What Gen Y Has Taught Me

I have always been a pessimist.  It is my form of protection.  So seven years ago, when I returned to Miami University in Oxford, OH, I was a bit nervous.  I didn’t think I had much in common with some 20-something, since I had already been in the real world.

The first year and a half at Miami was the worst.  The only time I left my apartment was to go to class.  I didn’t socialize with anyone.  If I was awake, I was either studying or in class.  The defining moment came when a classmate asked me what I had done to “screw up my life” to be in college at my age.  I was livid.  How dare this person question me!

My anger lasted nearly seven years.  Whenever I would have an exchange with a Gen Y-er, I immediately dismissed the person and didn’t even consider his or her point of view.  I thought they were all spoiled brats, like the person who asked me the question.  There was a point when I didn’t even want to talk to Gen Y.

What changed?  Following a fellow Miamian on Twitter.  Tyler Durbin’s website – GenYJourney.com – is a website for the Gen Y generation to discuss life & career advice with each other.  Mr. Durbin occasionally tweets links with job search advice.  I must say that was skeptical at first, but some of the articles do have some very valid points.

The more I read, the more I began to think that maybe all Gen Y-ers aren’t as clueless & spoiled as I had originally thought.  If a recent college graduate can write such insightful work that applies to other generations, then maybe they do have a clue.  (The piece on making the most of career fairs is particularly intuitive.)

Gen Y also taught me to relax and have fun.  After my classmate made that comment, I went out for a few drinks.  As I sat at the table by myself, I watched other students interacting with each other.  They appeared to be having so much fun.  ‘Why can’t I have fun like that?’ I thought.  Then it occurred to me that I needed to let my guard down & relax a bit.  I did so and spent four hours talking to someone I met that evening.

Other generations should follow my lead.  Give Gen Y a chance.  They just might surprise you.

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