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Bridget Nielsen

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Career Lessons From 'Generation Y'

Posted: 09/24/10 08:00 AM ET

These days, advertisers have enormous difficulty marketing to generation Y because this new generation is so independently minded. "Y" knows who they are and what they want, or rather, they know what they don't want. On the job front, they know they don't want to work a 9-5 like their parents or live a boring, cushy life, but they aren't certain of what they would actually like to do.

In our current American economy where people are losing their nine-to-five jobs and stepping out into the unknown world of passion seeking, everyone has a unique opportunity. You may, at any point, begin to choose your life and how you earn your bacon. It is time we all start turning the wheels of imagination and step forward out of the mundane and into the inspiring life we can dream up for our futures.

We live in a world that is unlike any other time in our past. Jobs are (literally) being created every day that didn't exist 10 years, 10 months or even 10 weeks ago. Draw outside of the lines a bit and open yourself up to creatively thinking of your life. Refuse to be satisfied with an unexciting, uneventful journey.

Follow these steps and begin finding your passion in the job world:

1. Forget Expectations
Strip away the cultural mold we often hold ourselves in and mold for yourself a life of adventure. Even take away the mold of what an adventurous life may look like to you because your adventure will look very different next to someone else's. Everyone has different passions and talents. Throw away what you presume others will expect of you and identify your own strengths.

2. Explore!
Freedom is yours. Perhaps in school or with your parents you never had to make any big decisions for yourself or the path was seemingly already paved for you. For now, you have the freedom to decide how you'll be spending your time. In Sean Aiken's "One Week Job," people spend a week trying different jobs on like pairs of pants, figuring out which ones they like and which ones they hate. While this exact experience is unavailable to most, I admire the message behind it. I'm not an advocate for job-hopping, but you have to work in a specific industry to see how it fits. There is certainly value in maintaining longevity with an employer, but you must allow yourself the freedom to explore in whatever career or vocation you feel is calling your name.

3. Pursue your passions!
Most people believe they cannot pursue their passions because they're stuck at work. A lot of people feel unsatisfied with their job, purposeless in the office, watching the clock 'til it reaches 5 p.m. every day. It seems there is never enough time to do what you want when you're at work all day and instead of pursuing passions in the free time after work, most people shut down, flopping on the couch for hours of television. And it's true -- no one will be able to pursue their passions while they are numb to the world and disconnected.

A friend of mine named Cari loves photography, but is working at an office job like many people in America. She became my most impressive example of finding extra fulfillment and creative expression outside of work when she began reading photography blogs, shooting Polaroid photos with her new camera, and taking classes whenever she wasn't working. This enabled her to be more joyful inside her work, truly glowing with confidence in her life because of her fulfilling play. Understand that you have the freedom to incorporate your passion after hours to become skilled at what you really love!

Yet, many of you wonder if you even remember what you love to do. So many of us forget what makes us tick, what gives us fulfillment outside of our paychecks. Until you understand what satisfies your excitement -- and go after it -- you won't experience any form of long-term satisfaction in your purpose. Get excited about what you love and recognize that you were created for a purpose within that passion.

 
 
 

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