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Wake up to the workforce reality, Gen Y

Ed Livesey


Sydney Morning Herald – July 10, 2013

Georgia Leaker

Georgia Leaker wrote of her experience being one of the nearly one in five under-25s unemployed in Australia. Now, a fellow 24-year-old job hunter responds.

The interns and Gen Ys of the world are calling their banners.

We have finished university, have experience through internships and applied for copious jobs but don’t have one … Welcome to the real world. We, Ys, as a generation, are so used to getting what we want when we want that anything less is perceived as a personal insult.

The simple truth is that Gen Y wants a chocolate for every task. We are soft, having been spoon-fed and are unwilling to fight for what we want. Where has the ethic of hard work gone?

In my quest to move overseas to start my professional career, I work in a bar full time as I gain more skills interning. Some of my co-workers are foreigners, here to study. They do 60+ hour weeks and study full-time. They don’t even consider not working, not because they chose to, but because they have to. They are not the only ones in that position. For most of the world work is work – a necessity. The need for work being a meaningful extension of oneself is a privileged one. A career is a First World opportunity, not a birthright.

I say my fellow Gen Y are not willing to go the extra mile.

As an example, the MD of a marketing agency recently suggested it doesn’t matter how glittering your résumé, you have to go the extra mile. In a position he recently advertised on Seek.com for a developer, he said that of the 100+ résumés the ad received, only one candidate showed up to the office asking to speak to him in person, one candidate.

The receptionist informed the candidate that the firm was rushing to get a brief finished but the managing director would happily see them after.

“No problems, I’ll wait,” was the candidate’s response. Forty-five minutes later, he sat down with the boss.

He got the job.

I have just finished my media and communications degree with a semester on exchange at one of America’s most prestigious universities. I’ve undertaken internships both here and in the States in event management, PR, social media, digital media and my current internship in publishing. I have been the president of a campus-based society, have exceptional customer services skills and a pretty good grasp of the English language but I don’t expect anything.

I’m no different from my class members, most of whom have jobs at top companies across a number of fields in the media industry.

We as a generation have become too comfortable with sitting back and waiting for things to happen. I’m guilty of it. I had a day off the other day and the most productive thing I achieved was paying my overdue phone bill.

A glistening résumé doesn’t mean anything; you need to be hungry. “Words are wind,” says George R.R. Martin. Get off your behinds and start physically – and I mean physically – knocking on doors.

Challenge employers; make yourself invaluable to them. Look at your résumé; look at your interview approach. If something isn’t working, look to take a different approach.

This isn’t the law or accountant industry, regurgitating information and going through the motions in applications and interviews isn’t going to get you anywhere. We are a creative industry for a reason: be creative.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/wake-up-to-the-workforce-reality-gen-y-20130710-2ppbd.html

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