My (liberal) opinion

How Gen Y can be happy – a response to the Huffington Post article “Why Gen Y Yuppies are Unhappy”

Meet Lucy.

Lucy and I are very similar. Except that I’m actually happy. You see, I figured out this happiness equation a while ago.  Though I struggled with similar issues, I have learned to let go, enjoy life, keep dreaming, and be happy.

I’m almost 30 and looking at my 20s – I realize that I fit the gen Y bill, and I too have felt that my reality does not live up to expectations. Where did I get such lofty expectations? Why did I feel this sense of entitlement? My parents, career lawyers worked hard and told me I could do anything. So I did exactly that – I tried anything and everything I could.  My grandfather, a  rags to riches success, worked for one company his entire life. He went from a clerk to CFO. In my first 3 years out of college, I worked for 5 companies. I flitted from one career path to the next career path – wherever my “dream” would take me.

At 23 I was a producer’s assistant. At 24 I was a publicist for 2 different people who paid nothing and taught nothing. Later, at 24 I was a guerrilla marketer for 2 different companies, until the economy took its toll, and then I moved on to nonprofit.

Looking back, if I had picked a path and then stayed on it, with a clear plan and the maturity to ask for guidance – I would be more advanced in my career. But of course, I was wildly ambitious or just wild and needed to follow every whim I had.

Destined for something better – our “passion”

We all say we’re destined for something better, but what is it? Will you even know once you get it? Or will you keep searching?

If you can pinpoint a job, even a person, that you want to be – create a path to get there. While working in the entertainment industry, our intern had 3 internships. Correct, he wasn’t getting paid. But he paid his dues. All he wanted to do was produce comic book movies, and so he worked his ass off doing what it took to follow his passion. He wrote a comic book with a friend, kept up with people he worked for previously, and took every possible opportunity. So now he sits on panels at comicon and is producing the movies he loves. I am actually happy for him when he facebooks pictures of himself with famous people. It’s not just a snap with them – he is actually having a meeting with them and bringing something to the table.

What do you bring to the table?

There’s a rumor amongst the younger generations that must be stopped: work a job for a year and you’ll be experienced enough to move up. If you spend your entire 20s working a job every year “gaining experience” 2 things will happen: a. you will be an expert in nothing (as you probably left your last job to explore a different area) and b. your resume will look ridiculous. Recently, I was not hired for a dream job, because they looked at my resume and said – “you won’t stay more than a year.” I tried to prove them wrong, but the evidence to the contrary was right there in black and white. There was no business case to hire me. Sure, I was smart and skilled in areas that they liked – but they were going to have to invest money and time into me and for what?

Entitlement

If you’re at the bottom – the only way is up. I left my job as an “assistant” in entertainment because I saw no growth.  Well – did I ask anybody else where I could grow? No – I was bored and felt entitled to a better position, a position I definitely did not deserve. But, the only place I could have gone in that company was up. I needed to get over myself and pay my dues in order to be rewarded.

Facebook is full of lies

When I was an “event publicist,” a.k.a. a babysitter to wannabe-actors I went out 3-4 times a week.  I went to fancy parties, clubs, met C-, even B-list celebrities, and got great swag (OBAMA underwear, anyone?)– it was fun. I was also working a part time day job that required me to be up at the crack of dawn to do guerilla marketing on college campuses. I got very little sleep between the two jobs. Additionally, my “clients” became my best friends. I saw them more than anybody else. I dated their friends and even went out with them off the clock  – it kept everything convenient. I couldn’t drink as I was usually designated driver and had to struggle to keep up – once, I fell asleep at an after hours party – in a mini skirt and heels. Sure on Facebook it was “at an afterhours party with Tila Tequila” (she was somebody once) but in reality – I was sleeping in a chair waiting for my client to close his “deal”. Eventually, I chose a career with growth and regular hours over partying with no steady income and no career path. My nonprofit gig may not have been as glamorous, but I had time to fall in love and sleep well.

Facebook has taught us to spin situations – great let’s all become publicists. Being sent to a conference for 2 days in NYC, in which you will barely leave the hotel and will be exhausted because you’re on Pacific time and at the conference from 7-7 with people you would rather not see turns into “OMG – just landed in NYC – I have a great view of Times Square, can’t wait to explore.” And by explore it, you mean the 30 minutes you spend wandering around trying to find dinner because you’re bored of the hotel food, but take an instagram of it and you’ll forget that you’re eating alone – again.

Happiness

My happiness comes from my amazing family, friends, and loving boyfriend. My job pays me very well and doesn’t expect me to work 24-7. I follow my passions on the side. I volunteer, attend lectures and parties in the city, and am active in the office green team. And at the end of the day, 10 years doesn’t define your life. I’m only 29, there’s a lot more living to do. I look at my life in a more realistic fashion, live in the moment, and realize that it’s really fantastic. So what makes you happy?

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