Worried About Finding a Job After Graduation? Create Your Own!
Twenty years ago, the formula "go to a good school, get a company job and you’re safe" worked when looking for a job after graduation. This generation of job-seekers, however, has seen first-hand that, no matter where you happen to be employed, your job is never really safe. In fact, not even a college degree guarantees great career options immediately after graduation. Many recent grads, however, are taking things into their own hands. A New York Times article chronicles the story of an NYU graduate who developed his own model of employment and is encouraging other young people to do the same.
Matt Gerber graduated from NYU with a film degree, moved back in with his parents and took out loans to start his own media company. The company failed in 2006, and Gerber, despite his parents’ pleas to get a "real" job, decided to use the last of his money to try again. He re-focused and ultimately created a low-cost, niche-based new company, dedicated to providing short promotional videos. The company was profitable in its first year, and Gerber never looked back.
Gerber’s process of starting a successful business with very little overhead accurately reflects a change in the course of finding employment around the world. Rather than being forced to rely on the outdated, hierarchical systems of old companies, he did not have to "put in his time" doing things with no relevance to his passions, only to be pigeon-holed in the position most useful to the company. Twenty years ago, one would have to be connected to a name company in order to be taken seriously, but, today, all you need is a great website, business sense and talent. He rented an address in a prime New York location and had his business mail forwarded to his home. In fact, he does most of his work at home or local coffee shops and boasts clients as prestigious as Proctor & Gamble and the GAP.
Gerber now dedicates much of his time to spreading the word to other college graduates. He started the Young Entrepreneur Council which provides advice and counsel to potential future business founders. He also created the Gen Y Fund, a non-profit that will work to provide funding to young entrepreneurs. "We are looking to spearhead a major shift in how resources are allocated to our generation, because no one from above is going to do it," he states.
This seems, in fact, to be a very positive trend. With as few little as 24% of all 2010 graduates finding employment directly after graduation, many more young people have decided to follow their passions and go it alone. Co-founder of a successful online magazine, Windsor Hanger, 22, reflects the sentiment perfectly. "It’s not a pure dichotomy anymore that entrepreneurship is risky and other jobs are safe, so why not do what I love?" she maintains.
This is great advice for anyone looking for employment now and in the future. If you are business-minded, want to follow your own path and aren’t afraid to take a bit of a risk, eschewing a "traditional" job and founding your own company could be the best career decision you ever make.