Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This article about millennials who think the American Dream is broken is required reading for understanding why the younger generation favors big government solutions. In a nutshell:
“They’ve been set up by going to college and thinking if you work hard at something you enjoy doing, you’ll be rewarded,” says Nan Mooney, author of Not Keeping Up with Our Parents. “But it’s not true anymore.”
And later in the article:
“There is still a rhetoric in this country that if you do work hard, you should be able to do well,” says Mooney. “And if you’re not doing well, it’s because you didn’t work hard enough or you weren’t smart enough. So then when you’re still working at Starbucks at 30 years old, you feel like, I screwed up, what do I do? It generates a lot of self-doubt that will stay with you.”
Basically, some moron (sounds like it was usually a parent) gave millennials bad advice about how to get a job in this world. Here are three things every millennial needs to know right now about getting your dream job:
1. Each additional college degree does not move you along some sort of probability curve toward a guaranteed high-paying job in your desired industry, and moreover, grad school can sometimes hurt you in foregone income, experience, and networking, or by limiting your choices by saddling you with debt. Sure, an additional degree almost always increases the probability of getting a better job all else equal, but when is all else equal? Opportunity costs, people!
2. Networking is the best way to get jobs, and the bigger your obstacles are to getting your dream job — few positions open, blemishes in your past, fewer socioeconomic advantages — the more important effective networking becomes. And by the way, effective networking is not stalking, it’s relationship building. The best networkers develop many friends and acquaintances, not mere connections. Networking also is not nepotism. These words mean different things, so get off that high-horse… or stay on that high-horse if you prefer, it doesn’t change the way things are. Want to get a job at an advocacy nonprofit to fight the evils of networking? I’ve got bad news for you: without networking, you won’t get it.
3. Having a quarter-life crisis about your “plight” gets you precisely nowhere. Whoever said the American Dream was supposed to be easy? If you’re one of the people described in the article who’s upset that you’re still working at Starbucks and living in your parents’ basement, think about the fact that you got to spend four to seven years jacking around in college. Or better yet, think about the people in a much worse position than you who leave their families behind and cross the border every day in pursuit of the American Dream only to be greeted with outright bigotry by many citizens, some of whom exercise said bigotry through government force.
Millennials: The bottom line is if you want to get your dream job, the best thing you can do is put yourself in a position to know everything you can about the paths into that industry, the skills required for that industry, and the people involved in that industry, then go from there. the keys to success Mommy and Daddy told you are no longer true, if they ever were, so suck it up and take control of your career path.