Hey Gen Y, Please Don’t Take the Easy Way Out

The following is a guest post by Corbett Barr (someone I greatly respect both personally and professionally). Corbett blogs about Lifestyle Design at Free Pursuits, and he just launched a new blog about building high-traffic websites called Think Traffic. Follow him on Twitter @corbettbarr.

Matt was kind enough to have me write a guest post here as a sort of “outsider’s” response to his recent Breaking Away from Generation Now post.

I’m a Gen X-er myself, although Gen X isn’t really identified as a tight-knit group anymore (which, by the way will also happen to Gen Y as you enter your 30s, even though it might seem now like you’re forever and inextricably joined in one giant group).

Responding to Matt’s post is a daunting task. It’s hard to comment on the actions of a group of 76 million people all at once without oversimplifying, stereotyping or just generally pissing people off, but I’ll do my best.

Gen Y, you have some huge opportunities to do better than Gen X and your parents did. Please don’t take the easy way out.

I happen to be a big fan of lifestyle design and people living unconventional lives, but I try not to be judgmental about people who just want a comfortable career so they can live without work ruling their lives. As an entrepreneur and reformed workaholic, I absolutely get the attraction of a “conventional” life.

It seems as though the lifestyle design movement has gotten a little off track lately, especially among 20-somethings. It has become less about following personal passions and dreams and more about a competitive ideal that everyone is supposed to aspire to. I understand why lots of you have been turned off by the whole movement.

However, there are many more important reasons to rethink what work and life mean to you and your generation than competing over who has the most free time or who travels to the most exotic locales every year.

I’m talking primarily about three areas of opportunity here:

  1. Your own personal lifestyle, passions and career
  2. The broken power structure of our society
  3. Help for those in need

Let’s take a look at each area separately, and why you shouldn’t take the easy way out.

Your own personal lifestyle, passions and career

They say your generation cares more about what you do for a living and who you work with than how much you make. That’s great. For so long, the primary goal of college graduates has been to snag the job with the highest salary and biggest perks.

The problem is that what starts out as a great paycheck and a tolerable job quickly turns into panic that you aren’t living your dreams or full potential as you reach your 30s. Eventually if left untreated, that formerly cushy cubicle job can turn into full on mid-life crisis, divorce and/or health problems.

If you’re lucky, at some point you will realize you wanted more from your career than a paycheck and you’ll do something about it. Unfortunately, changing careers or starting a company in your 30s, 40s or beyond is much harder to do than in your 20s.

I’m not saying you have to jump with both feet into self employment or becoming an artist or whatever else your real dream might involve. Just realize that it won’t get any easier. At least consider following your dream part-time for now.

The broken power structure of our society

If you do decide to go out an get a comfortable and well-paying job somewhere, you should first give some thought to the impact your potential employer has on society. Especially if that employer is a big corporation.

In the West, we live in an extremely wealthy society by world standards, but much of that wealth has come at the expense of work-life balance of the average worker. CEOs of big US companies are paid on average 262 times more than the average worker. In 1965, that ratio was only 24 to 1.

Power continues to accumulate at the top and shows no sign of stopping. Consumerism, celebrity culture and lack of investment in small businesses all contribute to a dwindling middle class and growing poverty.

If you have the choice between working for a small employee-owned or family run business versus a giant corporation with lobbyists and shameful benefits for the lowest-paid workers, I hope you choose the former, even if it means less pay.

What you do for a living isn’t the only chance you have to make a difference to society, either. Where you shop, the transportation you choose and what you eat all can contribute to or help reverse the imbalance of power and wealth in our country. It just requires thinking a little outside of yourself.

Help for those in need

Coming from relatively privileged backgrounds (as I assume most people reading blogs like this have), it can be easy to forget that so many people around us and in other countries are struggling without the basics like education, food, clean water and health care.

The cool thing is that lots of startups and foundations have shown that social entrepreneurship can create sustainable businesses while helping those in need.

As a Gen Y outsider, it seems that many of your generation have just the right blend of compassion and entrepreneurial spirit to make innovative differences in the world’s most difficult social problems. Many of you were, after all, raised by former hippies but born in the decade of greed and excess, right?

So what’s it gonna be, Gen Y?

The focus of your generation on unconventional lifestyles, entrepreneurship and doing what you’re passionate about is important if a little misguided. Instead of competing over who has more lifestyle design street cred, why not work together to make life better for yourselves and society as a whole?

I’m confident you’ll seize these opportunities for three reasons:

  1. You’re smart, passionate and more connected than we were. Just take the depth of conversation that goes on at blogs like this one. Your generation is clearly well connected and deeply passionate.
  2. Technology has opened so many doors. More than ever, anything really is possible for the motivated and impassioned. Gen Y gets technology and social media. You grew up with it. Now you can use it for more than just entertainment or convenience.
  3. This crappy economy you’re entering the workforce in (or not) can actually be a blessing in disguise. Not having so many employment options means entrepreneurship and creativity will be more important to your generation. Hopefully it means more of you will become self-sufficient before the economy picks up again.

So what’s it going to be, Gen Y? The easy way out, or making your personal life, our society and the world better than any generation before? Those of us from other generations anxiously await your answer. Please share in the comments.

(Image c/o DiegoCupolo)


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70 Responses
  • Simple in France Reply

    Great topic for a guest post on this blog (and fun author). I like the way you combine the importance of not being afraid to do something radically different with the importance of thinking of others and questioning the (increasingly entrenched) power structure in our society.

    I like the fact that this post calls on people firmly in gen y to define themselves-but I would argue that gen x should not just sit back on its rump and conclude that they’ve been defined already. . . You can’t just say, “ok, I’m 35, stick a fork in me, I’m done!”

    I say this as someone on the ‘cusp’ of the two generations. Had I been born 3 months later, I’d be a part of generation y !?!?! I guess my point is, as much as a common experience can create common ideas in people–you have to exist beyond your generation. . .

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked the post. It was fun writing it (thanks Matt for the opportunity).

      I definitely agree with you about Gen X, which (if you remember) was deemed the “slacker generation” in the early 90s. Like any generation, it is shortsighted to generalize and group everyone together. There are people doing important things in Gen X, and there are people who identify with your comment about being finished at 35 already. Sad but true.

  • Simple in France Reply

    Great topic for a guest post on this blog (and fun author). I like the way you combine the importance of not being afraid to do something radically different with the importance of thinking of others and questioning the (increasingly entrenched) power structure in our society.

    I like the fact that this post calls on people firmly in gen y to define themselves-but I would argue that gen x should not just sit back on its rump and conclude that they’ve been defined already. . . You can’t just say, “ok, I’m 35, stick a fork in me, I’m done!”

    I say this as someone on the ‘cusp’ of the two generations. Had I been born 3 months later, I’d be a part of generation y !?!?! I guess my point is, as much as a common experience can create common ideas in people–you have to exist beyond your generation. . .

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked the post. It was fun writing it (thanks Matt for the opportunity).

      I definitely agree with you about Gen X, which (if you remember) was deemed the “slacker generation” in the early 90s. Like any generation, it is shortsighted to generalize and group everyone together. There are people doing important things in Gen X, and there are people who identify with your comment about being finished at 35 already. Sad but true.

  • Sid Savara Reply

    Hey Matt and Corbett,

    Though I am not going to point fingers, I have been feeling the same way about this lately:

    “… the lifestyle design movement has gotten a little off track lately, especially among 20-somethings. It has become less about following personal passions and dreams and more about a competitive ideal that everyone is supposed to aspire to.”

    It does seem different, in that it really started out as “break free, follow your passions – do something that means something.” Now though, when some people talk lifestyle design, they’re talking about “give me a quick buck so I can avoid doing work,” – but they’re missing the point that not doing “work” doesn’t mean to be insignificant and not add any value to the world and other people’s lives. The whole point was always to free up time for the purpose of doing what mattered to you – not just for the sake of bragging your 30 minute work week is shorter than someone’s two hour workweek

    And by doing somehting important it doesn’t necessarily mean changing the world by selling something or starting a foundation or anything like that – just living with purpose.

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Well put, Sid. I’m not even saying everyone has to change the world, but small actions (and conscientiousness) collectively can change the world, even if most people’s dream involves working less. In fact, I think if everyone worked less it might improve Western values and help curb consumerism. However, when you work less, something has to fill that void and hopefully the filler isn’t just bragging or buying more stuff.

      It’s the experiences in life that matter, not the things, after all.

  • Sid Savara Reply

    Hey Matt and Corbett,

    Though I am not going to point fingers, I have been feeling the same way about this lately:

    “… the lifestyle design movement has gotten a little off track lately, especially among 20-somethings. It has become less about following personal passions and dreams and more about a competitive ideal that everyone is supposed to aspire to.”

    It does seem different, in that it really started out as “break free, follow your passions – do something that means something.” Now though, when some people talk lifestyle design, they’re talking about “give me a quick buck so I can avoid doing work,” – but they’re missing the point that not doing “work” doesn’t mean to be insignificant and not add any value to the world and other people’s lives. The whole point was always to free up time for the purpose of doing what mattered to you – not just for the sake of bragging your 30 minute work week is shorter than someone’s two hour workweek

    And by doing somehting important it doesn’t necessarily mean changing the world by selling something or starting a foundation or anything like that – just living with purpose.

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Well put, Sid. I’m not even saying everyone has to change the world, but small actions (and conscientiousness) collectively can change the world, even if most people’s dream involves working less. In fact, I think if everyone worked less it might improve Western values and help curb consumerism. However, when you work less, something has to fill that void and hopefully the filler isn’t just bragging or buying more stuff.

      It’s the experiences in life that matter, not the things, after all.

  • Lauren Fernandez Reply

    Brilliant post C.

    The thing about Gen Y? We got a ribbon for everything. Hell, I have ribbons from participation only. When some don’t get recognized, they freak out. Gen Y can only blame our parents for so much before it gets old – as an adult, WE have to make decisions. WE decide how much hard work we need.

    I talk to my dad all the time (who has been in several manager roles) and he’s seen the shift in work ethic. He told me that it comes as a surprise when a Gen Yer acts like an Xer, and hes not sure how much of compliment that is.

    We have the tools, we have the drive. It all comes down to personal choices and if we are willing to actually put others before ourselves, we can drive society. Thing is? So many are concerned with how self is portrayed and so sensitive to others accomplishments, that they fail out of the gate.

    Time to be selfless, Gen Y.

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Great comment, Lauren! I’ll have a ribbon made for you ;)

      Gen Y really could drive society, you’re right. And I don’t even think everyone needs to be selfless all the time. Just a little thinking outside yourself goes a long way.

  • Lauren Fernandez Reply

    Brilliant post C.

    The thing about Gen Y? We got a ribbon for everything. Hell, I have ribbons from participation only. When some don’t get recognized, they freak out. Gen Y can only blame our parents for so much before it gets old – as an adult, WE have to make decisions. WE decide how much hard work we need.

    I talk to my dad all the time (who has been in several manager roles) and he’s seen the shift in work ethic. He told me that it comes as a surprise when a Gen Yer acts like an Xer, and hes not sure how much of compliment that is.

    We have the tools, we have the drive. It all comes down to personal choices and if we are willing to actually put others before ourselves, we can drive society. Thing is? So many are concerned with how self is portrayed and so sensitive to others accomplishments, that they fail out of the gate.

    Time to be selfless, Gen Y.

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Great comment, Lauren! I’ll have a ribbon made for you ;)

      Gen Y really could drive society, you’re right. And I don’t even think everyone needs to be selfless all the time. Just a little thinking outside yourself goes a long way.

  • Srinivas Rao Reply

    @Corbett: I’m in the same boat as you. I’m in my 30’s so I technically fall under Gen X. Yet this whole social web of people I’m connected to are in the Gen Y camp. What blows me away is the things you pointed out about the tools at their disposal. I was unemployed post grad school for 8 months. Now that I’ve turned things around, I realize that was the ultimate blessing in disguise.

    What I love is the fact that you pointed out that Gen Y has an opportunity to make a significant impact on the world. The ability to quickly connect using technology is an opportunity to create a series of movements that could ultimately alter the future for the better. This post has just inspired a whole new list of social entrepreneurship ideas in my own head :).

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Hey Srinivas, I love that you’re a real example of how unemployment (or a lack of job options) can be a positive thing. Keep us posted on your social entrepreneurship ideas.

  • Srinivas Rao Reply

    @Corbett: I’m in the same boat as you. I’m in my 30’s so I technically fall under Gen X. Yet this whole social web of people I’m connected to are in the Gen Y camp. What blows me away is the things you pointed out about the tools at their disposal. I was unemployed post grad school for 8 months. Now that I’ve turned things around, I realize that was the ultimate blessing in disguise.

    What I love is the fact that you pointed out that Gen Y has an opportunity to make a significant impact on the world. The ability to quickly connect using technology is an opportunity to create a series of movements that could ultimately alter the future for the better. This post has just inspired a whole new list of social entrepreneurship ideas in my own head :).

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Hey Srinivas, I love that you’re a real example of how unemployment (or a lack of job options) can be a positive thing. Keep us posted on your social entrepreneurship ideas.

  • Laura Kimball Reply

    Hey Corbett,

    Lots of things to think about here, but the one that stood out at me the most is the idea of working together:

    “Instead of competing over who has more lifestyle design street cred, why not work together to make life better for yourselves and society as a whole?”

    I’ve actually seen this come up in business (a lot) where internal departments are butting heads and preventing the other from meeting overall business goals instead of realizing that everyone works on the same team and is trying to get to the same place. You are bringing that model to an entire generation who is chomping at the bit to change the world (hello, me too), and I like it.

    Now, I’m not saying that let’s all have a big group hug and feel good about our aspirations (though a participation ribbon sounds awesome right now). But as you suggest–why not combine passions and energy and really make a difference? We got the drive, the power in numbers, and similar values; stop trying to compare who’s lifestyle is better than the next, start doing…together.

    Thanks. And thanks, Matt, for the introduction to Corbett!

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Yes! Let’s stop seeing the world as a finite “pie” that we all have to fight over. It’s all about a mindset of abundance vs. scarcity.

  • Laura Kimball Reply

    Hey Corbett,

    Lots of things to think about here, but the one that stood out at me the most is the idea of working together:

    “Instead of competing over who has more lifestyle design street cred, why not work together to make life better for yourselves and society as a whole?”

    I’ve actually seen this come up in business (a lot) where internal departments are butting heads and preventing the other from meeting overall business goals instead of realizing that everyone works on the same team and is trying to get to the same place. You are bringing that model to an entire generation who is chomping at the bit to change the world (hello, me too), and I like it.

    Now, I’m not saying that let’s all have a big group hug and feel good about our aspirations (though a participation ribbon sounds awesome right now). But as you suggest–why not combine passions and energy and really make a difference? We got the drive, the power in numbers, and similar values; stop trying to compare who’s lifestyle is better than the next, start doing…together.

    Thanks. And thanks, Matt, for the introduction to Corbett!

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Yes! Let’s stop seeing the world as a finite “pie” that we all have to fight over. It’s all about a mindset of abundance vs. scarcity.

  • Kristina E. Proctor Reply

    Thanks for a fantastic post. I’m totally following you now. Thanks Matt for expanding my blog world with his guest post.

    I’ve been agaist starting my own business or taking on more freelancing gigs because it seems so cut throat among my peers and it turns me off. There should be communications that’s honest and open between groups. I understand competition, but it’s doesn’t help my passion to remain isolated. So, I’ve become more active in NPOs and helping them.

    Now for me it’s more of the question: How can I make this profitable to live and eat?

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? There’s a long road to making a living from doing what you love (and helping others), but it’s well worth it, I’m told.

      If all of us start valuing things deeper than consumerism, working for huge corporations we don’t really care about won’t be the default option anymore.

  • Kristina E. Proctor Reply

    Thanks for a fantastic post. I’m totally following you now. Thanks Matt for expanding my blog world with his guest post.

    I’ve been agaist starting my own business or taking on more freelancing gigs because it seems so cut throat among my peers and it turns me off. There should be communications that’s honest and open between groups. I understand competition, but it’s doesn’t help my passion to remain isolated. So, I’ve become more active in NPOs and helping them.

    Now for me it’s more of the question: How can I make this profitable to live and eat?

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? There’s a long road to making a living from doing what you love (and helping others), but it’s well worth it, I’m told.

      If all of us start valuing things deeper than consumerism, working for huge corporations we don’t really care about won’t be the default option anymore.

  • Melanie Orndorff Reply

    Matt, I just found your post through one of Chris Guillebeau’s tweets. Terrific stuff!

    I like that, instead of griping about Gen Y (as I find myself doing on occasion), you’re giving them inspiration to really make a difference.

    I look forward to reading more!

  • Melanie Orndorff Reply

    Matt, I just found your post through one of Chris Guillebeau’s tweets. Terrific stuff!

    I like that, instead of griping about Gen Y (as I find myself doing on occasion), you’re giving them inspiration to really make a difference.

    I look forward to reading more!

  • Mandy Reply

    Definitely interesting stuff! And thanks for delineating the issue so eloquently!

    I find it interesting that one of the core values of Gen Y is collaboration and yet there are signs that competition is still alive and well. There is definitely a sense of exclusion from Gen Y sometimes wherein the only people who can collaborate are the people who already live the lifestyle and it’s a little off-putting. I appreciate the sentiment that there is a big difference between pursuing lifestyle design to be fashionable (in other words, trendy) and making changes towards a more fulfilled life. As Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living”.

    Thanks!

  • Mandy Reply

    Definitely interesting stuff! And thanks for delineating the issue so eloquently!

    I find it interesting that one of the core values of Gen Y is collaboration and yet there are signs that competition is still alive and well. There is definitely a sense of exclusion from Gen Y sometimes wherein the only people who can collaborate are the people who already live the lifestyle and it’s a little off-putting. I appreciate the sentiment that there is a big difference between pursuing lifestyle design to be fashionable (in other words, trendy) and making changes towards a more fulfilled life. As Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living”.

    Thanks!

  • Emily Jasper Reply

    One thing that I pulled from this post is the idea that you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I’ve been working in a team with some new people who don’t want to learn how things worked. They assume it was wrong, and the new way is how we’re going to go. By not taking a moment to understand how it worked before, they don’t know what pieces to change. So instead of improving process, there is nothing now, and they can’t agree on what’s next. When it comes to overall improvement of the world, I think the biggest thing that can make our generation unsuccessful is to not learn from what came before. And that doesn’t mean just seeing the errors. We need to look at success, see what was there that made everything work. The world isn’t all bad, and in addition to innovating new ways to improve things, we should also look at the models there before us.

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Well said, Emily. It’s natural for every generation to want to “figure things out for themselves,” but learning from the past is the best way to improve things going forward.

  • Emily Jasper Reply

    One thing that I pulled from this post is the idea that you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I’ve been working in a team with some new people who don’t want to learn how things worked. They assume it was wrong, and the new way is how we’re going to go. By not taking a moment to understand how it worked before, they don’t know what pieces to change. So instead of improving process, there is nothing now, and they can’t agree on what’s next. When it comes to overall improvement of the world, I think the biggest thing that can make our generation unsuccessful is to not learn from what came before. And that doesn’t mean just seeing the errors. We need to look at success, see what was there that made everything work. The world isn’t all bad, and in addition to innovating new ways to improve things, we should also look at the models there before us.

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Well said, Emily. It’s natural for every generation to want to “figure things out for themselves,” but learning from the past is the best way to improve things going forward.

  • Alex Reply

    Fantastic. There really is more to life than making boatloads of cash or working for companies you don’t believe in. I do quibble with one statement, though:

    “Unfortunately, changing careers or starting a company in your 30s, 40s or beyond is much harder to do than in your 20s.”

    I’m not sure that’s universally true–at least it wasn’t in my experience. What I had in my 20s was an almost reckless spontaneity and willingness to take chances. I tried and failed–a lot. But I also had some success. Now I take chances more thoughtfully, and my experiences in my 20s and 30s serve me well in the choices I make in my (gasp) 40s.

    That said, the core message of this post is so true. Take it from another Gen Xer. Good luck, Gen Y.

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Great point, Alex. In fact, I wrote a whole post recently that asked “at what age is it hardest to radically change your life?” The response was pretty divided. Most people agreed that it is more dependent on who you are than how old you are. In any case, if you start to embrace change at an earlier age, you’ll be better able to deal with life and find happiness at any age.

  • Alex Reply

    Fantastic. There really is more to life than making boatloads of cash or working for companies you don’t believe in. I do quibble with one statement, though:

    “Unfortunately, changing careers or starting a company in your 30s, 40s or beyond is much harder to do than in your 20s.”

    I’m not sure that’s universally true–at least it wasn’t in my experience. What I had in my 20s was an almost reckless spontaneity and willingness to take chances. I tried and failed–a lot. But I also had some success. Now I take chances more thoughtfully, and my experiences in my 20s and 30s serve me well in the choices I make in my (gasp) 40s.

    That said, the core message of this post is so true. Take it from another Gen Xer. Good luck, Gen Y.

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      Great point, Alex. In fact, I wrote a whole post recently that asked “at what age is it hardest to radically change your life?” The response was pretty divided. Most people agreed that it is more dependent on who you are than how old you are. In any case, if you start to embrace change at an earlier age, you’ll be better able to deal with life and find happiness at any age.

  • Monique Reply

    Totally agree with “This crappy economy you’re entering the workforce in (or not) can actually be a blessing in disguise.” It’s much easier to start up something new when everyone you know isn’t expecting you to have a job already.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I’m witnessing this first hand Monique – and it’s apparent to everyone, across generations, that the market is ripe for the picking if you have a niche, passion, and skill. Thanks for the comment!

  • Monique Reply

    Totally agree with “This crappy economy you’re entering the workforce in (or not) can actually be a blessing in disguise.” It’s much easier to start up something new when everyone you know isn’t expecting you to have a job already.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I’m witnessing this first hand Monique – and it’s apparent to everyone, across generations, that the market is ripe for the picking if you have a niche, passion, and skill. Thanks for the comment!

  • Matt Cheuvront Reply

    First and foremost – Great post Corbett – it was an honor to have you share some wisdom here on Life Without Pants.

    Above all, what I’ve been preaching, is that you, me, anyone can find passion in ANYTHING we do. Whether you’re an insurance agent or an entrepreneur working from the jungle in South America (do they have wifi out there?) – you can be equally passionate about the work you’re doing.

    Secondly – and as you laid out here – if you want to make a difference – you CAN make a difference. In this day and age, with the technology and tools at our disposal – it’s easier than ever for one person to really make waves and make a difference. I am a HUGE advocate of Social Entrepreneurship and really plan to commit myself to that once I get my feet on the ground a bit.

    Thanks again for the post – very well articulated and I couldn’t agree more. Cheers my friend!

  • Matt Cheuvront Reply

    First and foremost – Great post Corbett – it was an honor to have you share some wisdom here on Life Without Pants.

    Above all, what I’ve been preaching, is that you, me, anyone can find passion in ANYTHING we do. Whether you’re an insurance agent or an entrepreneur working from the jungle in South America (do they have wifi out there?) – you can be equally passionate about the work you’re doing.

    Secondly – and as you laid out here – if you want to make a difference – you CAN make a difference. In this day and age, with the technology and tools at our disposal – it’s easier than ever for one person to really make waves and make a difference. I am a HUGE advocate of Social Entrepreneurship and really plan to commit myself to that once I get my feet on the ground a bit.

    Thanks again for the post – very well articulated and I couldn’t agree more. Cheers my friend!

  • Vanessa Reply

    I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this. I really felt like you were speaking directly to me (not just because I am gen Y). As someone who is going to graduate with a Master’s degree in Management in 6 or so months, I have been thinking about what I want to do afterwards as a career (putting off this decision was half the reason I decided to get a Master’s anyways!). People keep asking me what I want to ‘do’, and I’ve started answering that with “It doesn’t really matter what I do, I just want to work for someone or some company that I believe in”. I want to feel good about my job without it necessarily being the most important part of my life. There are other things that I want to get out of my life that don’t revolve around money. Lately, I’ve been leaning even more towards the response, “If I can’t find a job I want, I’ll make a job I want”. I’ve never really felt like much of an entrepreneur… I just know I can’t settle for a job that I don’t identify with. It seems like people just rolls their eyes at me when I say that I want to help make the world a better place somehow, and I’m glad that somewhere out there, someone is thinking along the same lines as me (actually quite a few people by the looks of it) :)

    And sorry, I didn’t mean to just talk about myself here – you just really spoke to what has been bouncing around in my head lately! Thanks again!

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      I think you’re echoing a sentiment that lots of people are feeling these days. Just remember that you have to be the leader of your own life. Don’t rely on fate or circumstance to make you happy. Figure out what you want and go after it.

  • Vanessa Reply

    I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this. I really felt like you were speaking directly to me (not just because I am gen Y). As someone who is going to graduate with a Master’s degree in Management in 6 or so months, I have been thinking about what I want to do afterwards as a career (putting off this decision was half the reason I decided to get a Master’s anyways!). People keep asking me what I want to ‘do’, and I’ve started answering that with “It doesn’t really matter what I do, I just want to work for someone or some company that I believe in”. I want to feel good about my job without it necessarily being the most important part of my life. There are other things that I want to get out of my life that don’t revolve around money. Lately, I’ve been leaning even more towards the response, “If I can’t find a job I want, I’ll make a job I want”. I’ve never really felt like much of an entrepreneur… I just know I can’t settle for a job that I don’t identify with. It seems like people just rolls their eyes at me when I say that I want to help make the world a better place somehow, and I’m glad that somewhere out there, someone is thinking along the same lines as me (actually quite a few people by the looks of it) :)

    And sorry, I didn’t mean to just talk about myself here – you just really spoke to what has been bouncing around in my head lately! Thanks again!

    • Corbett Barr Reply

      I think you’re echoing a sentiment that lots of people are feeling these days. Just remember that you have to be the leader of your own life. Don’t rely on fate or circumstance to make you happy. Figure out what you want and go after it.

  • tom Reply

    its funny, one of the mantras for lifestyle design is do what makes you happy whatever that is. its seems here in this discussion, people are defining what people should do, what their values should be, and what lifestyle design “really is”. is it just me?

  • tom Reply

    its funny, one of the mantras for lifestyle design is do what makes you happy whatever that is. its seems here in this discussion, people are defining what people should do, what their values should be, and what lifestyle design “really is”. is it just me?

  • JONNY | thelifething.com Reply

    Great article but actually, and this comes from a 24 year old entrepreneur so i’m not making it to make myself feel better, but research shows that actually the best time to start making real money in business is after 40. People take you more seriously, you have more experience and more self belief? I don’t know the reasons why but statistically you are more likely to make money in business after the age of 40 then before. Of course thats not going to stop me trying, just sounds like a challenge. Millionaire by 30 here I come.

  • JONNY | thelifething.com Reply

    Great article but actually, and this comes from a 24 year old entrepreneur so i’m not making it to make myself feel better, but research shows that actually the best time to start making real money in business is after 40. People take you more seriously, you have more experience and more self belief? I don’t know the reasons why but statistically you are more likely to make money in business after the age of 40 then before. Of course thats not going to stop me trying, just sounds like a challenge. Millionaire by 30 here I come.

    • Javier Reply

      atta boy. when i was your age i had a vision and solid biz model, but no capital. so i tried selling it to a few inverstors. they all shot me down “you’re too young”, “where’s your biz experience”, etc, etc. bottom line i had to work another 10 years b4 i raised enough to get it going. now its thriving.

      remember you’ve got ideas and energy, and enough time to take risks. the old bastards may say “no” to you re: $$ , but NEVER let them take away your passion or belief in yourself. guard that with your life. and you will succeed.

  • George Reply

    Welll, I guess I’m an X’er. And my college class graduated just in time for the Great Recession of Geroge H. So, my empathy goes out to you Y’ers. And I don’t think i’m in a position to lecture anyone.

    I mean we’re all in survival mode, right? So, of course, Gen Y will take the best work they can find, in order to put food on their table. I don’t think they will have the luxury of being ‘avante-gaude’ or alternative. But the light at the end of the tunnel for the Y’s is that soon, the Bloated Boomers now sucking up all the oxygen, will be extinct from the work force–which is really good news for all of us. So cheer up. By the time that happens we X’rs will be the geezers and you Y guys will have it made. In other words, don’t take anything too seriously. Bide your time and enjoy life a little. :)

  • George Reply

    Welll, I guess I’m an X’er. And my college class graduated just in time for the Great Recession of Geroge H. So, my empathy goes out to you Y’ers. And I don’t think i’m in a position to lecture anyone.

    I mean we’re all in survival mode, right? So, of course, Gen Y will take the best work they can find, in order to put food on their table. I don’t think they will have the luxury of being ‘avante-gaude’ or alternative. But the light at the end of the tunnel for the Y’s is that soon, the Bloated Boomers now sucking up all the oxygen, will be extinct from the work force–which is really good news for all of us. So cheer up. By the time that happens we X’rs will be the geezers and you Y guys will have it made. In other words, don’t take anything too seriously. Bide your time and enjoy life a little. :)

  • Javier Reply

    atta boy. when i was your age i had a vision and solid biz model, but no capital. so i tried selling it to a few inverstors. they all shot me down “you’re too young”, “where’s your biz experience”, etc, etc. bottom line i had to work another 10 years b4 i raised enough to get it going. now its thriving.

    remember you’ve got ideas and energy, and enough time to take risks. the old bastards may say “no” to you re: $$ , but NEVER let them take away your passion or belief in yourself. guard that with your life. and you will succeed.

  • Matt Cheuvront Reply

    Hear! Hear! The only one you need to listen to, at the end of the day, is yourself. There's going to be plenty of naysayers – it's critical that you know when to tune out the negative “noise” and focus on what YOU want and what YOU are going to do…Thanks for the comment!

  • Matt Cheuvront Reply

    Wise advice – I think we all inherently worry the hell out of everything all the time. As you said, things are going to improve, we're going to “make it” to wherever we want to be in life with hard work. Sure we'll stumble and fall plenty of times, but we'll get what we want if we keep picking ourself up and trying that much harder the next go around. That, and yes, we all could stand to ENJOY life a little more often. That is, after the all, the whole point of living…

  • Matt Cheuvront Reply

    Nope, you nailed it on the head. In (many) cases – this is the impression I'm getting – Not that you should do what YOU want and follow YOUR passions, but that you should follow in the path of other “Location Independents” out there who are traveling the world and living out of a suitcase. I'm sure it's great and all, but it's not for everyone – and that's the mantra many have to break – that by living a more traditional life, you're not “settling” or selling yourself short. Thanks for the comment!

  • Matt Cheuvront Reply

    Haha – I hear you man. And yes – I think that it's all a part of life evolution – at this stage in the game, we're all hustling, we're all trying to MAKE SOMETHING of ourselves, we're all trying to get ahead, which is what it is, but is also what leads to so many Gen Y folk focusing on competing and hoarding information for themselves. Once you hit a certain point in your life (and this is why I tend to associate with people older than I am) – you've “made it” so to speak, or at least enough so that you can focus more on just doing what YOU do and being successful with that, rather than focusing on what the rest of the world is doing. We're all going to be successful in our own ways, there's no sense of becoming successful at the expense of others…but again, I think it's just a part of the transition we go through in our twenties.

  • Everett Reply

    As a successful business owner, my advice is to figure out what you peers are doing, then do the opposite. There are some tremendous opportunities out there right now, you just have to think outside the box. I'm in my mid 60's and a proud 'Boomer'. Whatever you decide to do will take hard work and sacrafice. Something my 28yr old son still does not seem to grasp. But that may be his mothers fault–my ex-wife. Too many young people today take prosperity for granted.

    Strategy is everything before you invest the first dollar. A few years ago I decided to expand to China when others were downsizing. Soon, profits doubled. And to boot I met my current wife, Mei Ling, a 31 yr old grad student. Now we are expanding operations again. In fact, I've hired a number of eager and hard working young people from her province. Needless to say, my strategic decision has worked well financially and personally.

    My last bit of advice is to live frugally within your means. It might take some time to pull out of the current economic climate. As Kennedy used to say, “Ask not why, but why not.” Well said,

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