My Chat With a “Millennial”

Not all Millennials are created equal.

Hopefully by now, everyone has realized that. While a good chunk are willing to hop, skip, and jump around the work pond, it’s not fair to lump them all into one category. Moreover, it’s time to realize that millennials (depending on what stat you’re looking at) are as old as 35+ now! Trust me, at 35 you’re more focused on finding steady work that can support those around you than looking for a ‘fun’ place to work. With that said, sometimes there comes a time where a complete career overhaul is necessary. This week we are focusing on someone who has done just that. Ryan, a millennial, spend 12 years as a heavy machine operator before realizing his body wouldn’t take it anymore and it was time to find work that made him feel like he was making a difference. I sat down with him to talk about his big transition and this is how it went.

First of all, what are your thoughts on being called a millennial?

I think there are a lot of people who are still confused on who millennials are. It’s a really large generation that I think is something like 75 million strong. To say we are the same is kind of ridiculous. I am 35 and I’m certainly not internet obsessed. In fact, coming from the industry I was in, I’m not that computer literate. I also have a wife and a daughter and need to support them with a steady job. The majority of people that I know that are my age, do not fit into the stereotype of what they call a ‘millennial’. I’m on the other end of the spectrum from the people they seem to be talking about (the 26, 27 year olds).

What made you decide to change your career then?

Well, for one, I have muscular dystrophy so the work I was in was really tearing my body apart and it was becoming increasingly difficult to have such a physical job. Another reason was that the position I was in, was sort of a dead end. I was hoping to find something where I felt like I could make a difference.

What steps did you take to change your career?

I had to first decide what I was going to. That was step 1. I sort of had an idea that I wanted to be in counseling or something that directly helped people. I have a lot of people in my life that have been affected by mental disorders and alcoholism and I felt like they are underserved. So I decided on drug and alcohol counseling which I had to go back to school to get certified for. I live in Orange County so there are plenty of places to work but I had to network to find those opportunities. It’s not really an industry where you can hop on a job board and find a job.

Do you think it would have been easier to find a job if you were able to use a service like Betagig and find job shadowing opportunities?

Absolutely. I could have spent a lot less time networking for one. But more importantly, it would have given me the chance to actually see how each facility was operated and their system. Each facility is run quite differently and as a counselor, you have a certain way that you want to work. Usually, each facility has a relatively small staff so getting to know those people a little bit would have been nice since you work so closely with them. It would have been much easier to find a good fit for me.

As you can see, not all millennials are the same. Everyone has different motives for what they do and not everyone is looking for ping pong and free lunch.

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