Lately I've been thinking about how much the workplace norms are changing and how, like a lot of things, it's so different from what I expected when I graduated college. Back then, career counselors gave strict guidelines on how to write a resume and cover letter, what to wear in an interview, how to network your way into your dream job, etc. What's funny is that that stuff is already dated, as our generation heads out into the world and learns that authenticity is more important anyway, and originality is rewarded. I was asking my new roommate yesterday about how he landed his shiny job with a New York-based magazine several years ago, and he said that they told him in his interview that the thing that stood out on his resume was because he had 'cattle rancher' on his resume. Not joking.
The major shift is being propelled by a generation of kids who were raised to believe we're the salt of the earth, that we deserve only the best, and who had parents who supported our dreams and individuality 100%. A lot of backlash falls on millennials for this very thing, for appearing entitled to our dream lives, and while I understand that the entitled piece is justifiably obnoxious, I also think that the world always finds a way to balance things out anyway. A lot of us left college expecting to find that flashy job waiting for us like our parents said it would, and were slapped in the face when we graduated into a recession. The difference between us and our parents' generation is that we still feel entitled to live that life, and once it sinks in that it's going to take some work to get there, we're still willing to find a way to get it.
We belong to the information generation, so we're constantly being fed images of what other peoples' work lives look like and stacking that against what we think it is we want. I think the key to work happiness is being honest with yourself about what will really make you feel successful, and not what other people are instagramming about. When I was in San Francisco, someone was telling me about how the new thing to brag about in the tech-heavy city is cool job perks, like who has the job with unlimited free snacks, or a ping-pong table in the break room, or bring-your-dog-to-work-day. Those things are all fun, but we're also a generation who cares a lot about finding purpose in our work, or working for a company with a bottom line that goes beyond making the most money [if you haven't read Let My People Go Surfing yet, do it], so it's important not to let those things be distractions from the bigger picture. We're breaking the norms, but you can have all the free lunches in the world and it won't mean anything if you aren't living out your purpose.
My current purpose is puppy-sitting for a friend of a friend who's working offsite for the month, so I've been spending most of my days walking Omé around LA, playing in the park and feeding her so she'll be a healthy teenage pitbull when her owner gets home. Not a bad gig.