The passion problem: Gary Wandschneider on understanding Generation Y

“Follow your passion”: the battle cry of Generation Y. Born to baby boomers, today’s fresh graduates have a unique perspective on life. No longer pressured to help the economy recover from war, they are gifted with a luxury previous generations could only aspire to: choices.

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To understand Generation Y, one must first understand the generation that birthed them. Baby boomers were singlehandedly responsible for the recovery of global expenditure. Motivated by slogans like “Work to live” and “Thank God it’s Monday,” the children of war-time survivors were conditioned to rebuild whole nations with their diligence. All futures were pre-determined. Any occupation that did not have a predictable career path was out of the question. Opportunities in the arts were reserved for the affluent and scoffed at by the hard-working, middle class majority. If a young in the ‘50s wanted to be a dancer, her parents threatened her with starvation and a husbandless life. Baby boomers pursued traditional careers obediently, but secretly harbored unfulfilled dreams.

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It comes as no surprise that baby boomer parents live vicariously through their children. Now Generation Y, today’s adults are overwhelmed with opportunity– hardly needing to earn their keep in the world. Without the pressure of restoring fallen cities, today’s 25- to 35-year-olds can focus on finding their purpose; guided by fantastical new anthems like “reach for the stars” and “follow your passion.” They avoid work in saturated industries, perceiving themselves too witty to conform to cookie-cutter careers. Those who do manage to land a job feel no commitment– unafraid to leave if the work does not fulfill them.

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Generation Y is unlike its predecessors, but their potential should not be dismissed. Like their parents, they have inherited an assortment of new issues to remedy– problems that have never occurred before. Perhaps solutions for such novel predicaments would best result from an equally unique generation.

Read more about Gary WandschneiderMySpace page.

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