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An Open Letter To My Generation…

Generation Y has been referred to as a "pampered, over-praised, and relentlessly self-confident generation," offered independence, control and endless options our entire lives. And as a Gen Y-er, I gotta agree!

My name is Mary Howard, and I’m a content writer here at Destiny Global. I’m 27 years old and today I have something to say to my generation. And the reality is, you’re probably not going to like it. You may get mad. You may deny it. You may not ever read these messages again.

And honestly, I’m okay with that. I don’t mind if you get mad. I don’t mind if you give me the finger and just walk away.

Because here’s the thing: that’s what my generation does. When we hear something we don’t like, when we don’t get our way, we get our panties in a wad and go back home to our parents’ basement, we just sit and complain about how unfair life is.

The Washington Post refers to Generation Y (which includes everyone born between the 1980 and 2000) as a “pampered, over-praised, and relentlessly self-confident generation” who has been offered independence, control, and endless options our entire lives. And, as part of Generation Y, I would have to agree with that.

Now, I know it sounds like I’m completely bashing this generation. I don’t know, maybe I am being a bit harsh. But to be honest, SOMEBODY has to. Somebody has to step up and say it.

And if you are not part of Generation Y, don’t think this does not apply to you! This affects you, no matter who you are or what generation you’re a part of. Because you are either working with this generation, you raised this generation, or you encounter this generation, in your life every day.

See, when we were kids, we got trophies just for showing up to games! But say we didn’t want to go to basketball practice one day, we didn’t go. And when it came time to sign up for baseball, we decided we wanted to do that instead, so we quit basketball and moved on to the next sport. It was the same for ballet, football, gymnastics, piano, Boy Scouts, etc.

We had closets full of clothes, but still had “nothing to wear.” We had shelves filled with toys, but were still bored. We had a refrigerator full of food, but still “nothing to eat.”

The TV was our favorite babysitter, and our parents were our best friends. We expected to go shopping for new school clothes each fall, and we always had to have the “latest-and-greatest” clothes or accessories or toys or gadgets. (And don’t think just because your family was “poor,” this doesn’t apply to you. I came from a family who always struggled financially, and it was exactly the same for me, too. Sure, it was usually Walmart, but it’s essentially the same principle across the board…)

So, I see my generation wanting to be rewarded for participation, regardless of their work, their commitment, or the value they bring to the table. And if we don’t like something, we simply quit. If someone tells us something we don’t want to hear, we go cry and whine to Mommy and Daddy.

But what happens when we grow up? What happens when we go out into the real world?

According to The Washington Post, Generation Y will make up 75% of the American workforce by 2025. So let’s fast forward for a minute. Imagine a workforce run by a generation of people who were raised in a custom-made, microwave society, received trophies just for showing up to the game and grew up with endless options for everything from their clothes to their food to their friends!

Let’s take a look at Gen Y’s expectations for their professional lives:

  • 91% of Generation Y workers expect to stay in a job for less than 3 years at a time (Forbes).
  • 40% feel they should be promoted every 2 years, regardless of achievements or work habits, and only 9% believe they should receive promotions based on their performance (Time magazine).
  • 92% feel their company is lucky to have them and 76% think their boss could learn a lot from them (USA Today).
  • 81% of Gen Y workers say they should be able to set their own hours, 70% say they need more “me time” on the job, and 90% believe they deserve to have their dream job (MTV survey).

Just look at the facts, my friend. We have kids who expect to get a promotion at work just for showing up! We have a generation of young people who think their jobs are going to be custom-made specifically for them and get to choose exactly what they do, how and when they do it – and if it’s not what they want, then they simply won’t do it!

But here’s the crazy part: According to The Washington Post, 50% of Gen Y-ers would rather be unemployed than stay in a job they hate. And more than half of Gen Y workers will not accept a job at a company that bans the use of social media at work (Forbes).

So, you tell me why such a staggering percentage of this generation is unemployed. Is it because there are no jobs out there for us? Or is it because we don’t want to settle for a job we don’t like?

Though, I suppose we can afford to be choosy about our jobs, considering our notorious dependence on our parents. After all, if we quit, we can always move back in with Mom and Dad. (Pew research says 40% of Generation Y will move back in with their parents at least once and The Washington Post reported 41% of Gen Y receives financial support from their parents after college.)

I know it sounds like I’m bashing my generation and all this might be hard to take in. But I haven’t told you something, yet… quite possibly the biggest redeeming quality of this generation.

USA Today reported 61% of Generation Y feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. And 79% say they want to work for a company that actually cares about contributing to society. Forbes summed it up by stating, “What Millennials want most is a career that actually matters.”

As part of Generation Y, I have to say, they pretty much nailed it with that statement. We’ve been told all our lives we can be anything we want to be. We can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone we want. We are told to chase our dreams, to discover who we are, to make a difference in the world.

So, by the time we get out of school and ready to enter the “real world,” we’re fireballs of pure potential, with endless opportunities awaiting us.

Sure, it’s great a deep desire to feel satisfied in their work drives this generation of young people. However, it seems we have taken “Follow your passion” as sound career advice. We we take all of that potential and then spend our time searching for our passion. Once we find it, we spend the rest of our time searching for a career inside of that passion, thinking that’s the only path to satisfaction.

Well I’m here to tell you, that just isn’t true. Satisfaction doesn’t come from a job. It doesn’t come from working within your preferred industry or from following your passion.

So STOP SEARCHING!!! Stop trying to figure out who you are and what you want! DO what’s in front of you. As Dani always says, prosper where you’re planted. Give 100% – give your best – work with excellence and diligence, regardless of what you’re doing. That’s where your satisfaction comes from!

You want to make a difference in the world? GREAT! But how are you making a difference where you are right now? What impact can you make in your job today? In your school? In your family? I promise you, if you can be trusted with what you have right now, you will be trusted with more.

Whether you believe it or not, you influence other people. You can make a difference in the world right now, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

My friend, THEY say you’re “pampered, over-praised, and relentlessly self-confident.” THEY say you’ve had it too easy. THEY say you’ve been coddled. THEY say you can’t make it in the real world without Mommy and Daddy.

But what do YOU say? This is YOUR chance to CHANGE what they say about you! This is your chance to rewrite the script! WE can change the statistics.

So, from one Gen Y-er to another: Go! Do something great. Be something great. Make a difference. Change the world, one person, one invention, one conversation, one discovery, one decision at a time. Be a force of nature. Be unstoppable. Do what God has placed inside of you to do.

Don’t be like the rest of our generation, who sits in Mom and Dad’s basement, eating their food, playing video games and delivering pizzas for the rest of your life. All that stuff they say about the “typical Gen Y-er”? Prove them wrong. Give them something new to say about our generation… about your generation… about YOU. And, I can’t wait to read your thoughts on this message today – so please speak up below!

Don’t forget to join us for The Dani Johnson Show today for more insights and inspiration. You can find the show on your TV and radio and please remember you can always stream today’s show right here on our website.

In great faith,

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