Sunday, May 30, 2010

Generational Gap: Learning to learn from those around you

Each generation is defined with a stereotype given by the generation ahead. Generation Y, also known as the “Millennials,” is often thought to be generally lazy, self-absorbed and entitled. As many of us are approaching the awkward age between college freedom and career-oriented “adulthood,” we have to learn how to overcome this stigma and become accepted by those ahead of us. It’s a right of passage that every generation must go through; it’s a passing of the torch from the old to the new leaders. Before we can change the world, we have to prove that

In a recent blog post, Lauren Fernandez gave some tips to how up-and-coming professionals can tackle the negative stereotypes and highlight the more positive sides. She believes that age doesn’t have to be an indicator of what you can achieve. This is something I’ve always been a believer in. As mushy as it sounds, you really can accomplish anything if you have the drive. By sticking to your values, generational perspective, and consistently doing good work, your age and its associations will soon be a nonissue.

Fernandez makes one particular point that really speaks to me. Use the Internet as your classroom. Coursework cannot and will never be able to teach you everything you need in the job market. Period. Academia moves slowly and can’t always keep up with a subject, such as communications, that is moving so rapidly. It’s obvious to me as a classmate, and I assume employers in any industry, what students take it upon themselves to learn about the world, their industry and their interests on their own time.

So, as Fernandez suggests, take advantage of the many, many learning opportunities around you. Communicate with people online that you may never meet in person. Utilize social media for your own benefit. Put yourself out there not just as a promotional tool, but in a position to gain information and experience from those around you.

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