(This is an excerpt from a series of conversations with myself and various experts about Human Capital)
Benjamin Loh: I don’t know, some people can be passionate as accountants, my hats off to them because I was an accountant in my previous life. Some people are really passionate about numbers, engineering, making new technology, but what about the select group of Generation Y, the young millennials, who seem very disillusioned. We seem very lost. How can we go about finding work that we are truly passionate about? And I am of the belief that once we find the work that we really love and we are really passionate about, there is no qualms about whether there is work-life balance. In fact, if you ask us to do work when we are at home, because we are so passionate about it, we are willingly able to put in hours after work, so that we just want to let our projects happen. Then the question is “How do we even get there? How do we find work that we are passionate about?”
Marion Neubronner: So, I really love this topic and that’s why I called the book Turning Gen Y On. Because I believe totally that, not just Gen Y again, any person who is turned on, it’s not work. It’s just the meaning of your life. Everyone must give back to the society in the best way they can. As you said, you could be in accounting and learn the skill sets, but it may not bring you the joy. You know, I can drive a car but I do not want to be a cab driver for the rest of my life. However, it’s not a Gen Y issue; everyone wants to find meaning and passion at work. The challenge again is economy often doesn’t match what we want. Many people I know, my friends who are doctors when I was in Ministry of Health, wanted to be artists and they are not going to do that because obviously their doctoring skills are more meaningful and more monetarily beneficial.
So firstly, do you need to be passionate, or can you just find somewhere that is meaningful? Meaningful is easier to find. I will always promote health care, civil service; I promote civil service a lot! Even though to many Gen Y, it seems like very boring, not sexy and a lot of admin work. But there is a huge meaning behind the work. You can see the benefit. You said in your previous life, you are 28; you all under 30, under 35, explore more. You cannot find passion until you really try to jump out. From outside it looks nice; when you are in it, it may not. And let me assure you as a person who has, now, thankfully, more passion in work, but multiple jobs more than you. I had to fine tune and fine tune with each one, what makes it turn me on more. I love teaching, I am not a teacher at MOE anymore or the Ministry of Education. I am now teaching in a different way. But even here I am learning a new skill set like this media thing and all that; all new. Am I comfortable with it? Am I not? If you ask me when I was like 20-something, Would I do this? Never. So you or anybody who is searching for passion, exploration is key.
Benjamin Loh is a Gen Y Speaker and Specialist and we are on a Campaign to look for companies and cultures which Turn Gen Y On.