Tag Archives: twenties

The twenty-something “What now?” stage

As a young twenty-something I know plenty of other twenty-somethings. It’s a funny stage of life and yet I’m only 2 years in (going on 3;) …

We’re all searching. We’re searching for an answer to “what now?” Granted I have another year of school left, that question is still undoubtedly the single most rehashed thought in my brain.
I think that our generation is a little different from times past. We’re not willing to just settle.  For our grandparents, life was hard, childhood was most likely during rough times (i.e. depression, war). With this upbringing, a decent job with a steady paycheck sounded pretty good. And for the most part, our baby boomer parents got it better but still wanted the ‘good’ job with a steady ‘good’ paycheck. But most of today’s emerging working class want something even better.  Money and job security isn’t the big shtick anymore; studies have shown this time and again.  We’re greedy little suckers that want it all… the well paid, fulfilling job, the nice home, the family… essentially, the beautiful life.

So, what now?  I’ve had plenty of deep conversations with friends that have absolutely no effing idea what to do now. It’s not that these people are not capable of getting a job and it’s not like they have no options.  From my observations (and from being there myself, occasionally) we’re looking for inspiration. There’s a reason why the young adults heading back to their parent’s couch is becoming a trend. (In Italy they’re actually paying some kids to leave the nest)  We’re not willing to settle for the decent job with a steady pay check -we’re waiting on the career or the life that just clicks with what we care deeply about… and we’re just not there yet.

The problem is, waiting it out won’t accomplish anything. And if these people don’t do something… we will end up being the “generation that had it all and blew it”.

A boss once told me that he loved the fact that all these newbie graduates had so much aspiration to be the “big bosses” – but he  scoffed at the idea that our “making it” started with “I’m going to travel the world first and then somehow, I’ll make it big” attitude.  Essentially, his point was what these new grads are missing is the drive to actually put in the hard work that comes with future success. The time and effort that it takes (i.e. your twenties) should be spent climbing that ladder. I remember one specific quote “If you want to be Donald Trump, I’ll believe you – but not until I see you pour your heart, soul…and time into your dreams -otherwise; I can’t.

I agreed with him, there in his office. But, at the same time, I’m somewhat one of those people.  I wrote most of this post when I was sitting on a cruise boat taking me back to Helsinki from Tallinn. (It was one of those last minute decisions to see a new city before the school season starts). So…I agree with him, yet I too want to see the world and enjoy my young adventurous adulthood.  You see, I’m one of those greedy suckers who wants it all;)

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Facebook to LinkedIn OR LinkedIn to Facebook?

Oh god, my 5th post and I’m talking about Facebook….how original!

I’m 22, still young in a lot of ways, still naive, still growing up and still have a lot of learning to do.

Not that it’s a big step, but I took one step a couple weeks ago. I deleted all of my ‘inappropriate?’ pictures from Facebook.

I’ve been an avid Facebook user since about April of last year. At that time, I was living the life in the beautiful city of Lyon, France. That year, I traveled a lot, partied a lot and ate a lot of great cheese with wonderful Cotes de Rhones wines. As studies slowed (who am I kidding though… it was always slow!) I became addicted to Facebook. I connected with friends from elementary, high school, dance etc. It was amazing. I also posted and got tagged on some pretty awful “university-life” pictures. Although I knew that all of my friends could view my pictures, see my wall etc., I really didn’t care. “Meh, they’re all my friends!” (yeah…. all 497 of them. – definitely not, but they were all university aged people for the most part)

This year, as I got closer to the finish line of University, I realize I needed to step it up a little and “grow up”. I attended a lot of networking events through school and on my own. Connecting with people is one of my passions in life, so, it was an obvious next step for me to join the ranks of the professionals in the “mature” social network- LinkedIn. I’ve loved it. It has given me the chance to show the world my “professional” self and connect with people that I wouldn’t normally connect with. (Check it out here and add me if you’re on it too and feel like connecting.)

However…

The tables have turned. My LinkedIn contacts have added me to Facebook. Although I knew that it was coming, I can’t say I really enjoyed it. Mind you, I was the one who showed it off to my sister and her late-twenties friends….I didn’t realize that it would happen that my mom would now think about joining. (Although she wouldn’t- she’s so much more computer illiterate than even me!)

So point being: “my growing up” into the Linkedin world hasn’t really improved my situation. I’m still there, as my university-self (minus the many many ‘inappropriate’ pictures).

Even then, I have to say that I was contemplating getting rid of some of those pictures. Really, if you didn’t want to hire me because you saw that I liked beer, the question then becomes, do I want to work for you? Seriously. Someone once told me that they’re more afraid of hiring a student that had straight A’s than someone who had C’s and B’s. Why? Because they think that the person with the lower grades ‘lived a little’. So, for a good month or so, I held off.

So why did I do it?

I realized that I needed to grow up.

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I’m a Twentysomething…complaining about the education system. Big surprise.

This Thursday is my graduation day. I’ll be crossing the stage at Carleton University’s Field House. This entire year, I’ve been waiting for this moment of pure accomplishment. Four years (3 somewhat studious and one fabulous year in France), thousands spent on tuition, books and coffee and beer at Roosters/Olivers, and countless amazing memories to last a lifetime. Yep, I’ve crossed that finish line (crawling at the end…but finished nonetheless.)

Last year, while in France I came to be a huge fan of Jamie Cullum, partly because his lyrics hit home. Anyone living the ridiculous twenties can most likely find truisms in his Twentysomething song.

After years of expensive education
A car full of books and anticipation
I’m an expert on Shakespeare and that’s a hell of a lot
But the world don’t need scholars as much as I thought
Maybe I’ll go travelling for a year
Finding myself, or start a career…

Granted I’m no Shakespearean scholar as studying Hofstede’s cultural dimensions was more the International Business style – there’s a lot of truth in his words.

Although I’ve learned a lot over these past 4 years, now that I’m out, I’m focusing more on what I haven’t learned. I’ve been one of those classic “cookie cutter” kids my entire life. Good grades, got involved, the works. The funny thing is, now that I’m out, I’ve realized that a lot of successful people out there didn’t even take the education route. I’ve met quite a few extremely successful people over the past few months who barely graduated from high school.

This in turn has made me reflect on how I’ve spent the last 17 years of my life.

Here’s my beef with the education system.

  • Don’t cater to the lowest common denominator of intelligence
  • Don’t baby us
  • Don’t allow me to play the system

So what does this mean?

Don’t give me good grades in school when in reality, it would never be accepted in the work world. As for the babying, (guaranteed my classmates wouldn’t necessarily agree) but a lot of teachers change the rules to accommodate the whiners. Ex. “I don’t like my grades.” Answer: “Don’t worry, I’ll add a point five percent for question 5”. Ex. “How do they expect us to research that?” “This is impossible and the real world wouldn’t ask you to do this” Answer: Handing in a half-assed project deems great marks. And when I say “don’t let me play the system”, don’t allow me to get A’s without understanding the concepts. I was always great at writing tests. It was a classic case of cramming – in one ear and out the other (15 min after the test was over). I always found it strange that the kids that understood the concepts never really seemed to do well on the tests. In retrospect though, who was the winner? The person with great grades? Or the person who knows how to actually use those concepts?

I shouldn’t harp on myself too much, but they are questions worth reflecting on. Then again, maybe University did exactly what it was supposed to do: make me question everything…

So, cheers to being a twentysomething and a toast to those fellow classmates on Thursday. Let’s party.

 

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