If you talk to older people within society often you hear the opinion that Generation Y are lazy, narcissistic and expect results without wanting to put in the hard-work required. While this is surely true to some extent, the same could be said about people from any generation, realistically what defines us as a generation are the new challenges we face. At the end of the day, you can only take out of life what you put in.

The more value you add to yourself makes you less of a want and more of a need to everyone associated with you.

When we’re young we all expect things to go our way. As a naïve 18 year old straight out of high school, I had no doubts that once I graduated university that I would walk straight into a job. I also expected that I would finish that degree. Neither of those actually happened. These expectations had been formed in the previous eighteen years when I was told that I would go to high school, get into Uni, graduate university and then get a job. I had been given a road map to life, the only problem was that it didn’t have any street names on it. I’ve learned the hard way that you need to make your own luck. 30 years ago much fewer people were studying at university and jobs were much easier to come by. To get a decent graduate position these days a degree by itself doesn’t usually cut it, you need those great marks, or extra-curricular involvements or experience in the industry.

But here’s the good news, you’re extremely capable of gaining these. You just need to put in the work.

If you put in the work then eventually things will go your way, if volunteering for a company for three months leads to a 12 month paid internship then isn’t that worth it?
One of the biggest stigmas attached to Gen Y is that we always preference the short-term gain. If you are able to shake that mindset and look at all these opportunities as building blocks then you are going to be successful because you are intrinsically setting yourself up for constant success. No one is going to do the work for you, so you need to be prepared to step out and take some rejection, legendary entrepreneur Bo Bennett summed it up perfectly, “A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” – Keep trying, you will break through the wall at some point and it will be awesome when you do.

Whilst you need to do the hard work on your own, you should never be afraid to ask for help. As crazy as it sounds people do want to help you and see you succeed. These people don’t have to just be teachers or parents, you should cast the net a little bit wider and look for people who live in a way that you envision yourself living. Find a mentor and learn from them, nothing is more valuable than experience, not only will you get help but it will improve your networking skills. No man is an island. Don’t be afraid to ask for some help, it will put you in front of everyone who is too proud or lazy to do so themselves.

How are you truly going to stand out from the crowd?

You achieve this by being an individual, people always want to be around other interesting people. A family friend of mine who works in finance was in charge of hiring some graduate staff, being such a specialist field only the best applicants were considered and one of the applicants who was hired also had a side career as a rapper. In his words they hired him “because he was actually interesting, and someone can hold a conversation can’t be undervalued.” So many people fail to realise that a potential employer cares about much more than university marks. Realistically if you made it to the interview process then they are already past worrying about marks and are worrying about the person. Be confident, but not cocky. Control the room, but don’t dominate the room. Confidence is infectious and if you combine confidence with your own personal tastes and idiosyncrasies then you are going to stand out for all the right reasons.

If you can combine hard work, a willingness to learn from others and ask for help when you need it then you will attain the results you need. Combine this with an interesting and self-confident personality then you will prove all the naysayers wrong about Generation Y. At the end of the day you can always add more value to yourself, so go and get out there and continue to improve.

By Max Thorley