It’s not hard to imagine how most Boomers and Gen Xers might react to a 2011 college grad declaring "I’m too talented to punch a clock or sit in a cubicle"– especially in today’s economy. He could be written-off as entitled, naive and foolish, particularly by elders who have invested years climbing the corporate ladder.
Given the lackluster job market, it’s perhaps a surprising revelation that 71 percent of Millennials agree they are "too talented to punch a clock or sit in a cubicle," according to an MTV study of 2,000 youth ages 14-24. But before dismissing this generation as overly confident and entitled, it’s only fair that Millennials get the opportunity to defend themselves.
Imagine a slightly different scenario, one in which the college grad clarifies the remark by saying, "I’m ready to work hard. But I don’t want to surrender my life to a corporation that expects loyalty from me and offers none in return. I don’t want to be dismissed by people who continue to hold the belief that experience is the primary prerequisite for good ideas. And, I don’t want to feel like I am working in a vacuum without a clear-cut connection as to how I impact the bottom line." Upon further qualitative analysis of the anti-cubicle sentiment, MTV has indeed found that this generation isn’t suffering from inflated egos.
Class of 2011 just dreams of a more self-directed, personally fulfilling pathway to success: entrepreneurship. Contrast a prototypical entrepreneur of the 1980’s — perhaps a family friend who launched a mortgage business in a corporate office park — with today’s celeb-preneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Jay-Z, who are just as likely to be seen on the red carpet as they are in Fortune magazine.
Today’s rock star entrepreneurs are more relevant and revered than ever before, as they have created entities like Facebook, Google and YouTube that define Millennials’ social lives and foster their entertainment experiences.
Practically speaking, entrepreneurship is also more accessible than ever, as Millennials have the tools to make their dreams come to life. Facebook and Twitter function as a sales force, a website serves as a storefront and wholesalers in Asia replace costly production facilities. Technology itself breeds a market for more technology, and Millennials who intimately understand the user experience for apps and games are generally best suited to create them.
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