In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, it is argued that the year you are born could have a monumental impact on the success you see in your lifetime. For example, in the 1860s and 1870s, the US economy went through an amazing boom. If you were lucky enough to be born in the 1830s, then you had an opportunity that others missed out on. If you were born in the 1840s, you missed those opportunities, and if you were born before the 1830s, you likely were too old and already set in a lifestyle which would have made taking advantage of opportunity difficult. That may help explain the fact that out of the world’s richest 75 people in history, 14 were Americans born between 1831-1840.
Are we experiencing a shift?
Just as a generation can take advantage of the years they were born, you could also be disadvantaged based on the year you were born. In this economy, is the same type of shift in place now?
Who would want to be graduating school this year? You’d be entering an economy that is in the worse shape in generations. Those of us who were lucky enough to graduate before this economic calamity started, have been lucky enough to build up our work experience, pass beyond entry level positions, and hopefully will be able to benefit when the economy finally rebounds.
Because so many people are looking for jobs right now, entry-level positions are harder to come by. People with actual work experience are likely to take those jobs in order to stay employed, so graduating students are in a position where they’re entering a workforce that has no place for them. When the economy finally rebounds, those who graduate this year will likely have had fewer opportunities and thus be in a disadvantageous position when opportunities do open up.
Is this generation going to be the generation who was born after the most beneficial years? Will we look back at this time and say you’d be disadvantaged to graduate in 2009? That very well could be the truth, but if you are graduating this year, it’s important to put yourself in the best possible position to make it through this.
-Be open to relocating for your first job, it’s an important one.
-Leverage your internships and work experience to find a solid first job
Adam Salamon is Partnerships Director at Bazaarvoice, Inc., blogs about social media, entrepreneurship, and pop culture.