It’s rare I accept a guest post from someone I don’t know, but when Brendon emailed me about Gen Y defaulting to “cheap fixes”, I was sold. I see a lot of a good coming from our generation, but I also see a lot of impatience, a lot of copy-paste emails and I lot of entitlement. Read below for Brendon’s three challenges on how to get the most bang for your buck. Without the shortcuts.
I have a problem. You have a problem. Our generation has a problem. Well, technically we have a lot of problems, but there are some that manifest themselves in every part of our lives and really go unnoticed.
We are generation of efficiency; a generation of numbers; a generation of beautifully multi-talented and socially conscious individuals looking to solve the world’s greatest problems. And that’s our problem. Not the caring or daring part, but the fact that because we are all dreaming and aiming big, we want solve everything as quickly and as cheaply as possible.
The Quick Fix: A Broken System
Is your resume not uploading as fast as you want? Meltdown. Then go find smartphone or computer number 2. Not getting noticed by those high-powered executives who should’ve already seen how great your online presence is? Try to get dozens of new twitter followers by the end of the day. This is the all-too-common line of thinking in Gen Y.
Now, don’t me wrong, I don’t yearn for the “old days” of hand-written notes and only working one less-than-fulfilling job for most of your life (well, that’s a lie, I love exchanging hand-written letters), but what can be said about our predecessors is that they understood one thing that we seem to have forgotten: the importance of quality.
They crafted elegant coffee tables that wouldn’t break under the crushing pressure of a single tin of Altoids. They wrote essays that actually required research in vast libraries with notecards, and notebooks and no Endnote.
The Qualities of Quality
We’ve gone from asking ‘how much?’ to ‘how many?’ and understanding this shift is important in understanding our own career and life potential. Instead of asking ourselves, “How much enjoyment am I getting out X activity?” we ask: “How many people are going to see me doing X activity and how can I network with them?”
And so we network with said group of people…and then feel at ease again…until a week or two pass or the next meet-up happens…and back to worrying about validation
Networking is of course an important part of success in any career. But I’m going to propose an idea that applies to networking and increasing life quality in general: a few challenges for the next couple of weeks.
Ready to hear them?
Challenging Your Norm
Challenge 1: Network less.
Try to connect with about half as many people as you normally do. Reach out to people you’ve already connected with whom you may not have spoken to in a while or who are important parts of your network. Ask them how their job is going (and be genuinely interested in the answer). Ask if there’s anything you can do for them (I was talking to Chris Guillebeau recently, and learned of his brilliant idea to challenge people to help someone for free for a week). Treat them to lunch – anything.
Focus on fostering quality interactions and nothing else.
Challenge 2: If you’re on the job hunt, apply to the 2-3 companies that you really want to work for. That’s it.
You all have read Marian’s amazing tale of landing her dream job (and if you haven’t, read it here) [Marian’s note: I totally didn’t ask him to write this]. We all have a dream; we all have an idel life we know would inspire us to get out of bed and smile at the world every day.
What inspires you? Do that.
Life is too short to settle for anything else. Do some research and do what it takes to make yourself stand out. Companies don’t care about who you are What they care about is if you’ll fully dedicate yourself to their cause by bringing your passion.
Challenge 3: Buy one quality item this week.
It doesn’t matter how much it costs, just make sure it’s well-made. And by well-made, I mean it’s going to last for at least 4-5 years. If it’s something well-made, chances are you’re going to be paying more for it. And if you’re going to be paying more for it, you’ll do more to take care of it. And if you’re doing more to take care of it, you’ll appreciate it more.
Built To Last
Careers are like furniture: the best ones are built to last. Instead of focusing on increasing your facetwitlink followers or shopping at Ikea for that new desk – spring for some quality. Our generation’s problem is not insurmountable. If we focus on bringing quality back into our lives, we can continually improve our success and well-being… and get back to solving the world’s problems.
Here’s to the bright days ahead,
Brenton Weyi is a writer, social entrepreneur, and speaker with an expertise in creating social movements through business and encouraging inspiration through writing. His company, Groupe Weyi, works with villagers in Central Africa to create lasting change through entrepreneurship and fair trade of resources. He also has a website for storytelling and career/life inspiration called Orastories.
Image source: dnfsouai