The 21st Century Young Professional


My mother has been on a crusade for months about me finding a permanent career. The wording differs every few weeks, sometimes she just wants me to find a full time job, sometimes she wants me to find steady work in writing, but the message is always the same: where I’m at now is not good enough.

I graduated from Ball State University in May 2013 with a degree in creative writing and a minor in telecommunications. Since then I’ve had unpaid internships with 70+ hours of work, part time retail jobs, was a glorified Sample Lady at grocery stores, and have now moved on to working part time in customer service. After a few set backs right after graduation I’m finally getting back to writing and doing freelance new media work. Things aren’t perfect, but I’m only 23 and things are getting back on track. I just wish I could make my mother understand.

I know she means well, but my mother’s expectations seem a bit dated to me. When she was my age in the 80s the economy was different and Yuppies (young upwardly-mobile professionals) ruled the world. Today most of my college graduate friends are freelancing and doing well. If they do have full time careers many got them through freelancing, several internships, or through connections.

More importantly, I know my current resume isn’t impressive enough to land my dream career yet. Since graduation I’ve moved from jobs so often that it could be seen as a liability. Changing jobs has become a fine balancing act over the years. Many people have to change jobs in order to move up the career ladder because remaining at the same company for too long will keep them at the same place. However, changing jobs too often makes people look flaky. Each career move must be made carefully, weighing both positives and negatives before deciding.

Rather than following previous generations’ views on careers, current college grads are picking and choosing from their predecessors. While today’s 20somethings want a profitable career, we’re also borrowing the freedom of this 60s.

It seems that for the hippie generation simply picking up and moving to follow their dreams was so common it has become a predictable part of every great story. Countless bands have such a line in their history, and the notorious Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco would be completely different without that cliche. Today’s 20somethings move across the country for an opportunity and take countless freelance jobs to create enough connections for a career. We are the hippies and Yuppies combined.

Just don’t call us yippies. Or huppies. Please don’t turn this into a cute cultural nickname.

Foy, Dan. A-levels (concept) (notes). 21 May. 2008. Online image. Flickr. 17 Oct. 2014.


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