Gen Why

What is your idea of a perfect world? It's a simple question, it's a question worth asking, and it's a question Gen Why wants YOU to answer.

The Gen Why Media Project is a movement towards hope.  Their mission is to bring the Generation Y population (ie: the tech-savvy generation born after Generation X that currently includes teenagers to those in their thirties) together, and work to make the world a better place.  The Project is working on a 'crowd-sourced story of future' - and wants you to add your two-cents.

Visit the Gen Why website: and start asking, and answering, some questions of your own.

Also, be sure to check out Gen Why's newest video that accompanied the Gen Why TEDx Vancouver talk in November 2010.  The poem is written by Jonathan Reed, and the video features our own Sean Aiken!

A Need for 'Higher Education': Interview with Author Kenneth Jedding

When most of us graduate from college, we have little knowledge/experience on how to navigate the real world. Kenneth Jedding was no different. “When Jedding first graduated from college he went into a bookstore looking for “THE” book – a book that would tell him all the things he didn’t learn in school, how to get a job, how to navigate friendship and love, how to maintain a good relationship with family and above all, how to stay cool.”

Unfortunately, no such book existed at the time. Fortunately, Jedding was inspired to write such a book.

Kenneth Jedding is the author of HIGHER EDUCATION: On Life, Landing a Job and Everything Else They Didn't Teach you in College. For 10 years, he has lectured as a career counselor and life coach at colleges and universities across America. He is currently a psychoanalyst.

I recently had the chance to catch up with Kenneth and ask him some questions about his new book HIGHER EDUCATION and his opinions on life after graduation.

I hope you get a lot out of his great insights, and be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section!


1. Generation Y is often characterized as being lazy, entitled, and generally a lost generation refusing to grow up. Having spoken and worked with many Gen-Y’ers, what is your opinion on their work ethic and how do you see Gen-Y contributing to the working world

Good question. Complicated question.

Gen Y has a bad reputation, as you mentioned, but I think your description masks a larger truth. You're a transitional generation. In the 80's and 90's, the world evolved into what it's going to be for the next century. The new modes of communication were your baseline. For you, that's just how life is. So your perception of time is futuristic. But I think in many ways the world is still in the old time mode, so there's what I'd call generational jet lag. This comes off as laziness. But it might just be that you can't believe that non-electronic life is so slow.

I think the Y's reaction to life, what you called not growing up, reflects a different wiring. To give an example, when I was 18 I had a French girlfriend I met while backpacking. We wrote three snail mail letters a week. It was very fun and sexy, but it existed mostly in our heads and imaginations. If we did it now we'd be on Skype: it would be a hundred times cooler though still long distance (i.e. no physical touch or sex.)

But how can you go from one time orientation to the other? Say, from having a friend, or a boyfriend or girlfriend in China and keeping up with each other moment to moment--to: the slower time scheme of starting an entry level job when it seems nothing is happening, and they ask you to fetch coffee! It's easy to get discouraged and to say: Why bother?

You asked about the work ethic. Work has a puritanical connotation. Sounds too much like work. Let's say career instead.

Having a career you enjoy will make life more interesting. There aren't many other ways to do it. I think we grow up thinking "All I need to be happy is money, stuff, and love," but career needs to be with love at the top of the list. It's one of the ways to feel truly good about yourself, excited about life, and, one of the best ways to make money.

We're told we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to, the American Dream et al, but I think 9 out of 10 people who make big money love their jobs. As I discuss in the book, most people figure out what they love by trying things out. That's a slow process for every generation but for Y's it must feel like walking underwater.

You're wired for things that are real in the moment. Work starts out being unreal in the moment.

I believe Gen Y's have a ton to contribute, and, if they can forge through the initial b.s. of the work world, and trust the process even when things seem to be moving forward in super slow-motion, they'll work as hard as anyone else, and will reap the psychological, spiritual and financial rewards.


2. In HIGHER EDUCATION you provide some great techniques to find your passion. Do we need to find our passion in order to be happy at work?

Yes. But it's a trick question. If you're a violinist and you play the violin out of college, you're onto your passion--but even violinists may not feel happy at first. Or, say, if you make it to the NBA, it's definitely a passion.

More to the point, for most people passion opens up incrementally. It doesn't feel like passion at first.

The Dream: I'll love what I do.

The Process: I'll start doing things to get closer and closer to what I love (i.e. start using more and more skills) and find my way to real passion at work.

You're one week job project was so interesting, Sean. You were writing about having the courage to begin.


3. In your opinion, why is that Gen-Y is putting off entering the real world after graduation – generally taking longer to leave their parents home, get married, start a family, and choose a career?

College costs more, leading to more debt and to living at home. I talk a lot about dealing with parents in the book.

As for getting married & starting a family, I think it's good to get to know yourself first, so waiting is not necessarily a bad thing.


4. You mention several examples of people who were very successful by not focusing on the money and simply doing what they love. I always questioned, “Well, what if the money doesn’t come?” In pursuit of our ideal job, how do you suggest we cope with those difficult times when our fears and self-doubt surface and we question if we’re doing the right thing?

Money can come in unexpected ways. The best way for you to make money may not be in the traditional "money" areas, as I discuss.

And yet: some careers don't pay much. Like being a teacher, working with the mentally challenged, or being a coach (unless you make it to the top in any of these areas).

What if one of those non-money professions would truly make you happy? Then it's a good idea to go for it.

Let me put it this way: If you're born to be a teacher and you do a mental two-step (It doesn't pay much so it's off the list) you may be walking around numb and confused, telling yourself "I don't know what I want to do," but you actually know.

It's easy to fear "I won't make a lot of money doing x or y," rather than trying to make just enough money in a field you love. Money is nice, for sure, but so is empowerment, being on your path, feeling confident, radiating energy that attracts others, and liking yourself. And there are many ways to get there.


5. I recently read a NY Times article in which a recent college grad struggling to find work was offered a job paying $40K at an insurance company. He turned it down saying that he’s holding out for the job that feels right for him. Would you recommend waiting for that perfect job, or is it more important to get into the workforce?

I don't recommend waiting for the perfect job. That makes me laugh, Sean, thinking of what you did.

Perfect's a dangerous word. I like the Leonard Cohen poem:

Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That's how the light gets in

We learn things in unexpected places and those things prepare us for more unexpected moments.


6. What one piece of advice do you wish someone shared with you when you graduated from college?

I wish someone had told me that, over time, things would work out.


Kenneth Jedding's book, HIGHER EDUCATION: On Life, Landing a Job and Everything Else They Didn't Teach you in College, was published April 2010 by Rodale Books and is available for purchase through the above link to

Book Marketing, PR Meetings in NYC, and Toronto

I just got back from meeting with Random House (American publisher, May 4) in New York City, and Penguin Books (Canadian publisher, Mar 28) in Toronto. We were discussing ideas for upcoming book release of The One-Week Job Project, and how best to market it. P1110154I invited my mom, sister, and baby niece to come along too. We stayed a few minutes from Time Square, and The Empire State Building. We had a wonderful time (yes, wonderful) visiting the different areas of Manhattan on a double decker tour bus, learning many tidbits about the city we would have never known. It was a great way to see the city, and made me want to spend a day as a tourist in my own city of Vancouver. We went to see a couple of Broadway shows, The Lion King, which was alright, and Wicked, which was absolutely incredible!

I was pleased with how the book meetings went. To be honest, I think back to when The One Week Job Project was just an idea, and then fast forward to today when I'm sitting in boardrooms with two major publishers discussing how best to market the book - it seems surreal.

It's been very exciting to see things come together, and I can't wait for the books release this spring - May 4th in the US, and March 28 in Canada.

If you have any ideas/suggestions to market the book, I'd love to hear 'em! Let me know in the comment section, or send me an email!


An Idea Worth Sharing

Happy New Year - I wish you all the best for 2010! "One Day" - Matisyahu

One Day sometimes I lay under the moon and thank God I'm breathing then I pray don't take me soon I am here for a reason sometimes in my tears I drown but I never let it get me down so when negativity surrounds I know some day it'll all turn around cause all my life I've been waiting for I've been praying for for the people to say that we don't wanna fight no more they'll be no more war and our children will play one day it's not about win or lose we all lose when they feed on the souls of the innocent blood drenched pavement keep on moving though the waters stay raging in this maze you can lose your way it might drive you crazy but don't let it faze you no way sometimes in my tears I drown but I never let it get me down so when negativity surrounds I know some day it'll all turn around cause all my life I've been waiting for I've been praying for for the people to say that we don't wanna fight no more they'll be no more war and our children will play one day one day this all will change treat people the same stop with the violence down with the hate one day we'll all be free and proud to be under the same sun singing songs of freedom like one day all my life I've been waiting for I've been praying for for the people to say that we don't wanna fight no more they'll be no more war and our children will play one day

Book Review - Imagine: A Vagabond Story

Grant Lingel recently sent me a copy of his new book, Imagine: A Vagabond Story. Here is an excerpt:

"We all felt the walls and barriers of our lives crushing us and knew change was necessary. Not out of fear of the 'real world' but out of curiosity for a new world. I never thought about my trip as an escape, just a passage through new doorways that I had never crossed in the past."

ImagineImagine: A Vagabond Story is a first hand account of Grant’s travel adventure throughout Mexico and Central America. The book reads like a travel journal, as Grant honestly describes his thoughts on the places he visits, the people he encounters, and the personal lessons he gleaned during his journey.

Grant’s story continually reminded me that amazing events can unfold when you open yourself up to new experiences.

When I was on the road during One-Week Job, typically I had no idea where I was working only days before my next job began. I’d receive an email, phone call, or meet a stranger on the street and it would completely alter my path.

Likewise, Grant’s incredible experience wouldn’t have been possible if he wasn’t willing to leave his comfort zone, embrace uncertainty, try new things, meet different people, and take risks. A conscious decision to make it happen. Reflecting back on it, he’s glad that he did:

"{The trip} taught me how small the world really is, how similar we all really are and how it is the people you meet along the way that shape who you are and who you become."

To read the first few chapter’s of Grant’s adventure and order a copy, visit his website.

Don't know what to do? Do something!

sean-valueIf you don't know who Seth Godin is, get to know him. In every blog post, he provides value. Just graduated, and can't find a job? Read this recent post by Seth, Graduate school for unemployed college students.

Reading Seth's post reminded of a conversation I had when I was a Radio DJ in Week 22. One afternoon, a Radio DJ I was working with said to me, "The most important message I take away from what you're doing is to be pro-active about figuring out what you want to do. If you don't know what to do, well don't just sit around and wonder what to do. Do something."

When I first graduated, I wasted a lot of time and energy worrying that I didn't know what I wanted to do. Of course, it didn't help my situation. I was so concerned with making the right choice that it prevented me from making any choice at all. Thankfully, I eventually recognized this.

What is your "something" going to be?

Sean To Speak At "The Health & Wealth Annex" in Ft. Lauderdale

health wealth annex logoI've been asked to speak at The Health & Wealth Annex in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on May 8th, 2009. There are still spaces available - register on the website if you wish to attend. The event last three full days and costs $149. From the website, here some benefits that past attendees said they took away:

  • Break through FEAR
  • Discover their own talents and find their passion in life (priceless)
  • Complete transformation of their HEALTH lifestyle, recondition their habits
  • Get inner peace, fulfillment, and happiness. Get back the honor and power to their word
  • Build the inner success mindset
  • Create their game, start playing it in life, and the training & structures to win that game!

See you there!


Looking for some work experience this summer?

left @ sunset by blamfoto
I imagine many graduates are wondering what they're going to do this summer - whether any companies will be hiring for new positions in this economic downturn.

If you're having difficulty finding a full time position, an internship can be a great way to get some experience in the meantime and make you more marketable to future employers. Here's one for this summer that was passed on to me.

Sosauce (a travel website based in New York City) is offering an eight week Summer 2009 marketing internship followed by a two week socially conscious travel experience.

From the website: "For anyone who has ever dreamed of changing the world, this is your chance! You will gain incredible experience with a young company at a very exciting stage and have the opportunity to travel abroad, chronicle a socio-environmental issue, and have fun - all at the same time."

Here is the link to find out more information and apply for the spot.

Good luck!

Today: One Red Paperclip Book Released In North America

red-paperclip-logo.jpgI am sure you have all heard the story of how Kyle MacDonald traded one red paperclip for a house in only one year. He wrote a book about his experience, all of his trades and the adventure that he had a long the way. His book was released in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa last week and was released today throughout North America. Kyle is an awesome, amazingly creative, and just generally fun guy to be around. You never know what is going to happen or where you are going to end up when you are hanging out with him. I ran into Kyle about a month ago and he gave me a copy of his book. It's funny, inspiring, and I would definitely recommend picking it up. You can find it here.

Happy reading!