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Alicia Blain

Millennial Stories


Over the last few months I’ve been interviewing Gen Yers all over the country who have been working in corporate jobs spanning 1 to 5 years.  The chats have been unbelievable & as always, I love how open Gen Yers are about  things. It didn’t surprise me to find a large majority of them  – over 80% – were frustrated & disillusioned with the corporate experience. 

That’s a big number but I think that anyone who has worked in corporate for any amount of time can relate to how they feel & isn’t surprised by it. Through the interviews I began to hear a theme being repeated by the Gen Yers.  There were about 5 things that kept coming up as the most surprising for them to find once they were on the “inside”.  They believed there was a big disconnect between the perception they had of the company as an outsider through websites, brochures,etc & the reality of working as an employee.

Many of them repeated the same thing:  I wish I had known what to expect before taking the job.  They admitted that the  tight job market would have probably forced to take the job anyway . However, knowing what to expect, the “shocking truth” so to speak, would have spared them from spending so much time & energy trying to understand why .  That wasted time could have been better spent focusing on advancing their career & other important priorities.

The interviews led me to write the first of a series of ebooks.  I have just finished it & officially sent to my editor yesterday (Who-hoo!).  It’s called “The Top 5 Lies Told to Gen Ys“.   More on the book in future posts but for now, I’d like to hear from Gen Yers out there who have been working for some time.

What did you wish you had known about corporate life before you took your first job?  What shocked you the most about corporate when you took your first job?  Thanks for sharing…

One of the things I enjoy most is highlighting stories of Gen Yers that are making an impact by doing things differently. In my January blog titled “How Gen Yers are Reinventing the Future” I was highlighting a speech given by Rachel Botsman at  TEDx Australia.  She gave a fascinating talk about collaborative consumption and you can read about it in  my January 24th blog.  A few days after I posted the blog, I received a comment from Jonah Halper letting me know about another talk from Nancy Lublin that I would probably find interesting.  As it turns out, I’m a big Nancy Lublin fan so I went to visit the site to see her talk.

When I got there I was more curious about the site itself than Nancy’s talk (it’ll be our secret..).  As it turns out the name of the site is “NextGen:Charity.com” and what a great concept they have.  The description on the site explains what they do better than I can so here is what it says, “NextGen:Charity is a conference on non-profit innovation aimed to help you run your organization more effectively and efficiently, and connect with donors and your community more powerfully”.  The Gen Y founders,  Jonah Halper (my blog commenter), a professional fund raiser and marketer and Ari Telman, an award winning comedian & founder of JCORPS, an international volunteer organization, joined forces & started NextGen:Charity.

Here’s the beauty of their idea.  They saw the power & following that the TED talks generated & wanted to bring that to the non-profit sector, which as I can attest, needs it desperately. Visit their site & see the sponsor lineup supporting them: Fast Company, AMEX, Pace University.  Not too shabby, huh?  Then there are the speakers:  Seth Godin, our friend Nancy Lublin, and many more top name experts in the non-profit world.

The NextGen:Charity conference event  takes place in NYC on November 17&18 but the founders have Meetups scheduled all across the country from now until the summer.   Cool idea and worth attending if you’re in one of the cities: DC,Boston, Miami, LA & Chicago.

For all  my non-profit friends & clients, check out the NextGen:Charity and block those dates.

NextGen:Charity is just another example of Gen Y’s creativity at work.  It also showcases their innate desire for collaboration and helping others/giving back.  So next time you think Gen Yers are lazy & unmotivated, think of Jonah & Ari & think again.

Oh and BTW, I did get to see Nancy Lublin’s video & it was very good — I knew it would be.  :-)