I often sit and question my nomadic lifestyle, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. I was left disillusioned after one year in the corporate world and knew I had to find a different road, one that would lead to location independency and allow me to travel and see the world. Whether it was work for 6 months and travel for 6 months (like many of my traveling friends), find a job abroad, or as I’ve been lucky enough to do, build a small business that I can take with me as I travel. But if you don’t always enjoy your work (which I’m guessing is nearly everyone because not everyday is perfect) it’s natural to consider other options, perhaps I should return to university and study Marine Science and Conservation, or maybe I should go to London like most of my peers and get a high-paying job with good rewards, will that give me more satisfaction? But hang on, I want to help the world, not make money for money’s sake. Maybe I should just shhh, and carry on with what I’m doing, after all life aint that bad!
I decided to write this post after speaking with my childhood friend the other day. She started a new job as an assistant manager of a brand new restaurant in the centre of one of England’s biggest and trendy cities. The restaurant is owned by a very famous celebrity chef and is set for big things, so I was excited to find out how it was going. To my surprise, she hates it! 70 hour weeks, lots of pressure and all for less money than her previous job as a waitress where the tips were generous. To add to this surprise, her husband, a self-employed tennis coach with a long list of clients and a place at one of the most prestigious tennis clubs recently had a breakdown, and it was all because he doesn’t know what to do with his life! Thank god it’s not just me then!
So I started thinking, why are we like this? Is Generation Y destined to be unhappy, unfulfilled, and wield a disposition that the grass is always greener elsewhere?
(For those of you who haven’t come across the term Generation Y, my friend and fellow blogger Ryan explains it nicely on his blog dedicated to all things Generation Y. So here it is… Generation Y refers to the specific generation born between the 1980’s to the early 1990’s and was the term given to this Generation after proceeding Generation X. Generation Y have been raised within a time period where they have constant access to technology. Computers, mobile phones, the internet were all accessible and part of their youth. Read more HERE)
Technology changed everything! Not only has it helped us to discover what the world has to offer through text, high quality photos & videos, and soon virtual realities will take over and we’ll be exploring the depths of the Amazon jungle from the comfort of our living rooms. Technology and more specifically, the internet, has provided a means to make money, from freelancers to small business owners, and not forgetting the tech-giants that have generated some of the world’s richest people (Gates, Page & Brin, Jobs and Zuckerberg are/were all billionaires). And it won’t stop now, as more and more people rise up through the ranks of the tech industry, invent new products, or develop new software. We’re all waiting for the next average joe to change the world with a microchip (or similar), and have a hefty bank balance to show for it. This is the idea of the ‘New Rich’ that Tim Ferriss discusses in his best seller ‘The 4 Hour Work Week‘. Achieving success isn’t completely dependent on a great education from a top university, a successful father to help bump you up the ladder, or inherited wealth to kickstart a business, it’s about being innovative, driven, and a bit of luck! So with this in mind, the gates to success are open to everyone, or at least a much larger proportion of society than in previous generations.
Having been brought up in England, like a lot kids in Western civilisations, there were plenty of toys, a nice house, family holidays, good schooling and mum’s home cooked meals everyday. But maybe this is the problem… We never had it hard. We didn’t get beaten at school or at home, we’ve never experienced food rations, most of us have never really had to go without. We might have experienced suffering in the way of losing loved ones or dealing with illnesses, but for most members of Generation Y we’ve had it pretty damn cushdy!
So this is my theory… Generation Y are confused. The world is at our finger tips, the internet has provided a means of working anywhere, finding a job anywhere, learning new skills independently and cost-free. There’s no excuses anymore! There’s no ‘we can’t afford it’ or ‘we’re not educated enough’ or ‘I don’t know how’, Google has the answer for everything! Secondly, we had it so easy, we lack fire, ambition and the tenacity to do better, be better and change our lives. Is traveling the world and doing as little work as possible a real aim? Tim Ferriss thinks so. I’m not so sure, because I already know what it lacks. It’s devoid of competitiveness and achievement. To be truly fulfilled we need these things, or at least, at 27 years old, I’ve realised that I do. I challenge myself everyday when I get on a surfboard and throw myself into 5 foot waves, when I try to speak Indonesian to a stranger, or travel to a remote island and live without western comforts. Travel tests me and pushes me out of my comfort zone which is fantastic and one of the reasons it’s so addictive, but it doesn’t make me feel successful. To feel success there needs to be more. Is it accolades? money? status? fame? adoration? admiration? What am I trying to succeed at? I guess I’m just as confused as the rest of them…
Are you part of Generation Y? How do you feel about career vs free time? What makes you feel successful?