Are We The Go-Nowhere Generation?

Oh, New York Times, what will you think of next?

A couple days ago, economist Todd Buchholz and his daughter Victoria Buchholz, published an op-ed in the newspaper of record about young Americans and their resistance to moving.  Before you get too offended, he isn’t commenting on America’s obesity problem but rather, the fact that, despite rising unemployment and a tightening job market, 20-somethings are refusing to move.  The Buchholz’ point to Census Data, the number of post-collegiates still living at home, car ownership, and Facebook (the cause of societal ills, I’m sure) to illustrate their theory.

It’s an interesting theory and one that bears out at least in terms of some anecdotal evidence.  Aside from the handful of personal examples they use in the my article, my own experience proves their initial point: have only lived a handful of places – Texas (born and raised, 18 years), northern Virginia, central Virginia, and then back to northern Virginia.  Those locations have covered a variety of circumstances and employment situations but for the most part, I have never actively pursued moving or living in just any old place.  So, even if the Buchholz’ statistical evidence is shaky (and it is), I’m willing to cede the point that our generation may not be hitting the road as we once did.

However, what really starts to irk me is the implication that because we aren’t traveling cross-country or changing zip codes every few years, we’re a lesser generation.  Buchholz laments:

In the mid-’70s, back when every high school kid longed for his driver’s license and a chance to hit the road and find freedom, Bruce Springsteen wrote his brilliant, exciting album “Born to Run.” A generation later, as kids began to hunker down, Mr. Springsteen wrote his depressing, dead-end dirge, “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” We need to reward and encourage forward movement, not slouching. That may sound harsh, but do we really want to turn into a country where young Americans can’t even recognize the courage of Tom Joad?

According to Buccholz’ logic, Generation Y will become Generation Why Bother if they don’t long to “hit the road” and move around the way that our wiser forefathers did.  Instead of possibly exploring the concept of virtual movement and growth or a more economic discussion on factors that may limit the ability to change locations, the authors just chalk it all up to Internet-fueled laziness and paint a picture of a generation of do-nothings who lack the passion and drive of Tom Joad.  Also, spoiler alert, in Grapes of Wrath, parole-jumper Tom ultimately ends up killing a dude, so I don’t know if he’s an ideal role model.

Thankfully, the Atlantic published a strong rebuttal to the piece, agreeing that Americans aren’t moving as frequently as in the past but offering some alternative views as to why.  Derek Thompson points out that factors such as staggering student loan debt, a difficult housing market, and the collapse of suburban growth which the Buchholz piece completely ignores.

It seems to me that New York Times is once again publishing a silly little “trend” piece just to stir up some web traffic and Internet debate – but it might be a discussion worth having.  Even though I vehemently disagree with the assessment that our generation isn’t going anywhere metaphorically, perhaps there’s an economic imperative to encourage us to literally get moving.  And maybe we’re born to run in a different way – expanding our careers, social lives, and community impact globally through virtual connectivity.  Our lives may  not be like a Springsteen song but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a soundtrack of our own.

Music Monday: Florence + The Machine

Hey friends!  Sorry that today’s Music Monday is a bit late in the day.  I would like to tell you that I have been hard at work, digging through a pile of tasks and projects that miraculously appeared on my desk over the weekend, but that is sadly not the case.  I have been busy pursuing a new(ish) past time of mine that I am calling IFO: Internetting for Others.  This is a hobby whereupon I do things on the Internet for you (you primarily being my mother but also occasionally my friends and colleagues) because you are too busy/incompetent/combination thereof to do it yourself.  My IFOing this morning has been quite tasking and I’m sorry I just got around to posting!

That said, there was really only one choice for today’s musical selection – a raucous, rollicking song about rebirth and redemption, sung with all the gutsy glory of the incomparable Florence Welch.  I’ve always been a Florence fan but hadn’t really had a chance to dig into Ceremonials until a few weeks ago.  Since then, it’s been on heavy rotation for just about any occasion.  It’s easy to see why both critics and people I tweet about music with alike are so passionate about it.

It seems surreptitious that I really started listing to this album recently as opposed to when it was initially released.  As y’all know, it’s been a very tumultuous couple of weeks for me, so it’s nearly impossible not to connect with the soaring vocals and revival sound of Shake It OutIt may sound cliche but hearing Flo belt out that “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, I feel a little more like my old self – and then when she tells you to shake the devil off your back, it’s impossible not to want to dance!

So, today, and for the rest of the week, whenever you need to feel revitalized, re-energized, or just reborn, crank up the Florence and shake the devils off.

Sidenote:  As if the song wasn’t awesome enough on its own (and it totally is), Flo + Co are clearly trying to win me over by letting HBO use another track from Ceremonials for one of its recent Game of Thrones trailer!  I love when my pop culture interests intersect!


Friday Frivolity: Donna Meagle, Lady Hero

Editor’s Note:  Thanks so much to the lovely and talented Retta (aka THE Donna Meagle) for retweeting this post!  She calls Donna the “poor man’s Deepak Chopra“!  Love love love!

I know I say this every Friday but I am so glad that the weekend is upon us.  I shall now enumerate the reasons why for you in a bulleted list, because that’s just how I roll, Interwebs.

  • This week has been le suck.  It could not be over sooner for me.
  • I have a dinner date with one of my biffles tonight and it’s going to be awesome.
  • Tomorrow is the home opener for DC United – I am geared up for tail-gating, cheering, jumping, and hot boys running up and down a field for my amusement.
  • My best friend is moving here this weekend, so things just feel right in the world.
  • Seriously, I cannot reiterate how rough this week has been.  It’s time to set the reset button.

I have been feeling so out of sorts lately that I left work early yesterday (something I almost never do) and went home to mope, day drink, and be generally irritable.  I watched Tiny Furniture, felt sorry for myself, and sent whiny emails to my eternally patient besties.  But then, 8:30 pm (EST) rolled around and my spirits were lifted, for out of the HD haze rose  my life’s inspiration – Donna Meagle from Parks and Recreation.

My life mantra, thanks to Donna

I know most young women watching P&R are likely drawn to Amy Poehler’s optimistic spitfire Leslie Knope or find a kindred spirit in Aubrey Plaza’s sardonic mastermind April but for my money, no single female on television (except for possibly Happy Ending’s Penny Hartz) perfectly encapsulates the attitude I want to embody more than Retta’s delightful Donna.  Why is Donna is so awesome?  Let this series of images show you!

Donna has a way with words.  She is the wisest woman of the 21st century.

Donna doesn’t always need words.  Although she can whip off a snappy comeback or double entrendre, Donna often lets you know exactly what she thinks without saying a word.

Donna tells it like it is.  When she’s right, she’s right and you’re going to know about it.

Donna doesn’t care for fancy technology.  She can handle her business without the latest gadget or flashy gimmick.

Donna understands the importance of a well-placed pop culture reference.  When you’re Ginuwine’s cousin, you have to know your stuff.

Donna will not tolerate your foolishness.  Sometimes you just have to let people know that they are idiots.

Donna recognizes the importance of working what you’ve got.  Even if it means wearing Entertainment 720 gear or a bedazzled silk robe and especially if it’s ya Benz.

Donna knows when to put her personal life before work.  But she always has your back when you need her.

Most importantly, Donna likes to drink.  And don’t we all?

The bottom line is, whenever I’m sad or feeling sorry for myself, I just ask myself a simple question – what would donna do?  And then I throw back a double shot, hop in my Benz (metaphorically), and find myself a large fireman named Marcus to make me feel better.  Thanks, Donna!

Is Your Resume a Don’t?

While Sue Ellen Crandell's resume was a don't (full of lies!), her work outfit were absolute do's!

Occasionally on the blog, I do like to do more than post culturally-significant GIFs and wax poetic about the woes of my life.  On those rare days when inspiration strikes, I hope to provide a little bit of guidance and hopefully make you feel that browsing the blog at work (or in class or wherever else you may be) is a slightly productive venture!

One topic that’s been on my mind a lot is resumes.  It seems that with the start of the new year comes emails from friends (and siblings!) asking for a resume review.  First of all, good for them!  The best thing you can do with your resume is have others look at it.  While I don’t believe that’s there’s one magic lay-out or font that will guarantee you a hire, it never hurts to have multiple eyeballs sharpen the language, correct typos, and help make sure you’re presenting the best version of yourself possible.  This brings me to my first don’tdon’t be afraid to ask for help!

It may seem silly to approach these suggestions as don’ts instead of do’s but I find that, much like The Hairpin, it’s often easier to outline what does not work than to try to pinpoint what does.  Another important don’t – don’t let others tell you that you “have” to include X or that the “only acceptable” format is Y.  Those people don’t know what they’re talking about.  While there is some widely accepted formats and common sense information to include (current contact info, employment history, educational experience, special skills, etc), there is no standard resume and anyone telling you otherwise is just being bossy.

Another piece of advice I give to anyone whose resume I review is that you don’t want to sound like everyone else.  This means watching out for overused buzzwords or tired phrases.  Having been in a hiring position several times, I can tell you that everyone says they’re creative, organized, and are a team player.  Find a way to tell your potential employer by sharing your actual, unique experience instead of tossing around a worn-out expression.

This leads me to another point – don’t be vague!  Each of you is a very special snowflake – be sure that your resume reflects the experiences that make you perfect for whatever position you’re applying for.  The more specific, quantified information you can share, the more memorable you will be.  This also works in giving you several handy talking points for your (inevitable) job interview!  Along these same lines, don’t use the same resume for every position.  Tailor your resume and the provided content to the company and position you’re applying for.  I keep a master resume on file with every tiny job-related things I’ve done, from major projects that I’ve spearheaded to odd tasks I’ve taken over for other staff members.  When it comes time to apply for something new, I can take the master list and edit it down to what is relevant for the position at hand – and then I can craft the specific language further to fit that company!

So, once you feel good about your content (and had several friends review it), it should be good to go right?  Wrong – don’t neglect style!  While you should avoid graphics, photos, or anything lavish for your resume (graphic artists not included), the visual appeal of your resume is a major component.  Avoid fonts that make your resume look like you printed it straight off from WordPad – for jobs that are more tech/design-related, go with a clean sans serif font; for more traditional careers, like law or academia, find a serif font that is dignified and easy to read.  Print off a copy of your resume and look at the layout – does the information flow?  Are all the margins in line?  Is there a consistent format from section to section?

Finally, don’t forget to submit as requested.  This is a no-brainer but be sure to follow the employer’s guidelines – email to the correct person, upload to their website, send a hard copy, etc and include all the information that is requested.  Every employer is different – taking 5 minutes to review their requirements will give you a leg up on everyone who didn’t!  Whenever uploading or emailing, it’s best to convert to a PDF – it’s practically universal and maintains the stylish lay-out you’ve created!  When your resume is free of don’ts, it will be a great tool for the second part of the job hunt – nailing the interviews!  Bring copies with you for any interviews or follow-ups – or keep a copy in front of you during a phone call.

I highly recommend The Hairpin article for some additional suggestions – they also include some don’ts to ponder on including having an objective, odd date abbreviations, exaggerated margins, and anything colorful.  If you’re working in DC (or trying to!), NIH has some nice tips specific to government positions here.  You can also read some good common sense advice here, as well as some tips for recent graduates over here.

Any don’t that I forgot?  Want to share your resume advice tips?  Leave them in the comments!

Thank You!

I just want to send out a quick thank you to all my new followers, subscribers, readers, etc!  It’s so nice to be hearing from people who discovered this blog through our profile on Emelina Minero yesterday.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it, please do – Emelina has been doing some amazing work since she graduated from college and she shares some very good advice for people trying to juggle freelancing with launching their own projects.  And, if you enjoyed Emelina’s profile, be sure to check out all the other great, inspiring post-collegiates who have been featured in the past!

Finally, if you know someone who you’d like to see featured on the blog (including yourself!), let me know!  Just send a note to postcollegiateblog [at] gmail [dot] com and tell me a little about yourself (or your friend/colleague/idol/bestie/role model).  I would love to expand the scope of whose featured here and share your stories.  So, seriously, what are you waiting for?  Email me!

That’s all I have for today.  Be sure to check back in the next day or two with some resume-writing tips (always relevant!), some thoughts on the post-collegiate characters played by Chris Eigeman (aka Digger Stiles!), and a few other surprises up my sleeve.  Enjoy the day!



Profiles in Post-Collegiate Courage: Emelina Minero

Calling courageous post-collegiates! Our interview series is back with a vengeance as a semi-regular blog feature!  Want to nominate a courageous post-collegiate to be featured (including yourself)?  Email postcollegiateblog [at] gmail [dotcom].

There are some post-collegiates who graduate and then take some time to relax, unwind from the stress of school, and catch up on their Netflix queue.  And then there are post-collegiates like Emelina Minero, who dive right into pursuing a 21st century career of freelancing, brand-development, and resource building that embodies the spirit of the Millennial generation – tech-savvy, independent, and eager to work for the advancement of others.  It was my pleasure to sit down with Emelina and learn more about how productive she has been since college, in some very un-traditional ways.

Meet Emelina (left), our latest featured Post-Collegiate

Tell me a little about yourself – who is Emelina?  How did she get where she is now?

I am a 24-year-old lesbian feminist and a realist optimist who is passionate about people, women’s education, equality and respect for gender and sexual minorities, self-love, body positivity and changing the world through building community, global citizenry and uniting people through their passions.  Being in the closet for 14+ years was a 14+ year journey of finding my voice and accepting my sexuality and myself. Without a voice, I was a great observer and I realized the importance of being listened to, of being accepted, of being supported and the importance of feeling like you belong to a community. This is one reason why I am so passionate about building communities, supporting people to love themselves and giving people a platform to voice their passions.

Growing up, I was surrounded by strong, independent women within the eating disorder recovery community. That helped me to embrace a body positive, self-loving culture and it showed me the importance and the power of a strong collaborative group of women.  Attending Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and seeing the problems of a patriarchy heightened during the co-ed transition made me realize the importance of women’s education and the necessity to help bridge the gender gap.

Working for Curve Magazine, the leading lesbian magazine in the nation, has strengthened my roots within the LGBTQ community and has also highlighted my awareness of the bigotry within the LGBTQ community, which I want to help alleviate.

That’s a pretty impressive back-story.  You’re a fairly recent college graduate – what was your initial plan when you graduated?

I was going to be a news reporter. I loved running The Sundial, the college newspaper and I was dead set on reporting on gay news for the San Francisco Chronicle, that or writing for Curve Magazine. My “dream job” was starting the first LGBTQ national newspaper.  As soon as I graduated, I didn’t want anything to do with newspapers and I didn’t want to be employed by someone else. I wanted to run my own business, to travel and to have my life run by my passions: exploring, helping others and living outside of my comfort zone.

Ironically, now I’m writing for Curve Magazine, as well as online LGBT news and entertainment site, EDGE Boston. And I’m developing my own online LGBTQ publication, The Queer Spectrum, which will highlight and celebrate the diversity within the subcultures of the queer spectrum. But I’m not only doing this. I’m giving myself the best of both worlds, writing for LGBTQ publications and creating my own life outside of the 9 to 5 arena.

You’re really juggling a lot of different projects and passions.  What challenges are you facing that were unexpected?  How are you redefining your expectations of life in the post-college world?

I thought “the real world” would be a lot harder or boring, but it has been amazing and a lot of fun and nothing like I thought it would be. This doesn’t mean that it’s not challenging. It’s not all sugar plum fairies and chocolate cake.  Financially I’m not doing great, but that was expected. Social life is off and on. It’s really what I make it. When I get on work-kicks, my social life suffers. When I make balance my focus, my social life thrives.

I didn’t expect how easy post-grad life can be — and it all depends on your mentality, how you view life and how you view what’s possible. The biggest thing that I have learned is that I am the only person who can hinder me from what I want in life and I am the only person who can attain what I want in life.  You will be your worst enemy and your biggest supporter. And balance is key to bringing out the supporter within you. I believe that self-love is the strongest foundation for personal growth, personal strength and leading a balanced life. If you love yourself, everything else falls into place. If you act and think from a place of self-love, it makes life easier.

You seem to be making the most of the “Gig Economy” and focusing on freelancing as opposed to a steady 9-to-5.  What are the pros and cons to pursuing this type of career path?Featured in Curve Magazine

There are a lot of pros and cons, and for me the pros outweigh the cons. One, stability is not something that comes naturally with this lifestyle. You have to work hard to achieve stability, and not just financial stability. Choosing this lifestyle can be an emotional roller coaster. You don’t have a boss telling you that every Monday through Friday you’ll be working X set schedule, at X place, at X time, doing A, B and C activities with X responsibilities. You don’t always know what you’re going to do. You don’t always know the next step. Stability is something that you have to create for yourself. Someone else isn’t going to serve it to you on a platter. This lifestyle isn’t for every one. It pushes you to live outside of your comfort zone, which I like.

There are SO MANY pros. Last March I bought a one-way ticket to Virginia and I traveled along the East Coast for 2 months, hitting 7 different states and 13+ cities. I was able to support myself through my freelance work. I worked at cafes and at friends’ houses who had wi-fi. I traveled via bus, train and car. I had no set schedule. At points it did get emotionally exhausting, moving from one place to another so quickly. But overall I had a blast and I was able to do this because of the freelance path I had chosen.

Choosing a freelance career, it’s a lot of work. Sometimes I work 16 hour days, and at first, you won’t bring in a lot of money, for awhile you won’t, unless you make yourself focus on only one thing. Sometimes you’ll have money pouring in, and then you’ll go through dry spells of nothing, so you have to plan and save and budget. The key to success is consistency, not giving up, taking action, moving forward and only focusing on one thing, on one project, on one idea. The last part is where I am not succeeding. I focus on too many things. I overextend myself and my projects are moving along fine, but slower than they would be if I was only focusing on one thing at a time.

Balance in all aspects of life is key to your success. I have gone through periods where I have been so passionate and excited about what I’m doing that I wasn’t able to sleep. I was literally sleeping 2 to 4 hours a night and working the rest, and I had to work until literal exhaustion because I was too excited to not be working. Other times, it’s physically and emotionally exhausting and I get depressed from the cycles of imbalance that I create for myself. Work/life balance is a fine line and it’s very important to maintain balance in your life if you want happiness and if you want to succeed in your goals.

It’s amazing how much travel you’ve been able to do since graduation. Any tips for 20-somethings looking to travel on a budget?

If you’re traveling, you either have to have money saved up and set aside or you have to have money coming in consistently. If you don’t have money set aside, and you are freelancing, make sure you have a set number of consistent clients before you set out to travel. And create a consistent payment schedule, so every Thursday so and so will pay you by this time. That way you will know for certain that on X days X amount of money is coming in.

I had people pay me via Pay Pal. It’s all done online and they can be across the country or in another continent making payments to you. There is a small fee taken out of the payment when you receive money via PayPal. I had the money transferred to my checking account from PayPal and that can take up to a few days, so you have to take that into account.

I also kept a journal of my money. How much I was bringing in & how much I was spending. Save the receipts and write down everything you spend. Also mark it on the receipt if it’s for business. If you’re traveling and are a freelancer, a lot of things can be business, a.k.a. — a lot of your purchases can be written off.

Greyhound and buses are cheap, especially on the East Coast. Look up Peter Pan and China buses. Mega bus is also good and it comes with wifi. I remember my average bus ticket was around $18 and that was from DC to NYC, really from any big city to another big city. There were some $5 steals and the most I paid was around $30. If you need to get to smaller cities, it can cost more and you may have to use greyhound or a train, but still transportation cost isn’t that bad. Traveling globally & nationally, I’ve found some really nice deals if you stay at hostels. Also give Cough Surfing a go.

When it comes to traveling, networking can be amazing. Tapping into your network can lead to free or cheap rides, places to stay, tours, meals, etc. If you know no one, explore, go out on your own to bars, clubs, whatever and meet new people and make friends who can show you around.

There’s a lot you can do without money, or with little money. Look up free museums, cool parks and clubs without covers. If you want to drink, pre-drink before you go out so it will be loads cheaper. Don’t go out to eat a lot, or you can go out by yourself, but eat a snack before hand so you won’t order a big expensive meal. Or go out to eat with others, but if you eat before hand, you don’t have to spend anything. Buy food at grocery stores.

I am so impressed with the work you have created online.  Can you tell us more about Community Bucket List and Love Warrior Community? What can these sites offer postcollegiates?

They’re my passions. They’re my babies and my loves. Through these communities and through the people who get involved in them, I see us changing the world. We’re going to contribute to a global movement of self-love, self-acceptance, global citizenry and passion.

The Love Warrior Community I created with my mom. My mom, Michelle Minero, is a Bay Area therapist who specializes in helping people recover from eating disorders. She founded EDRS (Eating Disorders Recovery Support, Inc.), which I’m currently interning for. You should check it out soon for some cool updates.

The Love Warrior Community uses creative expression to help people build self-love, self-acceptance and body acceptance. Through art, photography, writing, videos and music, people can develop their own self-love practice. As a post grad, cultivating an active self-love practice has been my biggest tool for success in all my projects, because self-love is about cultivating balance and when you’re living a balanced life, everything is simplified, is clear and flows smoother.

Community Bucket List enables people to achieve their goals and live their passions. If more people are living and realizing their passions, then they’re contributing those passions to the world and are contributing their positive energy to the world. I want CBL to evolve into this global community where people come together united by their common passions and work together in achieving their goals.

One of the main tools we use is an action-oriented bucket list, which helps an individual focus on one to 3 things they want to work on achieving now. The action-oriented bucket list helps them focus on one or a few specific goals by asking them to write out what their motivation is for working on X now, what is the 1st step they will take to achieve X goal, what is a brief outline of the actions they will take to achieve X goal and what help or support do they want from the CBL community.

CBL offers other online resources, articles on goal setting, on discovering your passions, a Facebook group for people to share their successes and journey and an online mastermind group for those who have submitted action-oriented bucket lists who want more support and help with achieving their goals.

CBL is perfect for post grads because initially, I created it for myself. A year out of college, I needed more focus in my life. So I structured CBL to give me the structure, focus and support that I needed.

Even though it’s only been a couple years, if you could go back to graduation day and give yourself advice, what would you say?

Don’t hold yourself back. Don’t doubt yourself and don’t tell yourself that you can’t do something. Don’t discredit yourself. Don’t think less of yourself and don’t be so hard on yourself. Enjoy life, explore it. Try all options that appeal to you and don’t be afraid to drop them in an instant if you no longer want them in your life. Don’t be afraid to say no to others. Say yes to new opportunities. Live outside of your comfort zone. At first, it will be uncomfortable, but soon you’ll get used to it and you’re comfort zone will have expanded to take in a lot more.

Surround yourself with a supportive network of people. Put time into strengthening your friendships. Make time for yourself. Make time for everything that you need to be in balance.

Develop a conscious and active self-love practice, as soon as possible. The most effective thing for me is self-love writing, writing daily or almost daily, reflecting on my self-love journey.

I share my writing with the Love Warrior Community’s group blog. You don’t have to share your writing publicly, you can write in a personal journal. Self-love writing could entail writing with the prompt, What Would Love Do? in mind. It could be writing yourself a love letter. It could be reflecting on something you’re struggling with and writing out how to work through it and coming up with actions you can take to get past it. Writing with self-love in mind helps make you more conscious about it throughout your day. It helps you guide your daily thoughts and action with self-love. It helps you focus on what you need to live a balanced, healthy and happy life.

Your mindset is your strongest tool for success and happiness. Train your mind to be happy, positive and motivated. For me that means balance and balance means self-love.

Emelina (left) manages to balance work with play!

Many, many thanks to Emelina for agreeing to be featured and sharing all her work with you.  Please peruse the links throughout the article for more information on her work and follow her on Twitter.  As always, you can leave questions for Emelina in the comments section as well!