Millennial Making Waves in the Aloha State
By: Harrison Saito
When I was first asked to write an article about being an Entitled Millennial...
This existential question really made me think of growing up in an age before Facebook, Tinder, & even cell phones or home computers; how did I survive?
Honestly, I’m sure my parents would say Millennials are irresponsible, lazy, and obsessed with social media with the caveats of missing out on human interactions. Unfortunately, I believe this is somewhat true; technology has provided luxuries and innovations today that would seem to come from a page of Fahrenheit 451. I’m much more optimistic for myself and my peers; we’re striving to be educated, technologically savvy, and networking more than any generation before. Despite the upside, no longer can I assume that I’m staying in the same job throughout my career or that my parent’s idea of retirement is even a possibility. The recession and subsequent fallout in 2008 changed my perspective those.
When I was younger, I thought I’d have a steady job in engineering and settle down with a home, dog, and two or three kids. As a generation, I believe that we’re ultimately responsible and in complete control of our circumstances; listening to an older generation’s concept about the typical road to success is obsolete. Unfortunately, there’s no longer a guarantee in obtaining a stable profession, fulfilling aspirations, or even finding happiness. It doesn’t matter if you graduated as a Physician (Student Debt to the Max), with a 4.0 GPA, or even know the President (it sure helps though).
What are we doing about it?
While traveling throughout rural towns and villages in Vietnam, (I backpacked for a few months after graduation) I took the time to observe people running their own shops or operating some type of trade; entrepreneurship was alive and well in some fashion with people working to feed their families. Difficult economic situations seemed to foster creativity and provided the motivation to market themselves. I realize that their situation may not be by choice: access to the same levels of education and opportunities that I had growing up are a luxury, which I’m very grateful for. This made me think of back home in Hawaii where I have a relaxing office job, surf in my free time, and do what I can to not to get fired. However, I realize that the first world corporate environment isn’t as stable as when my parents were my age. I could lose my job any second or be replaced with a cheaper recent graduate eager to “learn.” The trip to Vietnam started turning gears in my mind how I could start something of my own and take complete control of my career path.
Something clicked and drove me to see myself developing and creating ideas that could help or serve others.
When I got back from my trip I started my first small business in Real Estate; it’s nothing sexy, but it’s profitable. Fast forward a year and a half I’m starting up another venture with a few guys; a subscription based social club hosting events and beach parties to young professionals in Honolulu - Paradise Found HI. Our goal is to partner with a few non-profits and develop fundraising efforts to enhance children’s education on Oahu. Regardless of if I fail or not, my main takeaway is Millennials are becoming more educated, innovative, and qualified to make an impact. For employers, so many of us are qualified for the same jobs that we’re becoming cheaper and easier to replace. The ugly truth is that members of our generation are utilized as refined tools for older generations capitalize on; the expanding definition of “internship” comes to mind. Our lack of life skills or naivety make us to be blind to the negotiating cards we do possess for better opportunities.
All I ask is that we think for ourself and understand we don’t need a boss or employer to tell us what our value is to the world. Obviously, life’s expensive and bills need to be paid but if we’ve got a dream, foster it, never let it go, and take realistic steps toward making it happen; how do we want to see our life when we look back in our later years? I’m not a life coach, but I believe we should let that question resonate and offer introspection. Grow the confidence to learn and break away from the norm that working for a paycheck is the only way to live. Things can change drastically in a second and I’m doing something about it.
What are you doing about it?