THE BEE AND THE FLY
I’m not a big fan of categorization (understand “this opinion will be invalidated shortly”) BUT, the other day I was presented with a life-theory that I find applicable here.
It goes like this: people are either bees, or flies. If both had to fly through a small pipe, the first would go straight out; while the latter would struggle and bump everywhere. The goal was to describe the different kind of behaviors we adopt in life. The rest of the argument – which included a glass ceiling, death and an unexpected survival – is not that relevant for me to develop here.
However, I will temporarily borrow this theory since it serves my argument.
THE (NEW) TALE
So, we have a bee, a fly, and a pipe. Now, let’s add a glass cap at the end of the pipe, and imagine it represents our current education / employment situation.
Most of us start as bees, gently guided through the common education system: kindergarten, middle school, and high school. There, according to your grades, you’re encouraged to start “specialising” in a sector or the other. Even if at this moment different paths present themselves, the final choice is not really yours to make. Then, If everything goes according to plan, you become an average C+ student, graduate, and continue on the education rails pursuing a college degree – following your previously chosen specialisation’s path.
For older generations, the pipe didn’t end here. Bees could fly on forever, guided by the pipe’s side-edges. Graduation came with a job, and usually, you carry on in that firm for the rest of your life. For instance, last May, during Adecco’s CEO for One Month Bootcamp, I discovered that many employees jokingly referred to themselves as: “bébés Adecco” (Adecco Babies). This appellation designated people who started their work path at Adecco and never left.
With our current economic situation and constant evolution, it feels almost impossible for us to pursue a lifetime career in a firm. Comparatively, as our paths change, so does our insects’ trajectory. Today, college would becomes the metaphorical end of the pipe. Graduating is either like finally being able to fly in the open or (more likely) like hitting the glass.
The bee becomes a fly, continuously hitting the edges, wondering where to go. We’re repeatedly told about how “65% of tomorrow’s jobs don’t exist today“. In reality, the world is shifting so fast we have no clue of what’s coming – let alone how to brace ourselves for the future. So, the fly keeps on bumping everywhere, lost.
= LOST IN SPACE
WHY / WHAT / HOW
All of my friends graduating or soon-to-be graduates face the same issues. “What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? Or, how much am I willing to sacrifice for my job? etc.” are regularly discussed question in our meetings or group reunions. With the end of innocence, comes also a new responsibility: “finding a career that suits you”. But, as guided as we were before, no one is really here to advise us in this blank period. Some of us realise the long path we were encouraged to follow don’t actually match their will. Other, like Julie, feel like their field of expertise is becoming useless. And some, like Florence or Nanui, ditch their “predestined careers” for others, following their passions.
As it happens, I am currently going through a similar patch. But I realised, talking with many that everybody shares the same fears. Confident that I would find some, I spent all summer searching for different resources that could inspire me / others. Turns out that typing “millennial blog” on search engines only points at influencer’s lifestyle advise and so on. When I finally ended up on articles talking about millennials in a work context, I didn’t really feel like the people involved – aka millennials – were actually part of the reflection.
Today, I’m trying to create a place where people can get inspired by hearing each others’ stories, whether they are successful or not. If you ever feel like taking a glimpse at a generation’s portrait, take a look at OUR MILLENNIALS TODAY