Thursday, January 10, 2008

Re-Define For Yourself Before Re-Defining For Others

It took some time but I am finally getting around to make a few comments on the insights from Penelope Trunk of Brazen Careerist, and David Brooks of the New York Times from my Define Who You Are For Yourself Before Defining For Others post.

Starting with Mr. Brooks and his article the The Odyssey Years, I have to point out that the hero of Homer's Odyssey is Odysseus aka Ulysses was an older family man who held a senior management position and ust finished a successful career in a foreign market where he was particularly noted for his mētis, or "cunning intelligence", especially in terms of market penetration. His detour back home was a result of bad market conditions and public relations issues with the firm of Mt. Olympus Inc. He is not Generation X or Y, Jones at best. Of course my perspective is slanted as I would be far more interested in the other new category Mr. Brooks raises active retirement.

As far as Ms. Trunk goes, I am in basic agreement with what she said and have been. What I found more interesting was a later post by her.

Baby boomers are being forced out, in a non-disruptive way

And this is the exact same way that generation Y is telling baby boomers to get out of their way at work. Gen Y plays by the rules, meets expectations, and in the same step, pulls the rug out from under the people with power. How? By refusing to pay dues, by customizing their own career paths instead of lusting after a promotion, and by job hopping when learning curves get flat.

When USA Today wrote “Gen Y has already made its mark” the story was about entrepreneurship - Gen Y is ambitious, driven, and success-oriented, and since hierarchical structures of corporate life allow for so little mobility, young people are turning to entrepreneurship and are starting businesses at a blistering rate not seen among young people earlier.

This is not exactly the Civil Rights movement or grunge music. But Gen Y doesn’t need to rebel because, as I wrote in Time magazine, young people are already in the driver’s seat at the workplace. They can work within the established lines of business to get what they want, but they get it faster than we expect.

All of what she writes above and to what it links to actually sounds pretty good to me. So is it possible to make it work for me. Her latest post as of this writing gives me some guideposts.

Do you think you’re a strategist? You’re probably wrong.

I am not going to say I am a strategist but I did take the test and came out INTJ. My B.A. was in psychology with an emphasis on research cognition and memory so that fits. That and the fact that I am getting into this Web 2.0 stuff also seems to fit.

I once chided Mr. Brooks in this weblog for being in the "I for one welcome our new alien masters" club. Maybe I need to ask where to sign up for membership.

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