us though, we’re willing to work hard for it. We’re hungry, we’re smart, and most importantly we understand our generation better then older gerneations ever would. Gen Y is all about a clean enviornment, human rights, peace and prosperity. We’re a perfect storm because we’re more experienced at our age than any previous generation ever was. We’ve been through it all. We know what terror is, remember we were in the schools when the phrase “school shooting” was coined. We’ve fought in war, grew up in the era of global warming, and got to go places as kids you never would have imagined. The world is smaller and we know more about it.

I will say Gen Y has a lot of responsibility. Responsibility we can handle, after all it was the big lesson we learned in single family homes when 1/2 of marriages in your generation ended in divorce. We’re the generation where safe sex became common discussion, as kids we watched the AIDS epidemic. Don’t doubt our ability to handle responsibility. Yes we still need your guidance, yes we don’t know everything, and yes we probably seem arrogant. But understand a beast has been woken, we understand the world more then you probably give us credit for, and we remember the glory days of being spoiled, it’s in all of our best interest to embrace and work with this change.

Who am I? Reflections of Gen Y.

January 16, 2009

Hello All. Allow me to introduce myself. I am brand new to the world. First of all I am a brand new college graduate. Second of all I just moved to Chicago in hopes of finding a job.

For the last 22 years I have been living in a bubble. This bubble was built around the success of my parents, both financially and morally. Growing up in the shadow of the most successful generation in history, I was blessed with great family innovations such as traveling sports teams, cookie cutter sub-divisions, and video games. Late last year, as I prepaired for my graduation from a large public University this December I realized two things. First, I realized just how thick this bubble was in my childhood. One of my favorite things to do as a young child was put on Dad’s sport coat (hence the name of this blog) and play “business man”. Never thinking about the less flattering aspects of being a businessman, I would walk around and pretend to be in important meetings. Have my secratary/baby sister fetch me coffee, and in general over dramatize what I thought my dad did. Oh how idealistic I was at 5.

The second thing I realized wasn’t really apparent until I began searching for that first post-graduate job (which I have yet to find), the importance of being an active, understanding member in our soceity, call it bursting your own bubble.  I believe I have an understanding of what has happened to the economy. I have had a fidelity account since I was 16 (one of the better results of the middle-upper class bubble I  grew up in) that I use to think would just continue to grow, without much effort on my part, until I was “old” and buying a house. I am trying to learn to watch CNBC instead of SportsCenter, and in general learning the importance of being active in this world. One of the more sobering realizations of this economic crisis is that success not only doesn’t come on a silver platter,  it hides from you, teases you, and tries to make you look silly while you search for it.

When I entered college it was widely assumed after graduation someone would hire you. I never thought that someone would be Starbucks (no offense to the Starbucks people, one of the pains of becoming an adult is learning how not to make bad coffee). My overall point depends on who you, the reader is. If you’re under 23 I cannot urge you enough to not only appreciate whatever opportunities you may have, but take full advantage of them now. Should you be fortunate enough to have the opportunity to educate yourself, do so, no matter how bad last nights hangover is. If you’re over the age of 23 my point is that I hope you realize there are Gen Yers out there who want to be serious contributors to our society. This economy is the worst economy to begin a career since my parents began theirs (something I am reminded of every time I go in for the all vague “informational interview”), and I wonder what kind of clothing will  be in my closet when my child is 5 and wants to pretend to be Dad.

That is all for now!