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Somewhere in between

Societies unrealistic standards for each generation

I felt like the meme above was the perfect one for this article. As it best describes most of societies views on the “ideal” job candidate. It shows how unrealistic society can be when it comes to hiring. If you are someone who wants to make a living or simply wants to make a difference in this world, you will have to ignore societies standards and stand up and fight continuously. This article is solely for my fighters!

If you ask me how to fight I will be happy to help you. If you ask me why do you have to fight I can’t help you with that. ~ Aqueelah

I also feel that we should put our hands out to people when we see passion. Rather than making fun of them, for their lack of knowledge. Which is something I see often on social media and hear in conversation. What most people don’t understand is that passion is rare and if you have it, you will win. Simply put, skill set will help you “get a job” but passion will “give you a career”. Whether you are a job seeker or entrepreneur, knowing the difference between these two things is important for you.

Where there is passion there is no need for motivation. ~ Lorrin L Lee

Defining the Generations:

As per the following article

Baby Boomers — Anyone born between 1946–1964.

Generation X — Came directly after Baby Boomers. Anyone born mid 1960s-1980.

Generation Y— Also known as the Millennial generation. Anyone born 1980s-2000.

Generation Z — Anyone born after the year 2000.

What baby boomers and some generation x’s are facing now

Our youngest baby boomers are only 51 and our oldest generation x’s just turned 50. According to most guidelines neither one of those ages are retirement ready. Yet some are being pushed out before they are set to retire.

“Age discrimination claims are on the rise as members of the post-World War II baby boom enter their 60s. Last year, 22,857 people filed age-related complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, compared with 16,548 in 2006.”
Michael Winerip. “Pushed Out of a Job early.” NY Times. Web. 07 Dec. 2013.

What just about everyone fails to realize is that baby boomers and the majority of generation x’s, grew up in a time where they were told that you get a job and stay at it for years. They were also told that moving from job to job shows lack of commitment and looks bad to employers. Nowadays people are judged for staying at jobs or in the same role for long periods of time, because it doesn’t look good to some employers. Decades ago it was classified as loyalty. Today for some, it is classified as “not having the ability to innovate”. I’ve recently started helping a few baby boomers and older generation x’s, with their resumes and I forgot how judgemental society could be, even when you have experience. I always tell anyone I help with job searches to feel comfortable getting second opinions so that they can maximize their efforts.

One of the generation x’ers came back to me and said they were told not to use the phrase 30+ years of experience on their resume because “it dated them”. I quickly remembered that I had heard that before, but it wasn’t until I heard it again that I realized how judgemental society truly is. We tell people that aging is a beautiful thing, but we also stamp “expiration dates” on them, when they do. It’s no wonder some are pissed at the millennials. They assume they are coming into “steal” jobs.

Also when most baby boomers were born no one really talked much about entrepreneurship and innovation. So these things are somewhat of a new concept for some. I am a late addition to generation x, being born in 1979. I’ve had both x and y experiences. Difficulty getting into my industry of choice as an entry level professional. Years later at 29, I experienced a lay off while working at a company I had planned on staying for years to come. I quickly learned what generation y, was all about. I still feel like i’m in between though and I like it. What I enjoy most about it is the wisdom you gain from being on the cusp! What I hate about it, is seeing and understanding what baby boomers and some generation x’s are going through right now.

Whenever you are laid off from a job it does not matter how many speeches you are given about how wonderful you are and were, you will still feel thrown to the side and alone. Some baby boomers and some generation x’s have been able to still thrive in this economy. However, a large amount have not and I ask, why aren’t their enough programs that support older workers in the workforce? Why are we making videos and writing articles joking about their lack of “innovation”? Why are we not growing them and why are we not teaching them? Why are we pushing the very people who taught us to the side? Why are very few people having this conversation?

What some Millennials and some career changers are facing now

Our youngest Millennials to enter the workforce just turned 18 and our oldest just turned 35. The age of the people changing career paths vary as some are older generation y’s a.k.a millennials and some are generation x’s and even a few baby boomers who are not yet ready to retire. Nowadays it’s really tough to try anything new, because a lot of people expect you to be experts as soon as you walk in the door. For the millennials society wants their youth and to target them with products so they can spend. To learn about their trends so they can create. Yet some believe they just aren’t worthy of training. When I googled articles on why millennials could not find jobs, my search resulted in 6 million articles. A ton of articles bashing millennials and a scattered few with actual tips on how to get jobs. Many of the articles such as this one: mentioned that one of the reasons millennials aren’t getting hired is because they don’t have “soft skills”. This made me giggle inside a little. Mainly because I work in an industry where many skilled people rarely have any soft skills, so much that people are writing books and articles about it now. I’m also often surprised when people in my field which is the technology industry, do have soft skills and I end up complimenting them on it, just to motivate them to keep it up so that it quickly spreads to others.

This next sentence is me being cynical. “It’s amazing to me how we were all professionals and knew just about everything before we entered the job market, we were perfect”. Cynicism is over. I can personally say even though I was raised well by my parents, it took me sometime to learn how to navigate a work environment. Especially with all the variables and different personalities involved. I mean if you see someone that is a pure jerk there is nothing you can do about that. However, don’t just give up on people because they might need a little grooming. You might be letting passion walk out the door and don’t even know it. Then I say, therein lies the problem, the only way one can be an observer of people with passion and good energy is if we had more people with passion and good energy in workplaces. I admit that sometimes grooming someone can be a tedious job at times, but the end result can be amazing and beyond rewarding. Also whether you know it or not, someone did it for you. Or maybe you were just perfect. There goes that cynicism again.

A quote I understand but do not like

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job wait until you hire an amateur” ~ Red Adair

I understand that some professionals love this quote. As there are times when companies want to provide experienced people with entry level pay. So I completely understand the intent of this quote. However, if you dig deeper into what is happening in the world now, I think way too many people who don’t deserve to be protected by this quote can hide behind it and they do. Way too many people who deserve a shot won’t get one because of this mentality. People are being discriminated against in the job market on a daily basis. Whether it’s race, gender, disability or something else. So unfortunately when some of them actually get a shot in the work force they may be “amateurs”.

As someone who is a professional in one industry and will most likely be a novice in others, I chose not to hide behind or promote this quote, because at some point I will end up on the receiving end of it again. If I am unhappy with pay I will simply not take the opportunity. Also as someone who has an eclectic skill set, i’ve found better ways to market myself without taking shots at those who could be really trying. This article is by far one of the best articles i’ve ever read from a CEO: The company also has a no A-hole work policy on their site as well. His lessons 3 and 5 are my favorite. If more people thought like this, it’s quite possible that we’d have more passionate and skilled people in this world rather than just people with skill. We could simply change the game by always demanding passion no matter how skilled someone is. We’d also have more people in work environments who don’t mind training others.

My end note

Basically what most of society leads us to believe is that we have to be “somewhere in between” to succeed. Way too many people want youth and experience at the same time and sometimes that does not match up. I have no preference on any generation and quite frankly, i’m more impressed with people who have passion, hustle and grind. In my personal opinion age does not matter, because passion, hustle and grind defines success.

I believe that one day we’ll wake up in a world where we as a society stop assuming that age is the only identifier of success. We are never too old or too young to accomplish a dream. We often talk about society like it’s a separate entity. Like we are not living in it. Like we can’t change it. Like we aren’t society. But here’s the thing…

“We are society, we are the make up and if we wanted to, we could change the world” ~ Aqueelah
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