How Gen Z Can Find Opportunities They’re Actually Passionate About
According to Monster Worldwide, the second most important factor that Gen Z-ers are looking for in employers is the ability to pursue their passion. And after talking with many fellow Gen Zers for my book, I can definitely say that my own research backs this up.
But many adults and institutions aren’t necessarily encouraging Gen Zs like myself to pursue our passions. One of the people that I interviewed for my book said it best.
“Many young people are not encouraged to explore their passions, think outside the box, or embrace their individuality,” said Victor Zhang.
Victor Zhang is the global community manager at Navitas Ventures and the co-founder, ex-managing director, and current advisor at Generation Entrepreneur.
Since primary school, Victor has been interested in entrepreneurship. He started his first business at the age of 12, selling chocolates at a local train station. Upon entering high school, Victor was interested in a variety of fields and ideas, but he eventually settled on marketing. In high school, he served as the marketing director for FloorVenue where he managed the company’s marketing budget and launched several digital campaigns. From there, he founded MarketingVenue, an online marketing service, while still in high school.
As he continued his time in high school, he realized that “school encourages you to conform.” With this idea in mind, he co-founded Generation Entrepreneur. According to its website, “Generation Entrepreneur aims to disrupt traditional education by providing high school students with the opportunities and resources to start their own ventures. This provides invaluable skills to students and fuels an entrepreneurial spirit among youth which will drive positive change in our world.”
According to Victor, “The schooling curriculum subtly pushes for conformity in so many ways — through textbook learning, classroom etiquette, and the definition of a ‘model’ student. Young people are not encouraged to explore their passions, think outside the box, or embrace their individuality. At age 16, I looked around and realized there were no programs in high schools at the time that inspired entrepreneurial thinking or challenging of the status quo. We decided to change this.” Today, Generation Entrepreneur has a team of 30 people and has reached over 1,500 high school students.
Despite having a wide range of interests as a high schooler, Victor saw a need to fix what was wrong with his high school experience, and he used marketing as his tool. In high school, he became interested in education. And although he knew that his interests might change in the future, he did something with this interest.
Where are you going to develop your expertise? You’re young — you can’t be an expert in everything, but you can become an expert in something. It just takes some work.
A LinkedIn study recently showed that millennials change jobs, on average, four times in their first decade out of college. Compared to other generations, that is nearly double the rate of change. However, interestingly enough, many millennials change into entirely new industries. Maybe millennials aren’t finding industries or problems that they are actually interested in and instead are settling for the first job that pays until they find what really makes them tick. As a Generation Z entrepreneur, you can skip those first steps entirely if you take the time to identify a problem you want to solve, a field you’ve always been curious about, or a topic that just gets you riled up at the dinner table.
Here’s some questions to get you thinking…
- Take a look at what you do for fun, can you turn that into a job? What jobs are there in that field?
- What do you like to read for fun? Is it articles on space exploration? Politics? Startups? Nonfiction books? That should give you an idea of what you’d like to do in the long run.
- What is your favorite topic of debate? What gets you into shouting matches with your family and friends?
- What issues in the world keep you up at night?
- If you could change one thing about your school, your job, your community, your country, or the world, what would it be?
- What do you always complain about? How might you be able to fix that?
- Where do you find fulfillment — personally, academically, and professionally?
So get going and find your passion! You’ll be so much happier down the line if you pursue something that you’re actually interested in.
To learn more about me, you can check out my personal website here, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow me on Twitter here. To read more, you can buy my latest book on Amazon in paperback or Kindle here!