Wilder In Real Life: Saving Generation Y

by Lauren Wilder

This installment is influenced by some of the most fabulous young adults I know and their stress with being educated in bad job market.   Yes, I know it’s affecting everyone, but I’m not here to talk about everyone.  Our heads are filled with the American opportunity. Does this sound familiar? A 4-year degree will offer more jobs, better pay, and perhaps realize maximum potential (some of us any way). 

Right now the unemployed recent and soon-to-be graduates are feeling the heat.  In speaking to a college dorm director extra attention has been paid to cushion these circumstances.  That’s a given, college serves as a buffer for a student’s time there.  What happens after?

We become our own buffer.  I’ll explain this after I finish my sermon and “amens” are welcome.

As commencement season commences, I cringe at the thought of the thousands of graduates who have similar if not the same credentials as me competing for entry-level positions. 

It’s bad and I don’t have to give the numbers because chances are either you or someone you know has been looking for a job for almost a year or more.

Back to Generation Y, not only do we have to deal with the typical stresses of finding ourselves (it takes a lifetime) and the adjustment into the real world, someone decided to pile on a scavenger hunt for a job. 

One thing that I’m grateful for is that I know what I want to do because some of my fellow Gen Y’ers struggle with what they want to do.

According to Marcos Salaazar’s “The Turbulent Twenties,”  post college depression can occur at two distinct times, one right after graduation (drastic changes in life) and in mid-late twenties (achievement or lack of).

Also, Salaazar brings up a term “quarter life crisis and *soon they’ll have a pill to boost endorphins to help us “cope.”  Then we’ll all be hooked and renamed the “depressed generation” and I’m pretty sure that’s floating out there. 

We’re also known as a lazy generation, but come to find out we are quite resilient and intelligent.  It’s because of this I’m going to offer my cure to this rut that some incompetent Baby Boomers put us in.

Alright tangent’s over, now here’s the cure.  I’m not a doctor, but this plan for myself has helped tremendously.  Share this with a Gen Y’er.

  1. If you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do for the rest of your life…stop.  You’ve got all the time in the world.  If you’re employed work**see  A**  and if you’re not **see B.**
    •  While you’re in a somewhat safe zone you can discover things you like and put money towards it.   Start off with small things and build on it.
    • Revamp your resume, post a profile (update, update) on networking and job sites, and for goodness sake take a break from the job hunt for a few minutes.  Breathe and keep going.  Also, get out there and network my aunt said it best, “This is not the time to be shy.”
  2. Find an outlet.  No, don’t whine to your friends, family, or whoever else will listen (I’m guilty).  I have recently taken up yoga for the umpteenth time and I don’t think I can function without it.
  3. Make yourself happy.  Remember at the end of the day you make your own happiness.  If you’re wondering how to make yourself happy.  Spend some serious time alone, it’ll come to you.  Even if it’s small and almost ridiculous sounding to other people, it makes YOU happy.  If you feel like jumping in that rain puddle, do it.
  4. Make a plan for every day.   This can be a “To Do List.”   We are a very plan-oriented generation.  Take it one day at a time and you won’t be disappointed.
  5. Remember you’re not alone.

Readers, I’ve tried to figure out another career path before I graduated and I second guess this even now.  I could be in a bank crunching numbers, but then again that would mean no Wilder in Real Life.

*My own banter.

Lauren Wilder is an up-and-coming journalist who recently moved to Chicago from north Carolina. She shares her adventures with P3 readers every month.

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