Please welcome Zach Buckley, a freelance writer who is interested in exploring the intersection of culture, science and education. He lives in the Midwest and enjoys music, literature and good food. Zach has written for us before and we’re happy to have him join the SocialFish blogging team!
The latest wave of young professionals has collectively assumed a different cultural mindset that, oddly enough, has its roots in good business. Reports abound that the recent recession and stressed job market has been unkind to college students who expected their degrees to produce some form of payoff. In many cases, those students are now working in positions that fail to put their education and background to good use.
But there is a positive flip side to how the Millennial Generation has forayed into the workforce. Not content to follow the status quo and labor away in hopes of one day being rewarded with opportunity, this generation is more entrepreneurial than any of its predecessors. Many colleges have recognized this trend and have already implemented entrepreneurial and management program courses, many in the form of online classes, designed to further the skills of this generation, which is teeming with innovation.
And the evidence of this entrepreneurial skill set isn’t limited to just the business sector: artists, musicians and computer programmers have all found ways to carve out their own niche by starting their own business. Once a risky endeavor, the offerings of the Internet include resources and tools that allow small businesses to operate with low overhead costs and high exposure. The Millennial Generation has taken note, and taken advantage.
Going all-out for an entrepreneurial concept
Perhaps the best embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit of some Millennials can be found in a 19-year-old boy who secretly lived in AOL’s Silicon Valley headquarters for several months. After enjoying a summer internship through a program hosted in the building, the young man continued to live in the building rent-free, taking advantage of its exercise facilities, showers, laundry machines and free food. This secret lifestyle was maintained while he worked long hours during the days and evenings developing a startup business designed to improve teacher collaboration in schools.
Although the man’s attempt to cut down on living costs in order to fund his startup is an extreme example, he shares many traits with other entrepreneurs of his time—those tech-savvy individuals with a disinterest in school but a strong work ethic geared toward creating solutions through their own ingenuity. Many of these individuals are very conscious of costs and the value of their available resources, and they find creative ways to overcome these obstacles.
Where youth culture meets men-in-suits
In part, the reason young people are increasingly geared toward business and entrepreneurship can be attributed to the increased value of creativity. Today we see companies like Apple continue to reinvent practical technology in creative, even artistic ways. The rapid rise of Apple over the past 15 years is evidence that the creative class, no longer restricted to the counter cultural movement, has been absorbed by a business mindset ever since their skills were assigned a monetary value.
In other words, today’s young people understand that business and earning power doesn’t have to come at the expense of creativity and freedom. Because creative skill sets are in such high demand, young people are targeting approaches by which they can turn their innovative ideas into revenue streams. Doing so isn’t always easy, nor does it come without sacrifice. But with perseverance and a strong confidence in themselves, many Millennials are finding that they don’t have to wait in line to start pursuing their dreams.