generation gap

I’ve been reading a lot about Gen Y having issues with work because we were brought up to believe that we can do anything and the world is at our fingertips. These ideals, supposedly, make us far too idealistic about work.

I disagree. The world is at our fingertips and we can do anything. It’s our choice to work for it, though. The idea that all of that would be easy was false, yes, but the idea itself is totally true.

It is this generation that came up with Facebook and Twitter. We are starting successful businesses while still having personal time. We are learning that life and work can be balanced and we can have immense pride in both.

I remember graduating from high school. We had one of the most academically gifted classes ever, and I went to a pretty good high school.

Some of those gifted people are working at insurance companies or elected to be a stay-at-home parent. Nothing wrong with that.

Others are being kick ass. They are changing the world. The sky is the limit and we chose to reach for it.

Let’s remember that.

once, i was a nerd

I’ll keep it private for now, but the job search and such has led me to a lot more thinking about who I am and what i want to do.

Strangely, since this is the second time around, there are more epiphanies. You’d think I’d had enough of them last year, but I guess not.

As I visit different offices across town and meet new people at events, I’m starting to realize where I want to be and what I’ve learned about what makes me happy.

(This all sounds very narcissistic, but this is my personal blog and having one of these is pretty self-centered to begin with, no?)

When I was growing up, I loved science. Still do, in fact. I read Ebola and the Andromeda Strain and Outbreak. I loved tiny things that could kill. I also loved big things far away. I was an environmentalist from age 6, when I used to pick up trash from the creek behind my house. My mother was not pleased with my muddy self.

I loved writing and kept journals and journals full of poetry and thoughts. I blogged when OpenDiary was still in existence and before anyone even used the term blogging. Anyone remember that?

My life has been an open book for years. It only makes sense that i do what I do. If I had actually understood organic chemistry, I’d probably be writing about patients and lab results right now.

However, I’m not. I’m here and I’m very happy where I ended up.

I’m still a nerd. I still love technology. I still get tech toys as soon as I can and I’ll always be an early adopter. My love of science has morphed itself into a love of reading fantasy and sci-fi, but that can always change. I do have a friend going back to school for medicine.

I love what I do. I love my job, even though I haven’t found the right place for me yet. I had a emotional moment the other night, wondering if I had done something wrong. I’ve been laid off twice. Was it my fault at all? The Boy kindly reminded me I worked for companies that didn’t understand the Web, social media and blogging like I do. They didn’t want to continue spending money on it, when in reality, they should have been pouring more money into it.

I like saying that I want to be on the cutting edge. if you ever interview me or read any of my professional statements, cutting edge is usually something I allude to. It’s not me being false. It’s true. I enjoy learning, I’m an autodidact. Everything I do right now, I’ve learned myself with little aid from classrooms and homework assignments.

God, I want to change the world. I really do. My senior year of college, I got obsessed with leaving a legacy. I worked long and hard on two ideas for the student newspaper that didn’t end up being used. However, It was the things I did out of love, like my column and my solar car series, that ended up leaving a legacy. I won a national award for the solar car series.

How nerdy is that? I wrote a series about some geeks who drove around the country in a solar car. They didn’t even win. They didn’t even come close to winning. But they were people, with stories. I told those stories. I loved telling those stories and putting the project together.

Stuff like that, that’s what makes me happy. Doing something awesome that was fun. I can do it again. I just need to find somewhere that will let me do it.

5 things you can do to help me (and other laid off folks)

There are plenty of lists out there about this, but I swear mine is original. I’ve been laid off twice and am an expert in this by now.

Buy me lunch, dinner, a drink…

This sounds silly, but when you’re laid off, a large amount of your time is spent wallowing on your couch, thinking about being laid off. This is also probably done in pajamas.

I am uplifted every single time I get an offer from a friend for something as simple as Red Baron and stale chocolate at their house.

It means a lot to get dressed, get out of the house and laugh a little. It’s good to forget for a couple of hours, and pretend that it’s any other day or night. I would probably be pretty depressed if not for my friends.

Listen, and tell me when I’m being stupid (nicely)

Advice is something I get plenty of and while I appreciate it, what I really need is someone to listen to me whine. My dream conversation goes like this

Me: whine whine whine no job whine whine no money whine
You: Man, that really sucks. What do you think you’re going to do?
Me: whine whine bad idea whine whine
You: That’s a good idea….in theory. But I had a friend that tried this instead…

Let me wallow a little. Then tell me what’s a better idea without making me feel worse about my pathetic self.

Give me your contacts. Send me jobs of any kind

Send me every single lead on a job you have. Even if it’s a rumor you heard on the bus.

I send out about 10 applications a day and right now, it’s the only thing that makes me feel somewhat accomplished. It gets boring sending out nameless applications, so helping me out by attending a lame networking event with me or sending me your cousins neighbor’s e-mail (no promises they have a job) helps wonders.

Help me further my skills

One of my good friends is my savior. Between him and the boy, they have saved my blog from turmoil more times than I can count.

Not only that, but they push me to learn more tech skills. Java, jquery, whatever. they send me tutorials on how to set up stuff and walk me through it when I have no idea what I’m doing.

I will never say it out loud, but it’s really helpful.

Got a good deal? Tell me.

I’m trying to reduce my costs as much as I can, so any tips about how to get my cable bill reduced or whatever helps. Ways to get cheap books, movies, etc.

Need to get something? Buy it with referral credits and help me get some money. Know someone that needs a TV? I’m selling mine.

Any other tips? Let me know in the comments.

goals

I was e-mailing with a great business owner the other day and he asked me what my short and long term goals are.

It’ll be good to have these down of (psuedo) paper, so here is an edited version.

1) I’d love to get into blogging more and sharpen my writing. One of my goals is to take my existing blog to the next level or get in with a blog and get big enough that I can call myself a problogger. Being able to write every day is the goal here.

2) I love web production — the act of making sites and content better is invigorating. I Iike being part of the process of improving a site and how it works for its users. There’s so few producers/editors, I think there’s a real shot of success for me in the next 5ish years.

3) In like 10 years, I’d be the editorial director of a site, so I can be involved in both the writing and production. I used to think that it would have to be a journalism-oriented site, but anymore it doesn’t seem to matter. E-commerce, blog, news, it’s all where I want to be.

4) I really want to be part of something that becomes bigger and important. It’s one of the reasons I loved journalism — I felt like I was doing something I could be proud of at the end of the day. I’ve realized something doesn’t have to be blatantly making a difference, but it has to be doing awesome things I personally believe in.

I want to be part of a company, an idea, that cares about the future and wants help their employees succeed. I’ve worked for too many places that only see their employees as just workers, as opposed to people with dreams and goals.

remaining positive

I’ve hard a hard time of it in the past couple of days.

I know Gannett laid off another 1,400 employees, another 1,400 wonderful, well-qualified people out there looking at the same jobs I’m looking at.

I understand I’m good at what I do and I love what I do. I make stories better. I help Web sites relate better to their reader or customers or whoever.

The hard part is keeping that in mind against the thought that there is little money in the bank, I haven’t heard back from places I’ve applied and it seems there are just an endless number of doors closing on me.

I know, because I’ve been here before, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I will end up somewhere better. I will find a company that is financially and culturally stable. They will support me. I will find mentors again. I will grow and learn and I will be better.

The grueling task of my day is to look down that tunnel. It’s the grueling task for everyone who is unemployed right now. Looking down a very long, dark and despairing tunnel.

I am reading a book, The Art of Power, and in it there is a description of the art of letting go. It’s something I’ve had troubles with my whole life. Not grudges, but letting things that have past be. I rarely remain angry at people, but I tend to remain bitter at events. I work at it. I am working, hard, to let go and forget the darkness of where I am, but the light at the end.