Monday, November 21, 2016

You're in Good Hands

It would be an understatement to say that 2016 has been, to use one of Jimmy Buffett's favorite words, tumultuous. We survived a sideshow of an election. Britain voted to exit the European Union. Hurricane Matthew and earthquakes in central Italy and New Zealand left destruction in their wakes. We lost David Bowie, Glenn Frey and Leon Russell. Bob Dylan evaded the Nobel Committee to such an extent that we wondered for a while if he was still around. I think we all agree that now, we just want to enjoy the holidays and move on into 2017. Somehow, in light of all this, I remain optimistic. Why? Because I see promise in our next generation, promise which is already being fulfilled in a variety of ways. We're not waiting for it to is already happening.

There was no book that told me how I was supposed to feel at this stage of my life, but one learns by doing, as they say. Despite what we might hear or read about the millennial generation (I'm sure they're exhausted by now from hearing that moniker), what I see now are millions of young people committed to making it work. Think about it for a minute: when we baby boomers graduated from high school, there was plenty of work to do. Regardless of whether you launched into a trade or marched ahead to college (and sometimes more college), you were fairly certain that jobs would be plentiful. There were prescribed destinations, formulas for success.

But today's world is a different animal. A college degree is practically a necessity these days, and obtaining one does not, of course, guarantee that jobs will be available in one's chosen field. Getting a step up to the first rung of the ladder seems much more difficult than it used to be. So what does today's generation do? If they're lucky, they land lucrative jobs. If not, or if things don't pan out where they've landed, they keep moving. They explore uncharted career territory, they make the field broader, and in some cases, they even knock down the walls that contain that field. They open restaurants and shops, save our lives in emergency rooms, serve in the military, and build successful businesses, à la Facebook. Many of them are now teaching the next generation after theirs.

Does this sound familiar? Absolutely. We've all been there or are in the process of getting there. And for my money, there are some great things on the horizon. Sure, I have a vested interest, because I have two grown daughters and a son-in-law who are part of this generation. I applaud them, as well as each and every young person across this world who is working to move ahead these days. I think we'll look up in a few years and say wow, these guys knew what they were doing.

Bring on 2017.