Gen Y: Embrace Your “Unemployment”

Last night, I was watching an episode of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery channel.

The show’s host, Mike Rowe, was doing what he does best (making sure life can go on in the case of a catastrophic event) and I started to realize how important “dirty jobs” really are.

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon brooding about my current job situation; I was working on projects that didn’t inspire me; I felt like my talents could be better used somewhere else; why wouldn’t anyone hire me… blah, blah, blah.

Watching Mike Rowe work reminded me that sometimes it’s not about the task at hand; it’s about what you learn from that task.

Generation Y has sometimes been called “Generation Jobless” – and the name makes sense to many of us. We are the jobless generation not only because so many of us are unemployed, but because we are also underemployed as bartenders and baristas with college degrees.

Gen Y is doing what we have to do to get by… and complaining the whole time.

We should learn to be more like Mike. He became inspired by hard work; he embraced it and learned everything he could from crazy, sometimes unwanted – and almost always uninspiring – experiences.

I know firsthand how difficult it is to appreciate a job you aren’t inspired by. But I think as long as we are going to be dubbed the jobless generation, we should embrace our in-between, “educated and unemployed”, status – and learn what we can from the experience. Yes, take experiences such as scheduling appointments, shoveling coffee grounds and cleaning dishes – and learn from them.

There are a lot of transferable and in-demand skills to be gained from completing what may seem like menial tasks: time management and the meaning of hard work are good examples among them.

Instead of not appreciating the opportunity to work, embrace your current situation. Even the menial entry-level jobs are chances to network. Impress your supervisor with whatever task they hand you, and ask for a recommendation when the time comes for you to move on to the next stage in your career.

Just ask Mike Rowe. And me.



* This article was originally posted at