Generation Why

Gen Y: you are stuck in a rut. And we need to get out of it. Now.

Too many people are currently telling you how helpless you are as a generation. You deserve more credit than that.

We are growing up in a post-GFC age of struggles and battles. Each of us identifies most with a character from Girls. Maybe those circumstances are what's been handed to us from the world. But let's start demanding more from the world.

The SMH pessimistically reminds us that "millenials are pretty good at accepting our lowly prospects and tend not to have particularly high life expectations when it comes to the unattainable." Whose choice is that? Choose to expect more.

Gen Y, please don't make me tell you to seize the day again. I keep telling you that again and again. A darling friend modernised the phrase last night, "Just seize the darn day or else!" (that's the tame version).  

Sure, we have professional and personal lessons to learn. But so does every other generation. Ask your parents and grandparents if it is easy to be their age. Chances are they will say it is not a breezy walk in the park. I recently sarcastically said to my family, "My generation have it so tough." They cracked up laughing. Literally burst into laughter. Funny, that.

Maybe you are feeling disillusioned. That is normal. I feel the same way half the time. A little 'alter-ego Mel' tells me that I am not capable of what I want, I don't deserve what I want, nobody in the world would prefer me to do this or that. Then friends convince me to find a solution to it. I'm going to quote an old boss for a second and say: Focus on the solution, not the problem.

I'm about to sound really pushy and tough here. It's because I am as fed up with my own excuses as everyone else's. I'm telling myself these lessons, as much as I am telling you. This post needs to sing the same tune as the friend who recently told me, "If you give up, I will kick your behind."

Do you remember the episode of Grey's Anatomy, where Meredith doesn't want to get out of bed, and then she ends up holding a live bomb inside a body? Surely you remember the moment when Meredith tries to save her friends by putting herself at risk. The story ends with the song Breathe by Anna Nalick. Sure, everything was at risk from the moment she left the house that day. But she just did it anyway, because she likes what she does. One of my other regular mottos is, "What doesn't kill you makes for a good story."

What did we learn from that episode? Get out there and face the day head on. So what if a bomb might explode in your face? Chances are it won't happen anyway. Is that an excuse to stop helping people? Gen Y, stop giving up! Stop listening to those commentators who have lost faith in you. You're better than that. You know you are.

With that in mind, here's a quick guide to being Gen Y:

Problem: I want to do a particular hobby or career. However, I am: not qualified or not experienced enough.


Do part time evening study to get qualified in it. This sounds like an obvious answer. But I am startled by how many friends really want to know how to do something, but don't go and learn it. Some of my friends did evening courses in all sorts of things - from librarianship, to cooking or knitting. It doesn't matter if you start at community college, TAFE, or graduate school. My current course is in writing, because I like writing stuff like what I think (it just happens to be a Masters). The next skill on my bucket list could be a local cooking course, since I am able to even stuff up raisin toast. Figure out what you want to learn, and do it.

Volunteer in the thing you want practical experience in. I already hear you saying, "But I want to make money." Yes, but you can make money by doing anything. If you want to use a particular skill, that needs to be more important to you than making money. Figure out what you are passionate about, and then help those groups. I love charitable causes that help the community, so I publicise Rotaract causes. I love building confidence through public speaking, so I publicise Toastmasters events. Maybe you want to practice all those financial tricks you learned at uni. Go and become the treasurer of something. Anything. Just do it. If practical experience is your priority, do that first and think about making money later.

Problem: I don't have many friends with the same interests as mine. It's like I'm in an isolated bubble.


Hop onto a web site called It allows you to hang out in person with those who are into whatever you're into. Do you like: vegan food, walking, Android, board games, Parramatta, coding, meditation, or something else? These are just a few random interests I found on the home page of Meetup. Figure out what you like, and I guarantee you will find other people who like the same thing.

Problem: I want to create something, but don't have the resources for it.

Solution: Gen Y, return to this internet you love so much and you will see the solution. Visit sites like Crowd sourcing is used by everyone, from the American Heart Association, to real estate gurus. If you have seen a need for something, chances are other people need it too. Figure out what you want to offer the world, and then tell the world about it. It's that simple.

Gen Y, I apologise for my stern call to action. But I care about you. I want you to have what you want. Why does this matter so much to me? I used to be shy and quiet, hiding in the corner to avoid the action. I started to believe a silly individual recently, who told me what I can't do. Then a few friends yesterday reminded me of what I am capable of, and why they need me as a mate. Chances are there is a reader out there who needs to hear the same thing.

Stop listening to the commentators who lost faith in the success of Gen Y. Go and chase your goals! If you've got this far through my article, you have been reading for long enough. Step away from your computer, go out into the world, and do what you have always wanted to do. Now. 


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