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Home > Blog > Generation Why
Out of Our Minds
Monday, October 17, 2005 6:54 PM
Generation Why
Evelyn Rodriguez on Passionate Work

Business blogger Rob May shares he got his 'coolest' email after 2 years and 7 months of blogging from an MBA student: 'I am currently a first year MBA student at (removed), and I think I am getting more from your site than I am from my MBA.'

Twenty-something Adam Kazwell asks in comment to (worthwhile read!) Hugh MacLeod's The Global Microbrand Rant: 'Question is, which comes first - the brand or the courage to step off the ladder?' Adam's chronicling his discoveries at My Career, Sans Ladder.

One of the wisest responses in a long time to a post I wrote came from Irina, a college senior. She writes:

I was asking myself:

* Why am I here?
* What's my purpose in life?
* What is the right path to follow?
* What do I need to do to find my goal?
* What, if anything, is stopping me? What are the obstacles?, etc.

In other words, I was working with everything I was missing instead of with what I had. Talking about wasting my time!

I looked back on my life and tried to figure out what I had.

I recalled my mother's friend, a wonderful, creative woman, whose artwork I once tried to analyze. There was something in her artwork that reminded me of the painting that is now hanging in my wall (see my entry 'Stairway to My Mind'). The tone was that of wistful longing for something that only she (or I, as in the case of the painting) could see, and which was just out of reach. I couldn't figure out what it was that I was seeking, and I decided to try to find the answer through experience, the way Siddhartha tried to in Hesse's novel.

I looked back on my life and tried to figure out what I had.


Worthwhile work isn't just for disgruntled corporate refugees, eh?


6 comments

adam - 10/28/2005 1:55:28 AM
I always disliked the 'Generation Y' moniker given to us twenty-somethings...but 'Generation Why' fits sooo much better :)
addlinkat - 10/20/2005 2:46:59 AM
very fine
Evelyn Rodriguez - 10/19/2005 5:47:00 PM
Sure, some companies are like that too. But you might want to check out smaller to mid-sized private firms in a competitive and dynamic market/industry - they don't have the luxury of allowing incompetence. You might also want to make sure that what you do for the company is also their core competency; in general, for instance, a software firm will be a better place for a software engineer than an IT department within a paper mill, say. General suggestions, of course, as I don't know your particulars, but I also like Steve Job's advice:

'Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma � which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.' - Steve Jobs

Ilene - 10/19/2005 1:11:14 PM
I heard Barbara Ehrenreich speak last night about 'Bait and Switch,' her new book, and, among other things, the culture of incompetence at most companies. She and other job-seekers were often told, 'We're not looking for someone smart' or 'We're not looking for someone with experience.' This is certainly true at my company. We have a big project going out today and the art department is sitting around making 'yip-yip' noises and throwing paper wads. Meanwhile, people like myself whose ideas have saved the company money -- not only can I not get a raise, but anyone who points out things that should be changed, like the art department doing their work for a change, runs the risk of being fired. I've seen it happen. Also, I don't get rewareded for going above and beyond, and people who break the rules aren't punished, so why should I follow the rules? Why shouldn't I be like everyone else -- do the absolute minimum to get by and take no responsibility for my actions? This is the behavior that gets rewarded, so processes will never improve or become more efficient. Are other companies like this, too?
Anonymous - 10/19/2005 1:10:05 PM
I heard Barbara Ehrenreich speak last night about 'Bait and Switch,' her new book, and, among other things, the culture of incompetence at most companies. She and other job-seekers were often told, 'We're not looking for someone smart' or 'We're not looking for someone with experience.' This is certainly true at my company. We have a big project going out today and the art department is sitting around making 'yip-yip' noises and throwing paper wads. Meanwhile, people like myself whose ideas have saved the company money -- not only can I not get a raise, but anyone who points out things that should be changed, like the art department doing their work for a change, runs the risk of being fired. I've seen it happen. Also, I don't get rewareded for going above and beyond, and people who break the rules aren't punished, so why should I follow the rules? Why shouldn't I be like everyone else -- do the absolute minimum to get by and take no responsibility for my actions? This is the behavior that gets rewarded, so processes will never improve or become more efficient. Are other companies like this, too?
Ilene - 10/19/2005 1:09:37 PM
I heard Barbara Ehrenreich speak last night about 'Bait and Switch,' her new book, and, among other things, the culture of incompetence at most companies. She and other job-seekers were often told, 'We're not looking for someone smart' or 'We're not looking for someone with experience.' This is certainly true at my company. We have a big project going out today and the art department is sitting around making 'yip-yip' noises and throwing paper wads. Meanwhile, people like myself whose ideas have saved the company money -- not only can I not get a raise, but anyone who points out things that should be changed, like the art department doing their work for a change, runs the risk of being fired. I've seen it happen. Also, I don't get rewareded for going above and beyond, and people who break the rules aren't punished, so why should I follow the rules? Why shouldn't I be like everyone else -- do the absolute minimum to get by and take no responsibility for my actions? This is the behavior that gets rewarded, so processes will never improve or become more efficient. Are other companies like this, too?

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