Don't raise your hand

Several years ago, I started a job. It was my first "career" job, one that was not only a way of making money while in school but was in my field of study and could help me start my climb up the ladder.

When my 3-month probation was up, I had a meeting with my boss to confirm my permanent hire. In that meeting, he told me that if I kept my mouth shut, didn't raise my hand too much and just waited my turn, in about 10 years, I could make it to the senior manager's position. Needless to say, I didn't take to his advice very well. Less than 3 months later, I had quit that job and moved on to a company that wanted my input, invested in my development and gave me a challenge.

Since then, I've found myself in that same situation several times, although my bosses have never quite been as honest as that first one. Still, the point is the same: Generation Y (of which I am a proud member) is not fueled only by money. Something else drives us: we want to be heard, we want to matter, we want to live now.

Our parents have worked their entire lives to make money, buy a house, provide for their family and end up in a better place by the time they retired. They have given away their blood and sweat to 1, maybe 2 companies in their entire careers. They have been devoted, reliable and conscientious employees. Yet many of them, after 20-30 years of loyal service, have been shown the door with no more than a trite "Have a good life".

Well, Generation Y is no fool. We don't intend this see this lifeplan repeat itself. More than ever, we take risks, we move from one job to the next, we demand flexibility. The world is our oyster and we do not want anybody else controlling our lives.

Taking the reins is a scary thing to do. Even for someone who has made the successful move to self-employment. Because you have no one to blame if it goes haywire. Only you. Yet, the prospect of wasting our life away for the benefit of someone else is even scarier. So we jump...

The truth is that with risk comes rewards. And for those who have tasted the rewards, there is no coming back. Life becomes too good to even think about turning around.

Think of us as skydivers. Once you jump off that plane and experience the adrenaline rush, you cannot ever forget that feeling. You might worry for a second that your chute won't open, that you'll hit the ground. But your chute does open. And when it does, and you slowly float all the way to the ground, you are hooked. You now know what it feels like. You now understand...

And you get right back on the plane.

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