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Gen Y + Passion = Success


IF YOU ARE GEN Y – THIS IS YOUR TIME!

It was Jack Keruoac who said, “I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!'”

And Jack Keruoac did change the world. He went against the norm, he hated status quo, and people thought he was too passionate about his beliefs. For those of you who don’t know, Jack Keruoac was an author and the father of the Beat Generation, which was a group of writers that started the movement and became what we all fondly know as “hippies”.

He was passionate. Was he mainstream? No. Could he walk into an office setting? No. But he was brilliant, he had no fear, and he believed in what he was doing; in fact, he was willing to give up his life for what he was doing. Passion.

While he was an author, you’re probably thinking, ‘of course it was okay for him to be passionate, he didn’t have to go into an office everyday’. Here is where I challenge that thought. I propose that the only people who truly succeed, are innovators, build businesses, rise to the top; are the ones who are passionate about what they do. This may mean something different to everyone, but I’m sure we can all think of someone we worked with who everyone looked at and said, “wow”. They leave high paying jobs to go to low paying jobs (or no paying jobs – start ups) because they believe in something. They get to work at 7 am and don’t leave until midnight at times. When you get into the office, you already have 3 emails from them from the middle of the night. In meetings, if there is an idea they don’t agree with – they will argue with you and tear you down with such conviction, you will run the other direction. You love to love them and you love to hate them. They may scare you because people who are passionate enough and crazy enough to change the world are the ones who actually do.

So, how does that play out in today’s “corporate” culture? Well, I would argue that even five years ago, many of these people were looked at as ‘impulsive’, ‘too emotional’, and not “a good fit” for an organization. In today’s world, is it still like this? With the rise and demand for creativity, innovation, the addition of being able to be contacted at all times (Blackberry and iphone), can one be successful if they are not passionate? I ask myself this question and I look at the companies and CEOs I have worked for or with; and it is clear. Success is driven by passion. I would argue that it is largely due to Gen Y that business people have started to embrace this passion. Perfect example of someone who is passionate, successful, happy, and who many would call “non corporate” – Gary Vaynerchuk.

There are also still many corporations that are more conservative and want to ensure that “passion is harnessed”. Great learning experience for me; I worked for 1 company that, in the interview, spoke of passion and winning and loving their work. In fact, the Chairman of this company sold me on the spot. I realized when I got to this company was that it was more important to be “corporate” and to “fit into the corporate culture” than be passionate. And I knew immediately this company was not for me. HINT: If you are a “Jack Keruoac” type, talk about this at an interview. Find out the feeling about this before you decide to go to a company!

But let’s look at the DOW; and let’s look at these conservative “baby boomer” corporations; it appears to me that they are losing. Their stocks are not only dropping now, but were dropping 5 years ago when everything else was booming. What types of companies have risen to the top? GEN Y companies like Facebook and Google. More Liberal minded companies like Apple. Steve Jobs has adapted and companies like PEPSI have the median age of their BOARD to be 27 years old. As quoted by their chairman, “To be a leader in consumer products, it’s critical to have leaders who represent the population we serve.”—Steve Reinemund/PepsiCo.

So, IF you are 1) GEN Y and 2) PASSIONATE

YOU HAVE A STEP UP ON ANYONE ELSE IN THE MARKET PLACE. IT IS YOUR TIME TO SHINE. THESE ARE YOUR 2 MOST VALUABLE ASSETS; COMPANIES ARE SEARCHING FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU (AND IF THEY’RE NOT – YOU DON’T WANT TO WORK THERE!)

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