The Future of America Rests on YOU…

The “American Dream” means something different to everyone, especially to us Millennials.  Some even argue that the youngest members of today’s workforce are changing the future of the United States.  One of these people is Jenny Floren: founder of and author of “The Innovation Generation: The Gen Y Way & How New Thinking Can Reclaim the American Dream.”

I’m excited to feature a post written by Jenny Floren herself today!  We’d love to hear what you think about this topic. Let us know what you think in the comments section and I’ll send two of you a free copy of Jenny’s book!

These are tough times for women (and men!) on the hunt for a new career or their first job.   It seems everywhere you look there’s a closed door or ominous headline about yet another company slashing jobs.   And while I’m not the type of person to pretend the job market is all butterflies and sunny days, I am here to say that you can and you will find a job if you put your best foot forward and leverage your “Gen Y Way.”

For 15 years, I’ve helped the 130,000 employers who recruit through my company,, fill millions of jobs each year.  On the other hand, part of what we do is help prepare students and recent grads to take their bland resume and make it a story that exemplifies not just their GPA, but the skills and traits that employers are looking for and that transfer beyond classroom walls.  Most recently, I launched my first book, The Innovation Generation – The Gen Y Way & How New Thinking Can Reclaim the American Dream. What the book talks about and what I’d like to discuss in this post is that a good portion of America’s future success rests on Gen Y (that’s many of you!) and on how businesses choose to leverage Gen Y as an integral part of the workforce.

Traditionally, the entry-level workforce has been seen as a source of overhead. But today emerging talent brings powerful insight into technology and a new view on a more socially-conscious, global world.  In a high-stakes, fast-moving global economy, Gen Y is uniquely equipped with a perspective foreign to other generations who grew up without computers, Internet access, iPads and all that jazz.  But these things have been part of Gen Y’s world since day one, and they have developed knowledge, perspective, attitudes and aptitudes that can make a significant contribution to innovate and grow.  You know this, right?!

Too often, investment in up-and-coming talent is considered an optional “nice-to-have” that is prioritized below other investments; it’s seen as a tactical requirement to fill open jobs, or as altruism that helps students, or as a long-term investment for social or economic benefit that will pay off someday in the seemingly distant future.  This is old thinking.  And this old thinking no longer works.  Today America faces many challenges, and we all have many questions about how to get our country back on a path towards a better future—the Innovation Generation may have some of the answers.

Are you a Gen Y-er? Working in a business that currently employs or is looking to employ Gen Y in the New Year? Then listen up!   Below is a list that I reflect upon in my book that helps explain why Gen Y may just be one rope to help America climb out of economic despair:

G A Global worldview
E An Experiential & Experimental attitude
N An inherent desire to be Networked
Y WhY Not?, a respectful challenge to old thinking and assumptions
W Winning is a team sport, the game is about “we,” not “me”
A Action, and a palpable sense of urgency
Y Yes, We Can, a belief in what’s possible

As I look to 2011, I see Gen Y driving American innovation by spurring a new approach to problem solving.  What do you think?  What role will Gen Y play in relation to overall economic innovation?

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.