“You’re too young” is a phrase we often hear, especially as Gen-Z people. It is always something: too young to vote, too young for politics, too young for getting into business... Perhaps, yes, adults have the experience and they look out for us, but they, for sure, underestimate what young minds can achieve too. I will not be getting into a 5-year-old generating money from youtube or a 12-year-old forming a whole business for babysitters just yet, but we will get there.
Today’s political and corporate worlds are rather filthy places even for grown ups, yet perhaps the key to improving these environments is young people. This is one thing they always disregard saying that we are too young or unimproved to have stable, concrete opinions. It is about time that changes. For the past 5 or maybe even 10 years, us Gen-z people have been the ones that are most looked down on, yet we are the ones still fighting to fix the wrongs, save the world, reverse the climate change, get rid of the corrupt politicians, and so on.
How can we start to fix this? First of all, this learned prejudice of “youth doesn’t know anything” or “they don’t have the experience” perception needs to be gotten rid of. Suppose you expect new graduates to have 3-5+ years of experience for a position or a masters degree with 4.0 GPA for an internship. In that case, that company is doomed to be disconnected from the higher education- bachelor level youth. This is also a huge problem in political fields of work; yes, of course every work field has its own crucial aspects and importance, but youth inclusion is a must for politics of today, especially in the current economies and rising right side tendencies all over Europe where if it goes this way, another wave of fascism is to be expected.
Second way is to provide opportunities not just in workplace but also more on school campuses, more associations and company related recruitment opportunities should be given to young people. We can create amazing things when we have the resources, know how or the needed mentorship. Referring to people between the ages of 14-24 as “youth” we can easily prove aforementioned point through “Wise 20 under 20”lists or “Forbes 30 under 30” lists, at least.
As I said in the beginning of this article, we are getting there for examples of teen successes. For example, Mikaila Ulmer, founder of “Me and the bees lemonade”.
She was stung by bees and was really afraid of them until she decided to take a seemingly small step: learning about bees and what they can do. She was mesmerized by the way they make honey and she came up with a honey lemonade recipe. Thanks to that and a little bit of business planning, she ended up going on Shark Tank only at the age of 9. She went home securing a 60k dollars worth of investment. This alone shows how young people can create opportunities through things adults would not even care.
Not only on the entrepreneurship side, but also on more corporate parts of the business world, youngsters are shining. The interns, majority of firms are so picky about or do not want to deal with, are actually crucial parts of those organizations, but it is not realized because it became such a regular thing. Name dropping for appreciation here, the famous investment bank JP Morgan launched a 75 million dollars worth project regarding mentoring and including youth in employment. Although 75 millions is an amazing amount, it is still a small amount compared to their average annual of 120 billion dollar revenues. We take what we can, and appreciate them for the opportunity. However donating money is not the only way; they, as well as other firms, are highly picky, and nepotism runs a lot in such big firms so there is still so much room for improvement.
Closing up, Gen-z is overlooked and under pressure, but we are also the most rebel, independent and technology-integrated generation, so more trust should be put in us! It is delightful to see such programs for young people but more initiatives should be yet to come!
The startup squad, 20 september 2021
“5 teen entrepreneurs whose success stories wow and inspire”
Mitali Chakrobaty , 1 July 2021
Building Trust And An Inclusive Culture For Youth Into The Future Of Work